Engaging with Committees
How Committees Work
Assembly committees inquire into matters on behalf of the Assembly and report their findings to the Assembly. Committees are an extension of the Assembly and comprise a number of Government, Opposition and Independent Members who are able to consider specific issues in greater detail than the whole Assembly. Committees increase consultation as individuals and organisations in the community can have their say recorded on the Assembly’s public record.
Submissions to committees can be made by any individual or organisation to present facts, opinions, arguments or recommendations to a committee. Submissions assist a committee’s knowledge and understanding of an issue and may influence a committee’s recommendations to the Assembly. This process allows the public to play an important role in the work of the Assembly.
Public hearings provide an opportunity for committees to hear directly from people who have knowledge and opinions regarding a matter under inquiry. The committee decides which individuals and organisations will be invited as witnesses to speak at a hearing. These hearings are usually open to the public and broadcast through the Assembly’s website, however in some instances a committee may decide to hold private hearings.
Committees will sometimes refer to "public briefings". Formally this is the same as a "public hearing", but the expectations and dynamics are quite different. A briefing provides background information to the committee before it has received much detail on a matter. The person appearing before the committee is therefore invited to provide the information they consider to be of relevance to the committee. There may be little questioning from the committee. This contrasts to a hearing, where the main purpose is for the committee to question the person appearing before it.
Committees sometimes hold public forums. These are open discussions guided by the committee. Anyone can come and participate and people can respond to issues raised by others rather than just respond to the committee's questions.
There are a number of ways that you can stay informed about the work of the Legislative Assembly and its Committees.
Watch the sittings of the Legislative Assembly and Committee Hearings on the Broadcast here
Subscribe to the Committee email alert service here
Follow the Legislative Assembly on Facebook here
Follow the Legislative Assembly on Twitter here