Making a submission – how to have your say

Everyone can make a submission to anything that involves government policy making. It doesn’t need to be scary – a submission can be a one page letter, or detailed policy proposals, or somewhere in between.

Submissions are important because they are read, both by public servants and by politicians. They can also end up being used by parliamentary committees to advocate for particular funding and policies.

Have you ever thought of doing one? Don’t know where to start? Well, the Treasurer has asked for a ‘national conversation’ about the recently released tax paper, and is calling for submissions by June 1.

All of us have an interest in tax, and how to fund the things we care about. While a submission is just one way to have a say, it’s an important one that feeds into the policy making process.

So how on earth do you make a submission? What would you say? Where would you get evidence to back up your arguments and how can you make your submission as effective as it can be?

There are a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way that may help anyone thinking of making a submission. Some will apply to groups or organisations, but most of them are about individuals.

I’ll divide this up into three posts that will look at why submissions are important and what you need to say, then how to find the money to pay for the things you want to do, and lastly, what to do with your submission when it is finished.

I’m going to use the recently released tax paper as a concrete example, but the same principles apply to other submissions. If you are looking at state or territory budgets, or even your local council’s spending, there will be a way to make a submission and this general guide will still be relevant. Because how we spend our public money needs a bit more public in the mix.

If people have specific questions, or suggestions for more information, do put them into the comments and I’ll update the posts.

Part one: Why are submissions important and how to have your say

Part two: How do you pay for it

Part three: What to do with your submission when you’ve finished

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About bluntshovels

Freelance writer, with an unhealthy interest in Senate committees.
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