Changing South Australia’s Royal Commissions Laws

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Consultation has concluded

About

Now Closed

This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 12 February to 9 April 2021. Below is a record of the engagement.

Have your say on proposed changes to South Australia’s Royal Commissions laws

What’s being decided?

Following a review of Royal Commissions Act undertaken by the Honourable Ann Vanstone QC, we are proposing to repeal and replace the current Royal Commissions Act 1917 (the Act) with a new Inquiries Act.

To do so, we have created the draft Inquiries Bill. The proposed bill would establish 3 tiers of inquiry:

About

Now Closed

This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 12 February to 9 April 2021. Below is a record of the engagement.

Have your say on proposed changes to South Australia’s Royal Commissions laws

What’s being decided?

Following a review of Royal Commissions Act undertaken by the Honourable Ann Vanstone QC, we are proposing to repeal and replace the current Royal Commissions Act 1917 (the Act) with a new Inquiries Act.

To do so, we have created the draft Inquiries Bill. The proposed bill would establish 3 tiers of inquiry:

  • Royal Commissions
  • Commissions of Inquiry
  • Government Inquiries

These tiers would allow for inquiries that won't need the full force of a Royal Commission, offering greater flexibility and simplifying the establishment of such inquiries.

You can read more about Royal Commissions, the review and why the changes are needed in the Background information.

Get involved

We are seeking feedback to help develop the new Inquiries Act, which would replace the current model set out in the Act.

We have prepared a number of resources to inform your feedback.

To have your say:

Legal and Legislative Services
GPO Box 464
Adelaide S.A. 5001

How can your input influence the decision?

Your views will help ensure the new inquiry system framework is robust and flexible when dealing with a range of important and highly complex issues.

Issues raised through this consultation will inform the final drafting of the Inquiries Bill that will soon be put to Cabinet for endorsement.

What are the next steps?

At the end of the consultation period, feedback will be incorporated into the final Inquiries Bill, which will be presented to State Parliament for consideration.

Contact details

For general inquiries, please email LLPSubmissions@sa.gov.au

Closing date: 5.00pm, Friday 9 April 2021




Background


Now Closed

This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 12 February to 9 April 2021. Find out more about the consultation process. Below is a record of the engagement.

What is a Royal Commission?

A Royal Commission is a formal body established by the State Government to inquire into an issue of great importance or concern to the public.

Royal Commissions usually fit into two categories:

  • those that are primarily investigative, seeking to uncover the truth about controversial matters, and
  • those that are advisory, seeking to assist the formulation of government policy.

These investigations are undertaken independently of the government.

Royal Commissions have powers to hold public hearings, call witnesses under oath and compel them to provide evidence.

At the end of the investigation, the Royal Commission will usually make a series of recommendations to the government about what should change to address the problems.

A prominent example of a Royal Commission is the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission which was established in 2014 to investigate the child protection system in South Australia.

Why do we need these changes?

The Royal Commissions Act 1917 (the Act) sets out:

  • how a Royal Commission is established and run
  • the powers that a Royal Commission can exercise
  • the protections for Commissioners and witnesses appearing before Royal Commissions.

There has not been a comprehensive review of the Act or substantial amendments since 2006.

The Honourable Ann Vanstone QC was appointed in February 2020 to conduct a review of the Act. In her review, Ms Vanstone examined and compared legislative models from New South Wales, Victoria, the Commonwealth and New Zealand.

Ms Vanstone’s report recommended that the Act be replaced by an Inquiries Act providing for three tiers of inquiry, each with varying degrees of power and established in a different way.