Referral of the bill
On 10 December 2020, the Senate referred the provisions of the Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2020 (the bill) to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 12 February 2021.
Purpose of the bill
On Wednesday, 9 December 2020, the Treasurer, Mr Josh Frydenberg MP, explained the intent of the bill:
This bill establishes a mandatory code to address the bargaining power imbalances that exist between digital platforms and Australian news media businesses…
Public interest journalism plays an important role in our society. It is critical to the functioning of our democracy. This role can only be fulfilled by a strong, diverse and sustainable Australian news media sector.
This bill responds to the key findings of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) digital platforms inquiry…
The ACCC found that digital platforms have become unavoidable trading partners of news media businesses, providing them with substantial bargaining power.
The problem is not unique to Australia, and we recognise that similar findings are emerging overseas…
We are not seeking to protect traditional media companies from the rigour of competition or, indeed, technological disruption, which we know benefit consumers. Rather, we are seeking to create a level playing field where market power is not misused and there is appropriate compensation for the production of original news content.
To that end, this bill will establish a new world-leading code of conduct for news media businesses and digital platforms.
The code ensures that digital platforms share the benefit they obtain from using Australian sourced news content with the news media businesses who create that content.
The Treasurer will be able to determine that a digital platform is subject to the code, having regard to ACCC and Treasury advice about whether a substantial bargaining power imbalance exists.
ACMA, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, would assess the eligibility of Australian news media businesses to participate in the code against criteria set out in the code.
The framework contained in the bill recognises that agreements can be entered into outside of the code. Indeed, they are encouraged to be entered into outside of the code. Where a news media business reaches an agreement with a digital platform, it can agree to not bargain or pursue compulsory arbitration under the code.
If a news media business cannot reach an acceptable agreement with a digital platform outside of the code, it will have the option to trigger aspects of the code to address the bargaining power imbalance. This includes minimum standard obligations that digital platforms must meet for all news media businesses registered under the code, requirements for good faith bargaining over remuneration and the application of final offer arbitration if bargaining between the parties does not succeed.
Should arbitration be required, both parties must each submit a final remuneration offer. Arbiters are then required to:
consider the benefits for both parties from having Australian news content available on digital platforms; and
take into account the cost of producing news content and whether any final decision places an undue burden on the digital platforms.
In assessing the offers made by each party, arbiters must consider the outcome that would have arisen if commercial negotiations had taken place in circumstances where the digital platform did not have a bargaining power imbalance.
The code also contains provisions to limit, as far as practicable, digital platforms' ability to avoid the code and to take retaliatory action against news media businesses for participating in the code. This includes through provisions that prohibit digital platforms from differentiating between Australian news media businesses covered by the code.
Penalties will apply to breaches of the key provisions of the code.
The ACCC will be responsible for enforcing the code and will be able to issue infringement notices with smaller fines for minor code breaches.
The code will be reviewed by Treasury after one year of operation to test the effectiveness of its operation.
The News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code is a world-leading initiative. It is designed to level the playing field and to ensure a sustainable and viable Australian media landscape. It's a key part of the government's strategy to ensure that the Australian economy is able to take full advantage of the benefits of digital technology, supported by appropriate regulation to protect key elements of Australian society. One such key element is a strong and sustainable Australian news media landscape.
In December 2017, the Government directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to inquire into the impact of digital platform services on the state of competition in the media and advertising services markets.
The ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry Final Report was released in July 2019. Among the key findings was that the major platforms are unavoidable trading partners for Australian news businesses, and therefore possess substantial bargaining power over these businesses.
The Government Response to the Digital Platforms Inquiry Final Report, released on 12 December 2019, directed the ACCC to work with major platforms and Australian news businesses to develop and implement a voluntary code of conduct to address bargaining power imbalances between digital platforms and media businesses.
The ACCC was to provide a progress report to the government in May 2020, with the code to be finalised no later than November 2020. If an agreement was not forthcoming, the government would develop alternative options, which could include a mandatory code.
The government requested an update on progress towards a voluntary code from the ACCC ahead of May 2020. This update noted that while discussions between the parties had been taking place, progress on a voluntary code had been limited. The ACCC considered it unlikely that any voluntary agreement would be reached with respect to the key issue of remuneration for content.
On 20 April 2020, the government directed the ACCC to develop a mandatory code of conduct. This reflected:
that the Australian media sector was already under significant pressure, which was being exacerbated by a sharp decline in advertising revenue driven by the Coronavirus; and
the advice of the ACCC that digital platforms and news businesses were unlikely to reach voluntary agreement on the key issue of revenue-sharing.
The following provides a non-exhaustive overview of similar European Union (EU) and French policy, and associated media reporting.
European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market
In June 2019, the European Council approved a new copyright directive that updated its previous copyright law within the EU (Directive of The European Parliament and of the Council on Copyright and Related Rights in the Digital Single Market and Amending Directives 96/9/EC and 2001/29/EC). This reform extended copyright liability to tech giants Google and Facebook.
In November 2019, France became the first EU nation to ratify the new copyright law.
The European copyright law was introduced in 2001 following the implementation of the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty in the Information Society Directive 2001/29/EC. Eighteen years later, European law makers decided to update the law, after the European Court of Justice noted that the law should be updated and brought in line with the digital era.
The reform outlines new terms regarding licensing practices to authors and performers in online content sharing services. Websites such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram will have to obtain a license from the rights holders of copyright protected works uploaded by users. This will allow rights holders to negotiate the conditions of the exploitation of their protected works. New and small platforms will be subject to lighter obligations in this regard. The new directive also introduces transparency obligations to online content sharing services regarding the remuneration and the commercial exploitation of licensed works.
The current practice in cases of copyright violation is that the rights holders have to notify the website regarding the infringing use of their works in order for the website to take down the violation, or else face liability of infringement. The reform holds these websites liable for copyrighted works uploaded by users without giving notice. If no authorisation is granted by the rights holder, the website will be liable for infringement of copyright, following a few exceptions.
The reform also requires news aggregation services like Google and Facebook to negotiate licenses with news outlets in order to post snippets or links to their published articles.
From the users’ perspective, the reform introduces new exceptions to copyright infringement for the purposes of text and data mining, online teaching activities and the preservation and online dissemination of cultural heritage. The directive also changes existing exceptions such as quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody and pastiche from optional to mandatory for member states.
These major changes to EU copyright law made waves worldwide and provoked protest throughout Europe. Critics of the reform are concerned that the liability for online content sharing services will result in upload filters that will filter out legitimate content and severely harm free speech and the free exchange of information. Supporters of the reform, mainly artists, publishers and other content outlets, believe that the new regulations are balanced and appropriate, following years of injustice where third parties made major capital exploiting their protected works with little or no remuneration.
EU Member States had two years to pass legislation at the national level from 2019. This means the full impact of the reform is expected to come into effect by around May 2021.
The French agreement with Google and Facebook
In November 2019, French media organisations lodged a complaint against Google with the country's competition authority over Google's refusal to pay for displaying their content.
This began the process through which the French laws were developed.
A comparison of the French and Australian laws
Ms Rebekah Dunne, in the Search Engine Journal, provided a useful comparison between the approaches taken by the French and Australian Governments and why Google is apparently satisfied with the new French law but not the Australian one.
Background to the French Agreement
In October 2020, Google announced that they were investing US$1 billion over three years to pay publishers for content displayed on Google ‘News Showcase’ service.
Ms Dunne reported that the agreement with France allows Google to negotiate individual licenses whereby payment will be based on specific and measurable metrics. This includes Google paying on behalf of the reader for any content published behind paywalls, allowing users access to content they would not be able to see unless they made a payment.
Background to the Australian Agreement
Ms Dunne argued that the main difference between the French agreement and the Australian conflict is that Australia is looking for remuneration for Google linking to their content in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and advanced notice of ‘deliberate algorithm changes’ that would impact the news media business.
Google Australia’s Managing Director, Ms Mel Silva, outlined issues with the News Media Bargaining Code and proffered three technical amendments that would make the Code “workable” for them.
First, rather than payment for links and snippets, the Code could designate News Showcase, and allow Google to reach commercial agreements to pay Australian news publishers for value in addition to the valuable traffic we already provide through Search.
Ms Silva was essentially offering the same deal that was struck with France, whereby payment would be made to publishers agreeing to operate through the Google’s News Showcase.
This would give Australia ‘two bites of the pie’ as their content would be available in organic search results and the Showcase.
However, no payment would be made for content shown in organic search results, only news stories within the Showcase would receive compensation.
Secondly, the Code’s final offer arbitration model, with biased criteria presents unmanageable financial and operational risk for Google. If this is replaced with standard commercial arbitration based on comparable deals, this would incentivise good faith negotiations and ensure we’re held accountable by robust dispute resolution.
This point was also discussed in a blog post published by Google, which outlines eight reasons why the News Media Bargaining Code is unworkable. Google believes that the arbitration process wouldn’t consider the benefits that publishers derive from Google and would be unfairly biased towards the publisher’s costs.
Finally, the algorithm notification provision could be adjusted to require only reasonable notice about significant actionable changes to Google’s algorithm, to make sure publishers are able to respond to changes that affect them.
Google believes that this aspect of the Code would essentially mean the company gives news publishers special treatment that would leave other businesses that use organic search as a medium to advertise their business at a disadvantage. This, Google argued, would essentially break Google Search.
Google reiterated that they are willing to pay news publishers but only if they operate through Google News Showcase and make ‘reasonable amendments to the arbitration model’. However, they did not specify what that would look like.
Finally, Google argued that they do not show full articles but utilise the algorithm to link users to articles, they are not responsible for declining newspaper revenue and that the search engine makes significant contributions to Australia every year.
Ms Dunne summarised Google’s position saying that Google is, apparently, not opposed to paying for news content, but to the process outlined in the Code.
Moreover, if they are the only search engine platform being targeted by the Code, then this would this put them at a disadvantage as other companies would not have to legally pay news publishers to advertise their content in the organic search results.
Summary of the bill
The bill establishes a mandatory code of conduct to address bargaining power imbalances between digital platform services and Australian news businesses. It does this by setting out six main elements:
bargaining – which require the responsible digital platform corporations and registered news business corporations that have indicated an intention to bargain, to do so in good faith;
compulsory arbitration – where parties cannot come to a negotiated agreement about remuneration relating to the making available of covered news content on designated digital platform services, an arbitral panel will select between two final offers made by the bargaining parties;
general requirements – which, among other things, require responsible digital platform corporations to provide registered news business corporations with advance notification of planned changes to an algorithm or internal practice that will have a significant effect on covered news content;
non-differentiation requirements – responsible digital platform corporations must not differentiate between the news businesses participating in the Code, or between participants and non-participants, because of matters that arise in relation to their participation or non-participation in the Code;
contracting out – the bill recognises that a digital platform corporation may reach a commercial bargain with a news business outside the Code about remuneration or other matters. It provides that parties who notify the ACCC of such agreements would not need to comply with the general requirements, bargaining and compulsory arbitration rules (as set out in the agreement); and
standard offers – digital platform corporations may make standard offers to news businesses, which are intended to reduce the time and cost associated with negotiations, particularly for smaller news businesses. If the parties notify the ACCC of an agreed standard offer, those parties do not need to comply with bargaining and compulsory arbitration (as set out in the agreement).
The bill provides that the Minister may designate a digital platform corporation and digital services that must comply with the Code. The Minister may only designate a digital platform corporation and services if the Minister has considered whether there is a significant bargaining power imbalance between Australian news businesses and the digital platform corporation’s corporate group. In forming a view, the Minister may consider ACCC reports or advice.
A responsible digital platform corporation for a digital platform service is required to participate in the Code if the Minister has made a determination that a service is a designated digital platform service of the corporation.
The responsible digital platform corporation will be either:
a related body corporate (of the corporation identified in the Ministerial determination) that is incorporated or managed in Australia and operates or controls the designated digital platform service; or
if that subsidiary does not operate or control the digital platform service by itself or with one or more other entities – the designated digital platform corporation.
For a news business corporation to participate, it must be registered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The ACMA must register a news business (and the applicant corporation as the registered news business corporation) if the applicant had an annual revenue above $150,000 in the most recent year or in three of the five most recent years, and the news sources comprising the news business:
have the primary purpose of creating and publishing core news content;
are subject to relevant professional journalistic standards; and
operate predominantly in Australia for the dominant purpose of serving Australian audiences.
Once a news business corporation is registered by the ACMA, each responsible digital platform corporation that operates or controls a designated digital platform service must comply with the general requirements with respect to each registered news business. However, this is subject to any agreement outside the Code which contracts out of the general requirements.
Once a news business corporation is registered by the ACMA, it may give notice of an intention to bargain under the Code with a responsible digital platform corporation that operates or controls a designated digital platform service in relation to its covered news content.
One or more registered news business corporations may form a group for the purpose of bargaining collectively with a responsible digital platform corporation under the Code. The collective may nominate one of the group members or a third party to represent the group during the bargaining process.
The bill specifically authorises collective bargaining so that it does not contravene the restrictive trade practices provisions in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA). Nothing in the bill is intended to prevent news business corporations from engaging in discussions with one another about forming a collective. This is because forming a collective is authorised under the bill.
If a registered news business corporation or collective has indicated an intention to bargain, a responsible digital platform corporation and a registered news business corporation must negotiate in good faith. Breaches of this requirement are subject to a civil penalty.
If an agreement is not reached between the parties within three months of the registered news business corporation indicating an intention to bargain, the matter will be subject to compulsory arbitration if the news business elects to begin arbitration.
If a responsible digital platform corporation and a registered news business corporation are subject to compulsory arbitration, an arbitral panel chosen by the bargaining parties (or by the ACMA if the parties fail to agree on panel members) will select between the final offers made by the parties.
Both parties must submit a final offer to the arbitral panel stating a remuneration amount. This amount is the amount of remuneration to be paid by the responsible digital platform corporation to the registered news business corporation in relation to making its covered news content available on a designated digital platform service.
The arbitral panel must accept one of those offers, unless it considers that the final offers are not in the public interest, in which case the arbitral panel may amend the more reasonable of the two offers. This is expected to happen in very limited circumstances.
Provisions of the bill
The bill contains only one Schedule.
Schedule 1—Digital platforms and Australian news businesses
Schedule 1 of the bill makes amendments to the CCA which put into effect the intention of the bill as outlined above.
The bill provides that a review of the Code will begin within one year of the commencement of the new law.
Human rights implications
Right to a fair trial
The bill engages the right to a fair trial in Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by making many contraventions of the new Part IVBA subject to the imposition of a civil penalty.
The civil penalty provisions contained in the new Part IVBA are not ‘criminal’ for the purposes of human rights law. While a criminal penalty is deterrent or punitive, these provisions are regulatory and disciplinary as they aim to encourage compliance with the obligations under the Code.
The provisions are intended to target relevant corporations. Furthermore, they do not apply to the general public, but to a class (news media businesses and digital platform corporations) who should reasonably be aware of their obligations under the CCA.
Imposing these civil penalties will enable an effective response to
non-compliance. The maximum civil penalty amounts that can be imposed under the new Part IVBA are intentionally significant and are in line with the penalties for other provisions in the CCA.
The judiciary continues to have discretion to consider the seriousness of the contravention and impose a penalty that is appropriate in the circumstances. The civil courts are experienced in making civil penalty orders at appropriate levels having regard to the maximum penalty amount, taking into account a range of factors including the nature of the contravening conduct and the size of the organisation involved.
Therefore, a relevant consideration in setting a civil penalty amount is the maximum penalty that should apply in the most egregious instances of
non-compliance with the new Part IVBA.
Finally, the civil penalties carry no sanction of imprisonment for non-payment of the penalty. Based on the above factors, the nature and severity of the civil penalties in the new Part IVBA are not ‘criminal’ for the purposes of human rights law.
Protection from arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy
The bill does not engage the right to protection from arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy under Article 17 of the ICCPR.
The bill provides that a digital platform corporation must provide, to a registered news media business, a list and explanation of data that relates to user interactions with the news media business’ covered news content to that news media business. The list and information must be updated annually.
Under the Code, parties may also bargain to receive data that may include personal information, under the existing operation of the Privacy Act 1988, by specifying this as a ‘specified issue’ for bargaining about.
Under the arbitration framework in the bill, parties may ask each other for information, including personal information, but only as permitted by the existing Privacy Act 1988.
