Attending a public hearing

You can get involved in a committee inquiry by:

What is a public hearing?

A parliamentary committee holds a hearing so that it can hear from people who have experience or expertise that is relevant to the committee's inquiry. They are called witnesses.

A hearing is generally divided into sessions of around 30 to 60 minutes per witness or group.

Committees sometimes group witnesses together in panels to hear from as many witnesses as possible in the time available and to allow more interaction between witnesses.

Who should I talk to if I have a question?

Please contact the relevant committee secretariat for further information. Inquiries from hearing and speech impaired people should be directed to the Parliament House TTY number 02 6277 7799.

Committee contact details

Attending a public hearing

  • Anyone can come to a public hearing but only witnesses are invited to speak

    Most hearings are held in public and anyone is welcome to come and listen.

    If the hearing is in Canberra, the venue will usually be a committee room in Parliament House. Hearings outside Canberra are usually in venues such as town halls, community centres, hotel conference rooms or the state parliament.

    The secretariat can tell you the date, time and place for each hearing and help you find the list of witnesses on the inquiry website.

  • It is up to the committee to decide who will be a witness at a public hearing

    Committees generally choose witnesses from those who have made written submissions to the inquiry. Committees aim to hear from a variety of organisations or individuals representing different views or with different concerns. Sometimes, to ensure a variety of views, a committee may ask an organisation or individual that has not made a submission to be a witness.

    Because time for hearings is limited, usually only a small proportion of submitters will be invited to give evidence. If you wish to be considered as a witness at a hearing, you should note this in your written submission to the inquiry.

  • Public hearings are broadcast live on the internet

    If the hearing is held in Canberra the video and audio of the hearing will be broadcast live on the internet.

    If the hearing is held outside Canberra, only the audio will be available.

    Media may also be present. If you have concerns about being recorded, photographed or filmed, you should raise this with the committee secretariat before you start to give evidence. The committee can decide whether to allow the media to record you or it can impose conditions on any recording of the hearing. In making the decision, the committee will balance principles of open proceedings, public interest, and fairness to the witness.

Appearing as a witness

Frequently asked questions