My submission to the Australian government’s 2023 Human Rights Inquiry … the saga continues

For background relating to this item kindly read this earlier post

What now follows is a copy of an email I sent on 15 August 2023 to Josh Burns MP, the Chairman of the Australian Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights.

“Dear Josh

I was able to attend the Committee’s meeting in Brisbane today, albeit all too briefly due to various other commitments, and the very short notice provided.

On 7 June I lodged a three page submission to the Inquiry. I have since been in touch with the Secretariat on a couple of occasions to confirm that it would be accepted, speaking again with Geoffrey F. this morning. Meanwhile 269 submissions have been processed and published. I suggested that the fairest approach would be to process submissions in order of their receipt.
Geoffrey did not respond to that suggestion but today advised (again) that they would try to process my submission in the next few weeks. This, assuming it occurs, would take the time frame re: processing my submission out to three months.

Today’s meeting raised another query. On what basis were some people/organisations able to present to the Inquiry in person?

Did they volunteer or were they selected by your committee? If the former then why was this not mentioned in your website or advice given directly to those who had tendered submissions? If the latter, then obviously those submissions that had yet to be processed (e.g. mine) were ruled out of contention.

In each of the cases mentioned above I consider the Inquiry has handled the relevant matter oddly, if not completely inappropriately.

All in all, a disappointing effort thus far.”

(Should a response ever be received from Josh Burns then I will post a copy here)

On 18 August 2023 my submission was finally published online (#309) and I was advised as follows:

“I am writing to advise that your submission has been accepted by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights. The submission has been published with your name withheld on the committee’s webpage as Submission Number 309. You are now free to circulate your submission to other parties, should you wish to do so. We will also be providing your submission to anyone on request.

Your submission is protected by parliamentary privilege. Parliamentary privilege refers to the special rights and immunities attached to the Parliament or its members and others necessary for the discharge of the parliamentary functions without obstruction and fear of prosecution. This means that you cannot be prosecuted or disadvantaged because of anything that you have provided in evidence, or because you gave such evidence.”

In my original submission I noted that “the online sources listed in this document, drafted by me unless indicated otherwise, form the bulk of my submission to the Inquiry.” The next development was my discovery that the hyperlinks to supporting information contained in my submission were no longer functional.

On 21 August I was advised that “Committees generally deactivate links to personal websites in submissions. If you would like to provide an addendum with the URLs spelled out in full, we can append it to your submission.” I provided a proposed addendum and was advised that this would be uploaded. I checked the Inquiry website on 23 August, clicking on my submission only to learn that “There seems to be a problem with the page. If the problem persists please contact us.” As I did. And as of the evening of 23 August my submission was available online. <Party-popper duly popped>

In closing, upon my last checking, 318 submissions had been published by the Inquiry’s Secretariat. My initial impression was one of apprehension in the face of what seems to be a surfeit of formulaic ‘woke’ and/or pro-feminist rambling. Where’s all that diversity and inclusion when it’s needed? Where’s the support for men & boys?

Ah, but things could have been so much worse! Read about the experience endured by esteemed lobby group ‘One in Three’, in their dealings with another federal inquiry.

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