State and Federal parliamentary inquiries have extensive
powers and play a critical role in investigating alleged wrong
doing and in influencing policy. It is regularly the case that
private sector organisations are called on to participate in, or
are otherwise affected by, parliamentary inquiries.
In that context, the affected organisation will have to decide
whether it's in their interests to file a written submission
with the inquiry.
There is a natural concern about the time and effort involved in
preparing a submission, and whether the possible benefits justify
the organisation's cost and investment.
However, making a submission is smart risk management
You should strongly consider making a submission wherever there
is potential for the outcomes of the parliamentary inquiry to
impact your business. Submission documents have three central
1. IT'S ALL ABOUT FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Initial impressions can be very influential in shaping the
approach of committee members to a particular organisation, and the
organisation's executives and staff who may be called to appear
before the inquiry.
First impressions, via a submission, are particularly important
if it is likely your executives and staff will be requested to give
evidence at the inquiry. The inquiry may also demand that your
organisation produce documents and information to it.
In our experience, providing a written submission that is
thorough, informative, and conveys the organisation's
willingness to assist the inquiry reduces requests for documents
and information and ensures that a party's witnesses are
generally treated respectfully and are asked fewer questions.
The approach that an inquiry will take to the formulation of
questions to witnesses and any requests for information and
documents will depend in part on whether a party is perceived as
defensive and uncooperative or transparent and willing to
2. A SUBMISSION HELPS WITNESSES PREPARE
In the event that management and staff are called to give
evidence to the inquiry it is valuable for witnesses to have a
submission they can refer to while giving evidence.
The submission is also useful in helping witnesses prepare for
their appearance at the inquiry.
The presence of a written submission generally promotes
consistency in evidence (in an appropriate way), allows answers to
be given by witnesses that are based on careful and considered
analysis, shortens the time witnesses have to appear and provides a
tool to assist witnesses navigate difficult lines of
3. A SUBMISSION KEEPS YOUR MESSAGE CONSISTENT
There is value in having a document that centralises the key
messages your organisation wishes to convey to stakeholders, the
media and the public.
A written submission (which is almost always a public document)
forms the basis of all media and other communications and
engagement in relation to an inquiry.
This means that there is consistency on key messages and that
the various teams within your organisation who are working on the
inquiry (management, legal team, media/communications team etc)
have a common source for the key details in relation to the
RISKS OF NOT FILING A WRITTEN SUBMISSION
Where committee members have an expectation that a party will
(and should) make a submission, the absence of a submission often
is raised as an issue by the committee. Witnesses from that party
are then asked questions about the reasons for not filing a
It is better not to give the inquiry a reason
for forming an adverse view of your organisation and its
willingness to be cooperative and transparent.
While your organisation's leadership may have concerns about
the time and cost of preparing a submission or that a submission
can be misinterpreted and misused, ultimately a submission is
usually smart risk management.
WHAT SHOULD BE ADDRESSED IN A SUBMISSION?
The content of every submission will be unique according to the
scope and objectives of the parliamentary inquiry.
However, in general terms every submission is an opportunity to
your corporate structure, corporate values and day-to-day
your commitment to stakeholders – clients, staff and
suppliers – and the wider principles of corporate
your willingness to cooperate with the inquiry;
your response to the issues that are being examined by the
inquiry, and which are relevant to your organisation.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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An actuarial review of the Invensys Australia Superannuation Fund showed it to be in surplus to the tune of $189.2 million. In mid 2003, the Invensys Group proposed to the trustee that the surplus be repatriated to the principal employer in the group.
CIVs will have flow-through status for tax purposes and similar criteria as the MITs, to encourage foreign investment.
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