Making Submissions to the Inquiry
The closing date for written submissions to be lodged was close of business on 12 March 2010. Requests for an extension to that date were considered and granted on a case by case basis.
Oral Submissions or Evidence
Oral hearings were held during March – June 2010 at various locations around the Northern Territory.
Protections for Witnesses
A number of other protections were afforded to those giving evidence to this Inquiry. In the first instance, witnesses could request that their evidence be given in camera (privacy before the Board) and the Board itself was able to elect to hear evidence in camera (section 16).
The Board honoured all requests from those providing written submissions that the author’s name and/or the submission itself not be published in the Inquiry’s Report or on the Inquiry’s website (see the Submissions page for the guidelines regarding the publication of submissions on this website).
For those within the public service wishing to make a submission to the Inquiry, specific commitments to the protection of any public servant from harassment or any other adverse treatment were provided by the Chief Minister and relevant Agency Chief Executives. Statutory avenues for redress were also available if this were to occur.
Lastly, Section 15 of the Inquiries Act provides every witness before the Board with the same protection (and obligations) as a witness in a matter before the Supreme Court. This is a strong guarantee against any adverse treatment of a witness by anyone.
It was important that the proceedings of the Board and the evidence it received were, so far as possible, both open and public. However, aspects of the subject matter of the Inquiry were sensitive or private. It was requested that every written submission clearly state:
- whether the author wishes any of the submission’s content to be treated as confidential and not for publication; and
- whether or not the author wants to remain anonymous.
Persons with Special Needs
Persons with special needs who wished to make a submission or give evidence to the Inquiry were encouraged to contact the Secretariat for assistance.
The following guide provided detailed information about how to make a submission, the key areas of focus and the protections and responsibilities of witnesses: