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Law of unlawful dismissal

Ruling case
High Court's response

Attorneys-General's responses

Prime Minister's Department's responses
Department of Employment's responses
Senate's response to petition
Senate's response to submission

Other websites and radio published the matter

The Senate’s response to submission

In response to the Senate’s inquiry into Australia’s judicial system and access to justice, one submission was filed (the submission to the Senate), but then the inquiry was split into two inquiries:

(i)        Australia’s judicial system (the information about the inquiry) and
(ii)       Access to justice (the information about the inquiry).

Firstly the submission was listed as ‘confidential’ with 15 submissions out of total of 29 submissions under the inquiry of Australia’s judicial system. For normal submissions, full contents of the submissions and submitters’ names are published on the Senate’s website. For those confidential submissions, neither the contents nor the names are available on the website.

Secondly, after referring to paragraph 8 of the information at the Senate’s website (the information about how to make a submission) regarding confidential submission:

‘Unless you have requested that the submission remain confidential, it is normally published after the committee has received and examined it and authorised its publication’,

and clarifying no confidential requirement from the submitter, the submitter found all those 15 submissions, which were previously listed as ‘confidential’ submissions, were changed to be ‘in camera’, and those submitters’ names are put on the list (the list on the Senate’s website). Implicitly, all 15 submitters did not request that their submission remain confidential. Why did the committee try to mislead the general public in that way?

Thirdly, after referred to the principle for public hearing of evidence at the end of chapter 17 of the Senate Practice (the chapter 17 of the Senate Practice)

‘Apart from the technical legal situation, by providing information to the Senate and its committees witnesses assist in the process of informing the legislators and the public and of framing the laws. Public hearings of evidence are a powerful means not only of discovering, sifting and testing information, but of allowing citizens to participate in government, which is why they are an important feature of legislatures in all free countries.’

the submitter was advised (the communications between the submitter and the committe):

‘in recognition that people put considerable work into submissions, (even if those submissions are irrelevant and miss the point of inquiries totally) sometimes choose to instead accept submissions in camera, and not publish them. They do this out of politeness, as outright rejection is often seen as harsh, and potentially hurtful.'

Implicitly, the submitters were politely misled. The committee decided not to consider the submissions, but pretended to do so.

According to the principle of public hearing outlined above, public hearing is ‘a powerful means’ ‘of ‘sifting’ ‘information’, and ‘allowing citizens to participate in government’. ‘Irrelevant’ information ought to be published because the public hearing is a procedure of ‘sifting’ out ‘irrelevant’ information. The committee ought to show how it sifts the information and what information is considered to be ‘irrelevant’. That is ‘an important feature of legislatures in all free countries’. It is against the principle of free country—sifting information publicly—to declare that not publishing received submissions are due to the irrelevances of the submissions.

Why did the committee not publish the submission in respect of the ruling case? While almost the entire work-force has no right to follow the law enacted by the legislators, the legislators’ work becomes totally ‘irrelevant’ or wasting time or causes employees to be punished. The legislators do not want the general public knows the truth that the employees are sacked just because they showed their will to stick to the law enacted by the legislators under the Constitution.