These obligations and abilities do not interfere with Article 17 of the ICCPR because they do not require or authorise any additional use or disclosure of information than what is already regulated under the Privacy Act 1988, so the bill does nothing to change the privacy protections for personal information already in place under Australian law.
The EM argues that, accordingly, to the extent that Schedule 1 engages with the rights under Article 14 and 17 of the ICCPR, it is compatible with human rights as any limitations are reasonable, necessary and proportionate.
According to the EM, there will be no financial impact from this measure.
In the 2019—20 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the government agreed to provide $28.6 million over four years from 2019—20 to implement recommendations from the Digital Platforms Inquiry. The response will include:
$26.9 million over four years to establish a Digital Platforms Unit within the ACCC to implement a number of recommended reforms, including monitoring and collecting data about digital platforms, investigating potential breaches of competition and consumer law and facilitating a voluntary code of conduct between new media businesses and digital platforms. The ACCC will also undertake more detailed inquiries as directed by the Treasurer, the first being into online advertising and ‘ad-tech’ services
$1.7 million over two years to [the Attorney-General’s Department to] conduct a review of the Privacy Act to ensure it remains fit for purpose in the digital era.
Compliance cost impact:
According to the EM, this measure will result in a medium increase in compliance costs. It is expected that the measure will increase costs for businesses by $10.5 million to $13.0 million per year.
Senate Standing Committee on the Scrutiny of Bills
Use of delegated legislation
The Senate Standing Committee on the Scrutiny of Bills reviewed the legislation and expressed concerns about the referral of significant matters to delegated legislation, rather than being included in the bill itself.
The Scrutiny of Bills Committee noted that:
Proposed section 52E provides that the Minister may, by legislative instrument, make a determination that specifies services as ‘designated digital platform services’ and specifies a corporation as a ‘designated digital platform corporation’.
The explanatory memorandum notes that in making a determination, the Minister must consider whether there is a significant bargaining power imbalance between Australian news businesses and the group comprised of the corporation and all of its related bodies corporate. The explanatory memorandum also notes that the Minister may consider any reports or advice of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Commission). However, the explanatory memorandum contains no justification regarding why it is necessary to allow such significant matters to be set out in delegated legislation.
The committee notes that a legislative instrument, made by the executive, is not subject to the full range of parliamentary scrutiny inherent in bringing proposed changes in the form of an amending bill.
In this instance, the committee’s scrutiny concerns are heightened due to the use of certain terms which are not defined in the bill. Specifically, the term ‘digital platform’ is not defined in the bill. The explanatory memorandum states that the term ‘digital platform’ is intended to take its ordinary meaning; and explains that it is intended that the term will capture platforms that deliver a wide variety of services such as social media services, search engines and other digital content aggregators.
The committee's view is that significant matters, such as which digital platforms must participate in the Code, should be included in primary legislation unless a sound justification for the use of delegated legislation is provided. If such matters are to remain in delegated legislation, the committee considers parliamentary scrutiny over such significant matters could be increased by requiring the positive approval of each House of the Parliament before the instrument could come into effect.
The Scrutiny of Bills Committee requested the Treasurer's advice as to why it is considered necessary and appropriate to leave the determination of which digital platforms must participate in the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code to delegated legislation.
The Scrutiny of Bills Committee also requested the Treasurer's advice as to whether the bill can be amended to require the positive approval of each House of the Parliament before determinations made under proposed section 52E come into effect.
As of Monday, 8 February 2021, the Scrutiny of Bills Committee had not received a response from the Treasurer.
Similarly, the Scrutiny of Bills Committee noted that the bill seeks to insert a range of powers to prescribe matters in delegated legislation into the CCA.
The committee's view is that matters which may be significant to the operation of a legislative scheme should be included in primary legislation unless sound justification for the use of delegated legislation is provided.
In addition, the committee notes that some of the above provisions enable delegated legislation to modify the operation of primary legislation and are therefore akin to Henry VIII clauses, which authorise delegated legislation to make substantive amendments to primary legislation. The committee has significant scrutiny concerns with Henry VIII-type clauses, as such clauses impact on the level of parliamentary scrutiny and may subvert the appropriate relationship between the Parliament and the Executive.
