Making your own submission
This guide has been produced by The Salvation Army Policy and Advocacy Team to help people make submissions to committee inquiries.
Committees are made up of Members of Parliament who are selected to focus on a specific subject. Often these committees will conduct an in-depth investigation into a topic or issue, this is called an inquiry.
These inquiries will have a page on the committee webpage, which will call for community input into an inquiry. On this page you will find the Terms of Reference, which will provide greater detail about what the committee is trying to find out. There will also be contact details for the committee, including an email or postal address.
Writing a submission is much easier than it sounds.
1 - Who am I talking to?
Writing a submission to an inquiry can be as simple as writing a letter to the committee, which you should address to the Committee Chairperson or “Dear Chair…”.
It is important that your letter is always respectful to the committee members and all political parties.
2 – What do I say (or not say)?
A good submission does not have to be relevant to all of the Terms of Reference, but it must be relevant to at least one. It is helpful to specify exactly which inquiry you are submitting to, as well as pointing out which Term of Reference you have focused on.
A short submission of a few sentences is better than a long submission where the committee cannot find relevant information to their inquiry.
3 – What has informed you?
Your submission should be based on evidence, both about the problem and what you think should be done to fix it. First hand evidence, or life experience of the issue, is a highly effective and persuasive way of communicating how an issue impacts people.
This submission will be published on the committee webpage unless you expressly ask for it not to be. If you are telling your own story make sure you are happy with it being public. If you are using another person’s life experience, make sure you have their permission and write so it is not possible to identify the individual.
4 – What should be done?
Finally, you should try to make clear what you think should be done about the issue – this is called a recommendation. The recommendation could form its own paragraph or be typed in bold to make it stand out.
5 – Signed sealed delivered
Send your submission as an email to the committee, upload it to their site, or post to the committee’s postal address (just follow the instructions on their website).
If sending an email, it is polite to have a small note to the Committee Secretary who will manage your submission, including your name and contact address and phone number should there be any need for them to get in touch with you afterwards.