Australian news, and some related international items

Call to allow clear participation for Royal Commission submissions – Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Congress

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINThe motion below was passed at Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Congress yesterday. It was moved by the CEPU (Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union) and seconded by Unions SA.

The motion was inspired after trade union representatives participated in a roundtable discussion in Adelaide hosted by Mark Parnell from the SA Greens, where the requirement for a JP to witness a submission to the RC was noted and condemned.

Nuclear Fuel Cell Cycle With regards to the Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cell Cycle currently underway in South Australia, Congress notes with alarm the Commission has decided to require that all public submissions to be typed and sworn under oath in front of a Justice of the Peace before they will be accepted.

Requiring members of the public to take the time and resources to type and swear an oath before they can lodge a submission is an  unnecessary and surprising restriction that will serve as a huge barrier to participating in what is supposed to be an open, public, inclusive and democratic process.

To be required to type a submission then swear an oath just to have your say is simply not necessary, and will have a disproportionately large effect on regional and remote communities, a majority of which are Indigenous. Additionally, in many remote communities English is not a first language, so along with the typed and sworn oath requirements means that many Indigenous voices will not be heard in the Royal Commission

The requirements means that if you live in a community that does not have a Justice of the Peace or other authorised witness, you would need to drive (assuming access to car or transport) up to an hour or more to the nearest community that does.

This runs contrary to the spirit of having an open public inquiry and is particularly unacceptable given that it is indigenous communities that will be most impacted should the Commission make recommendations for the establishment of a nuclear waste facility because they will have the facility placed on their land.

Congress calls on the Royal Commission to:

1-    Restore and encourage the broadest possible public participation by removing the requirement for public submissions to be sworn under oath.

2-    Accept oral and written submissions from members of the public.

3-    Ensure that any activities in regional and remote indigenous communities are done in a culturally appropriate manner, including the provision of interpretation services at public meetings and ensuring that written materials are available in local languages.

May 29, 2015 - Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016

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