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The inquiry process

The inquiry process is managed by a committee and involves six key steps. Inquiries focus on a particular topic and are referred to a committee through a terms of reference.

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Terms of reference

A committee receives a terms of reference from either the Legislative Assembly or the Legislative Council, or a terms of reference can be self-referred by the committee. A terms of reference includes detailed information on what the committee will investigate and the final report due date.

Call for submissions

A call out for submissions is made and the committee advertises for submissions from the public on Parliament's website, social media channels and newspapers. The committee may request that an organisation or individual make a submission.

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Hearings

The committee conducts public hearings and explores points of interest with witnesses. Witnesses can include people who have made a submission, subject matter experts or the committee can request the presence of an organisation or individual. Committees may take evidence in public or in private (in camera). Hearing documents such as transcripts, presentations and questions on notice are all made public on the inquiry webpage, unless it is an in camera hearing. Generally, the public can attend a hearing in the gallery.

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Research

Submissions close and hearings come to an end. The committee may do site visits or consult further with relevant stakeholders. They then examine the evidence provided through submissions and hearings to include in a final report that is tabled in the house. 

Final report

A report is drafted which includes findings and recommendations for the government to consider. The committee releases the final report to the Parliament and public.

Government response

The government is required to respond to a committee’s final report within six months and indicate whether it supports any recommendations made in the report.