Friday, 9 September 2011

Last year I wrote

a major submission for a state government inquiry.
I have written such submissions before. Some of them have been for state governments and others have been for the federal government.
They have only been written on request. They are most certainly not written for the fun of it. Writing one is, for me, much the same as writing an academic research paper. A submission will usually include statistics and references from research I have led or been involved in. They have varied in length. I work on the principle that "shorter is better" simply because a shorter submission is more likely to be read. I know submissions, even those that are requested, do not always get read. They will almost certainly be glanced at but they will not get read. Sometimes they will be read and questions will be asked.
I know some, perhaps most, of mine have been read. Over the years I have appeared in front of government committees. Some of those committees have been casual affairs, others have been more like a court of law. I have appeared in court too. I have sworn oaths and been required to sign pieces of paper requiring me to keep silent. I have been questioned - and not always kindly. Politicians and public servants have argued with me. It has all been part of the submissions process.
Last year's submission received a pro-forma reply four months after submission. I know they have it. That is all I know. I checked with several other people who were also asked to make submissions. They have had the same pro-forma reply. No further action has been taken. I think it is unlikely that action will be taken. The submissions were about communication needs and information pathways. The inquiry was about "social inclusion" among people with disabilities. The government will file this information in a waste paper bin and endeavour to forget they ever received it.
There is information governments cannot afford.


Anonymous said...

Well, they can't afford to actually do anything with the information, other than gather it.

Judy B

Frances said...

Once, as a housewife, I submitted an opinion to a senate select enquiry..(into conscription, as it happened)...and, to my surprise, I was sent a pamphlet of the results with my name, housewife, among the luminaries.
Otoh, once previous to this, in my employment, I was required to use and act on material that I was not senior enough to do so. All those with this seniority were required to take an oath of secrecy: I was not, because I was too lowly.
An interesting situation. Perhaps I am the only one who can reveal it.

catdownunder said...

You are probably right Judy - after all they have to have money for the next inquiry so they can make people think they are doing something! (Am I being too cynical?)
That is an interesting idea Frances! I suspect though that, in those circumstances, an individual is seen as an extension of the person who employs them.