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Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 17 - Witnesses

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Witnesses as participants in the legislative process

The legal status of witnesses as participants in proceedings in Parliament has been noted above. 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.