Putting it in writing
Submissions alert committee members to facts or information relevant to an inquiry. Committee reports usually refer to and quote from the information and arguments presented in submissions.
There is no set format for a written submission. You can write a brief letter or a substantial research paper. You can also attach appendices and other supporting documents. Submissions show how you, your organisation, or your community feel about an issue. They may also help a committee to decide who should be called to give evidence at hearings.
Addressing the terms of reference
The terms of reference describe the issues that a committee will investigate and those for current inquiries can be found on our website (see back panel for details). Your submission should address some or all of the terms of reference and may include:
• recommendations for action.
Presenting your submission
It is preferable that a submission is written and in electronic format, although this is not essential. Other formats such as video and audiotape are acceptable.
If you are making a submission on behalf of an organisation, please indicate who has authorised it, for example, the executive committee, president or chairperson. Please ensure that your name, address and phone number are included with your submission.
One way parliamentary committees investigate an issue is to call for submissions from the public and relevant organisations.
This provides everyone with a valuable opportunity to have their say.
Preferably your submission should be double-spaced and on A4 paper, with page numbering. If your submission is more than five pages, please include a brief summary and a contents list.
You can lodge your submission online at www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees. You can also send your submission by post, fax or email to the relevant committee office. Contact details are listed on the back panel of this brochure.
Remember to keep a copy of your submission. You may find it useful if you are called to give oral evidence.
Keeping it confidential
You should not distribute copies of your submission without the committee’s permission.
During an inquiry, a committee may decide to publish some or all of the submissions received. Submissions made public are usually available on our website (see back panel). If you want all or some of your submission to be kept confidential, you must state that clearly in your submission. The committee will consider your request.
Parliamentary privilege – what you should know
Parliamentary committees are an extension of the
Parliament. A committee’s proceedings, including the presentation of submissions and the giving of evidence, are protected by parliamentary privilege. This means that submissions and oral evidence given before a committee can be made freely and honestly without fear or threat of legal action for defamation. At the same time, committee hearings and submissions are not an opportunity to make adverse comments about individuals. Comments made outside a hearing do not receive the protection of parliamentary privilege.
Submissions and evidence given before a committee become committee documents and are confidential until the committee decides to make