Making a Submission (Or: Unaccustomed As I Am To Public Submissions…)


The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been calling for submissions on various topics in advance of the public hearings which are due to begin reasonably shortly.

There will be many detailed submissions by the big organisations, such as the churches, which will be written by professionals in public relations and the law. There will also be a few from various activist groups, and the occasional individual victim. Some specialist groups, such as social work agencies, the Australian Medical Association and so on, will make formal submissions which will be professionally produced, too.

It is all too easy for the Commission officials to forget that it is meant to be all about existing, and potential, victims of abuse. Big, official structures like the Royal Commission can all too easily be dominated by the views of the large players, via their professionally-produced submissions.

Those with the largest megaphone will naturally be the most easily heard. The only way to counter this advantage of the big players is to resort to the rusty gate principle. Keeping on making noises about the real issues, if done consistently and frequently, can gain the attention of the final decision-makers, when it comes to the recommendations part of the enquiry process.

Most people tend to be somewhat intimidated by officialdom, especially when it comes to having their ideas and concerns heard. Many people have been pleasantly surprised that they can get media coverage if they take the time to contact a media outlet. The media does not only cover things they get from press releases from large and important organisations.

Submissions to the enquiry can come from anybody (and even from any country) who has some interest in the outcomes. Quality outweighs quantity in all things. The big organisations have the advantage of quality in presentation, but the individual person can have the advantage of quality of substance in ideas.

What this means, simply, is that the individual should forget about the technicalities of what supposedly makes for a “good” submission, such as size, details, clever writing, prominent consultants etc., and concentrate on the real issue of concern.

A “truly good” submission is one that has real meaning, however it is presented. Again, what this means is that even a one-line submission, such as “I think the cover-up bastards should be held to account,” is still the better submission.

Even if the Commission officials continue to have an attitude of paying attention to quantity over quality, then there is, again, still a point. Many simple submissions from a lot of credible victims and concerned individuals can, in sufficient quantity, swamp the big organisations hefty submissions.

Finally, the reason why, even very simple, submissions of this kind are worthwhile, is that the Commission must at least consider their contents. If some issues are not raised in this way, then there is a risk that they will not be raised at all.

As the saying goes, “You have to be in it to win it.”

[Postscript: This blog has touched on many issues so far. An internal search of the site may provide some useful information, including links to articles, which could be of use in producing submissions, on particular issues. All content is freely available to interested persons.]

Read more here:

TOMORROW: The courts as an institution in the Royal Commission context

That’s all I can say

Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)


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