[LINK] Broadband for a Broad Land

Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Wed Feb 16 11:31:53 AEDT 2011

I wrote:

> I started writing a submission for the NBN Inquiry ...

I sent my submission to the NBN inquiry on Monday, along the lines of my 
Blog posting:

However, the Inquiry Secretary for the House of Representatives Standing
Committee on Infrastructure and Communications has replied asking to
remove the draft from the web, saying that "... a submission has been
sent to a committee it is not supposed to be published or disclosed
until it has been considered by the committee. ...".

This issue came up more than ten years ago when I was preparing 
submissions to Senate committees on behalf of the Australian Computer 
Society. For those inquiries I developed the technique of placing the 
drat submission online so as to have maximum consultation with members 
and other bodies. So as not to breech committee rules, I marked these 
documents "Draft", to distinguish them from the actual final submission 
made. I had no concerns expressed by the committee secretariats with 
this practice. Like the process of making submissions in electronic 
format (the precedent for which was set by an ACS submission), I had 
assumed this was now accepted practice for parliamentary inquiries.

If I am required to obtain permission from a parliamentary committee 
before discussing a topic with anyone, it will make preparation of any 
submission very difficult.

I an not a lawyer, but my understating is that my right to discuss any 
issues I wish, with whom ever I wish, is a fundamental one, as 
recognised by the High Court of Australia. Therefore a rule by a 
parliamentary committee requiring me to seek their prior permission is 

Any suggestions on how to respond to the committee's request would be 

Tom Worthington FACS CP HLM, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Computer Science, The
Australian National University http://cs.anu.edu.au/courses/COMP7310/
Visiting Scientist, CSIRO ICT Centre: http://bit.ly/csiro_ict_canberra

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