Inquiry process

Terms of Reference

The Committee receives Terms of Reference either by resolution of a House of Parliament or by Order of the Governor-in-Council.


The Committee advertises its Terms of Reference to obtain evidence and submissions from interested parties. This would mean in the major newspapers but also specialised publications relevant to the inquiry.


Submissions received by the Committee are public, though the committee may resolve that special circumstances exist that submissions be treated as confidential.


Legal Advisers and Research Officers employed by the Committee conduct independent research and analyse evidence, including that contained in submissions and presented at public hearings.

Public Hearings

The Committee may hold public hearings, at which selected individuals and organisations will be required to give oral evidence. Those selected to give evidence are informed in writing of the date, time and place of the hearings. Members of the public are only permitted to attend as observers. If there are special circumstances the Committee may take evidence in private. Evidence taken in private will not be disclosed or published by the Committee. Hansard provides a typed transcript of evidence taken at public hearings. All witnesses are provided with two copies of their evidence as soon as practicable after it becomes available, one for correction and one for their information.

The Committee may withhold the release of any evidence or submissions until its Report has been tabled.

Draft Reports

The Committee carefully consider all the arguments and evidence collected. Committee members discuss their findings and recommendations and a draft Report is prepared. Once a full draft has been prepared it is submitted to the Chairperson. Once the Chairperson is satisfied it is submitted to committee members for consideration. Committee members are given reasonable time to carefully examine the draft Report. The Committee meets and considers groups of paragraphs. Amendments may be proposed by any member of the committee and do not require a seconder. Once satisfied with a group of paragraphs the committee members pass a resolution of acceptance. Finally the resolution is put "That the draft Report (as amended) be the Report of the committee".

Minority Reports

Any members of the Committee who have a different view from that expressed in the adopted Report may present a Minority Report. A Minority Report must be included with the Committee’s Report. The member or members with the minority view are responsible for preparing the Minority Report and must present it to the Executive Officer in accordance with the Committee’s Inquiry timetable.

Tabling of Reports

The Committee tables a Report with its findings and recommendations, together with any Minutes of Evidence (divisions in the Committee room during adopting the report) in both Houses of Parliament.

Government Response

The Minister who initiated the Inquiry or who has portfolio responsibility for the matters addressed by the Inquiry is responsible for replying to any Committee recommendations, within six months from the date of the tabling of the Report. The Minister may adopt, reject or modify recommendations.

It must be emphasised that the Committee does not have legislative or regulatory powers. It has the power to report to parliament and make recommendations, but it is the Minister's responsibility to address those recommendations or findings.