Write a committee submission

Use this activity to prepare for the Run a parliamentary committee classroom activity or as a scaffold to get involved with a real parliamentary committee.

Students
Years 8 to 12
Duration
1 to 2 lessons

Getting started

  1. Use the Committees fact sheet and Parliamentary committees video to review the role of committees in Parliament.
  2. Decide whether you want to choose your own topic or choose an issue which is being currently investigated in a committee inquiry.
  3. If you want to choose your own topic, decide on an issue which is relevant to the curriculum and about which your students would like to have their say, then follow the Writing a submission instructions below.
  4. If you decide to write a submission for a current committee, ensure that you have permission from the carers of your students before you send it in and be aware of the following:
    • Committee inquiries are serious matters and while committees appreciate hearing from a wide variety of submitters, students should take the opportunity to have their voices heard in the parliament seriously.
    • If submissions are accepted, they belong to the committee and are likely to be published online.
    • Submissions may be quoted in an official report or spoken about in parliament.
    • You and your students could be invited to attend a committee hearing and speak more about your submission.
  5. The inquiry will have terms of reference which specify the scope and details of the issue. You can find information on inquiries being held by committees of the Australian Parliament on the Australian Parliament House Committees page. You can also check the website of your state or territory parliament for information on their current committee inquiries. If you choose to write your submission for a state or territory committee inquiry, make sure you check their submission guidelines, as they could be different from the ones listed here.

Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Northern Territory

Queensland

South Australia

Tasmania

Victoria

Western Australia

Writing a submission

  1. Students can write a submission as a class, in small groups or individually. If you are using this activity in conjunction with the Run a parliamentary committee classroom activity, put your students into witness groups and ask them to draft a submission from the perspective of the group they represent.
  2. Committee submissions must:
    1. be written for the purposes of the inquiry
    2. not be previously published, for example in a school newsletter or local paper
    3. address some or all of the terms of reference
    4. be clearly formatted (that means page numbers and a summary if the submission is long).
  3. You may like to include additional guidelines for your students including a word count and a reference list.
  4. When you email your submission you should include contact details because the committee might want to talk to you further or invite you to appear at a hearing.
  5. You can also look at examples of submissions that committees have received to get an idea of how submissions can be written.
  6. Send your submission to the committee inquiry or do the Run a parliamentary committee classroom activity.

What happened?

Discuss the following questions with your class:

  1. Did you do any additional research for your submission or did you rely on personal experience and opinions?
  2. Research and personal experience are both useful to a committee when they are investigating an issue. How do you think each type of submission helps the committee?

If you sent your submission/s to a parliamentary committee, discuss the following additional questions with your class:

  1. What did the committee do with your submission? Was it accepted? Was it published on the inquiry webpage?
  2. Did your submission agree with the other submissions to the same inquiry? Did your submission provide the committee with any information they had not received from any other submissions?

Reflection

When you have completed your submission/s, explore these questions with your class:

  1. Do you think committee submissions are an effective way for regular Australians to have their voices heard by Parliament?
  2. What are the benefits and risk to having submissions published online?
  3. What other ways can individuals and communities make their voice heard?