The committee considers that these matters have not been sufficiently addressed in the explanatory memorandum and that the prescription of so many delegated legislation making powers in the bill has not been adequately justified.
The Scrutiny of Bills Committee therefore requested the Treasurer's detailed advice as to why it is considered necessary and appropriate to leave these matters to delegated legislation.
As of Monday, 8 February 2021, the Scrutiny of Bills Committee had not received a response from the Treasurer.
Proposed section 52ZZS provides for a review of the operation of the Part introduced by the bill (relating to the news media and digital platforms mandatory bargaining code). The proposed section specifies that the Minister must ensure that copies of the report of the review are available for public inspection as soon as practicable after the period of 28 days beginning on the day the report is given to the minister, however, there is no requirement for the report to be tabled in Parliament.
The committee notes that not providing for the review report to be tabled in Parliament reduces the scope for parliamentary scrutiny. The process of tabling documents in Parliament alerts parliamentarians to their existence and provides opportunities for debate that are not available where documents are only available for public inspection. As such, the committee expects there to be appropriate justification for not including a requirement for review reports to be tabled in Parliament.
The Scrutiny of Bills Committee requested the Treasurer's advice as to whether proposed section 52ZZS of the bill can be amended to provide that the Minister must arrange for a copy of the review report to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of the House after the report is given to the Minister.
As of Monday, 8 February 2021, the Scrutiny of Bills Committee had not received a response from the Treasurer.
Regulation Impact Statement
The EM argues that the bill will provide news media businesses and digital platforms incentive to reach agreements for remuneration for news content on digital platform services. The EM argues that there will be a medium increase in compliance costs associated with this measure, largely affecting digital platforms. In summary:
the ACCC found in its Digital Platform Inquiry (July 2019) that there is a bargaining power imbalance between digital platforms and news media businesses so that news media businesses are not able to negotiate for a share of the revenue generated by the digital platforms and to which the news content created by the news media businesses contributes. Government intervention is necessary because of the public benefit provided by the production and dissemination of news, and the importance of a strong independent media in a well-functioning democracy;
the Digital Platforms Inquiry has been certified as an independent review which involved a process and analysis equivalent to a Regulation Impact Statement;
the scope of the certified review covers the scope of the policy proposal with the exception that it does not recommend a mandatory code with arbitration on remuneration as an immediate measure. Rather, the ACCC recommended a code requiring designated digital platforms to develop codes including a commitment to fair negotiation about remuneration;
in its December 2020 response to the ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry Final Report, the government asked the ACCC to work with the digital platforms and news media businesses to develop voluntary codes, and to provide a progress report by May 2020;
the Government then requested an update on progress towards a voluntary code from the ACCC ahead of May 2020. The ACCC noted that, whilst discussions between the parties had been taking place, progress on a voluntary code had been limited. The ACCC considered it unlikely that any voluntary agreement would be reached with respect to the key issue of remuneration for content;
following this report from the ACCC, on 20 April 2020, the government committed to developing a mandatory code of conduct to address bargaining power imbalances between Australian news media businesses and digital platforms, specifically Google and Facebook; and
to address the gap in the analysis between the ACCC’s inquiry and the government’s consideration of options for a mandatory code, supplementary analysis on the costs, benefits and risks associated with a mandatory code was prepared, consistent with the Australian Government Guide to Regulatory Impact Analysis.
Chapter 2 of the EM provides further analysis of factors impacting the Code. In effect it is a supplementary Regulation Impact Statement.
Date of effect
The bill will come into effect the day after it receives Royal Assent.
Conduct of the inquiry
The committee advertised the inquiry on its website and wrote to relevant stakeholders and interested parties inviting written submissions by 18 January 2021.
The committee accepted and published 55 submissions, which are listed in Appendix 1.
The committee held two public hearings on Friday, 22 January 2021, and Monday, 1 February 2021 for the inquiry. The names of witnesses who appeared at the hearings can be found in Appendix 2.
The committee thanks all individuals and organisations who assisted with the inquiry, especially those who made written submissions and participated in the public hearings.
Notes on references
In this report, references to the Committee Hansard are to the Proof Hansard and page numbers may vary between Proof and Official Hansard transcripts.