Table of Contents
Giving Evidence to the Royal Commission
The Royal Commission Website provides a detailed outline of the manner in which people can share their story with the Commission. The site is located at https://disability.royalcommission.gov.au/submissions/Pages/default.aspx.
There are three ways that people can share their stories:
- a submission
- a private session
- a hearing.
There are a number of options that the Commission have made available to people in order to make their submission:
- Written form
The Commission has advised that in the future it proposes to allow a number of alternative options including video, audio and potentially SMS. ME/CFS Australia advises people to consult the Commission website to see if further options are available.
Option 1: Submission Form
The Submission form provided by the Commission is available on their website. It can be downloaded to your computer.
The Submission form contains 24 questions that include your personal information, along with 10 specific questions. The 11th and final question provides an option for you to express freely anything else you wish to share.
Information about the forms and how to make a submission are located at https://disability.royalcommission.gov.au/share-your-story.
This provides information brochures and videos.
Under a prior format, an entry into the response box only showed in one long line of words – with no formatting (including no paragraphs). It appears to be corrected however if it occurs, it might be difficult to use. It may be easier to type into a Word document first, and once ready to submit, paste your answers into the form or the online form.
The forms are available here https://disability.royalcommission.gov.au/publications/make-your-submission-forms
You will note that there are three types of forms: one for your submission, one for a submission on behalf of someone else, and one for a submission on behalf of an organisation if that relates to your submission.
If you elect to use the form, you should save it to your computer first to protect your responses from being lost. You can then work progressively on the form and save as you go.
Once the form is completed you might choose to email it to the Commission at this email address DRCEnquiries@royalcommission.gov.au.
The key questions in the Submission form are set out at https://mecfs.org.au/resources/disability-royal-commission-guide/royal-commission-key-questions/
Option 2: Telephone
The Commission allows you to ring them directly and provide your submission orally.
You can ring the Commission on 1800 517 199 or (07) 3734 1900 (9:00am to 6:00pm AEDT Monday to Friday, excluding national public holidays).
A translating and Interpreting Service is available. For a free-of-charge translator or interpreter phone the Translating and Interpreting Service – external site on 131 450 and ask to be connected to 07 3734 1900.
You could use the questions in the above form to help note down dot points, so that your conversation covers your major concerns.
It may take a number of phone calls to tell your story. The Commission advises that it has the capacity to take submissions in multiple parts.
Option 3: Video/Audio
The Commission allows you to record a video or audio submission of up to 10 files of no more than 4GB in total. This allows you to provide your submission orally, in your own time.
The videos area to be attached to the online submission form here https://shareyourstorysubmission.disability.royalcommission.gov.au/
You can upload your file(s) by clicking the “Attach Files” button within the submission form (see option 6 below). A maximum of 10 files of up to 4GB in total can be uploaded.
Please be aware that 4GB is not a large file so you will need to work out how many minutes of speaking you can do. It may be appropriate to deal with a topic area and submit as a separate submission each time.
If you would like assistance to upload your files you can contact the Royal Commission by calling 1800 517 199 or via this email address DRCEnquiries@royalcommission.gov.au.
Option 4: Email
The Commission will accept your email submission in any form you wish to provide.
You can choose to complete the form above, and email it as an attachment. You can choose to use a Word document sent as a PDF, or even a PDF copy of a legible handwritten document, to email to the Commission as an attachment.
You can use the form and its questions as a guide so that you provide the key information on yourself, and provide responses to the key questions.
Submissions are emailed to the Commission via this email address – DRCenquiries@royalcommission.gov.au.
The email must have the title “Disability Royal Commission – Submission” in the subject line.
Option 5: Mail
In its current form, you cannot print off the Submission form and mail it to the Commission. The form does not appear to display all the content in response boxes. You can, however, construct a written document, either by way of word processor or handwritten. You can then send your responses via Australia Post to:
Disability Royal Commission
GPO Box 1422
Brisbane QLD 4001
Option 6: Website
The final relevant option is available at https://shareyourstorysubmission.disability.royalcommission.gov.au/.
If you are going to use this option, you might like to write your responses elsewhere and then copy and paste them into the response boxes as advised in option 1.
It is important to remember that this option does not use a save function. If you close down the form without saving it to your computer, you will lose your submission. Additionally, as can occur, computers can shut down due to a variety of errors and malfunctions, and auto-updates can cause a reboot at times as well. You should consider using the word format and cutting and pasting into the form when you are ready to submit.
This option also allows the attachment of video and audio files.
The Commission will be offering the opportunity for people to participate in a confidential private session. The details of the session are protected by law and cannot be subpoenaed or disclosed under Freedom of Information legislation. The Commission website will outline more details of private sessions in the near future.
The Commission intends to hold private sessions within various regional locations throughout Australia. This does mean that some with ME/CFS will not be able to attend because of health restrictions.
ME/CFS Australia recommends that any person who is arranging such a session should make sure the Commission accommodates your needs. That may, for example, involve: having a waiting room that allows you to lay down; no fluorescent lighting; caters for multiple breaks; does not expose you to perfumes, deodorants or other smells.
A private session can also be distressing for some people. The Commission provides counselling, however it does not provide anything with respect to deterioration of your condition.
During the term of the Commission, it will hold public hearings on specific topics at various locations throughout Australia. Information is located at: https://disability.royalcommission.gov.au/hearings/Pages/default.aspx.
Each hearing will explore the issues that surround the topic of the hearing. The Commission encourages those with an interest to request an opportunity to be heard. You can complete an ‘Application for Leave to Appear’ form at: https://disability.royalcommission.gov.au/hearings/Documents/drc-application-for-leave-to-appear-form.docx.
The form, along with an outline of your submission, is then emailed to DRCsolicitor@royalcommission.gov.au.
For the majority, this option will not be available.
Practice Guideline 4 outlines how the hearings are conducted and informs prospective participants of what they will require in order to attend: https://disability.royalcommission.gov.au/hearings/Documents/guidelines/practice-guideline-4.pdf.
You can obtain assistance by contacting the Commission on 1800 517 199 or (07) 3734 1900 (between 9:00am-5:00pm (Australian Eastern Daylight Time [AEDT], Monday-Friday (excluding national public holidays).
It is noted that the Commission website indicates that there will be a change to the ‘Leave to Appear’ forms early this year. They may, however, change throughout the year. Please refer to the Royal Commission website and check for an update.
The Commission allows you the option of having your submission with or without your identity attached to it.
For those who need to access an alternative format in order to understand the Royal Commission and submission process, such information is available in formats including Easy Read, Auslan and translated material, and can be found at www.dss.gov.au/disability-royal-commission-support.
For those who experience deafness or hearing issues, or have a speech impairment, you can access the National Relay Service on 133 677.
Should you require support in another language, the Translating and Interpreting Service is available free of charge by:
- calling the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468 and ask for an interpreter; or
- calling the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 and asking to be connected to the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468.
At present there are no time limits with respect to making a submission. However, the Commission is scheduled to wind up in just over two years. Submissions should ideally be made during this year to ensure that they are available for consideration.
Go back to:
Who Can Help You Participate?
Issues to Talk About
Other pages in this guide
- Disability Royal Commission Guide for People with ME/CFS
- About the Royal Commission
- Is ME/CFS a disability?
- Participating in the Royal Commission
- Who Can Help You Participate?
- How Can You Participate? (you are here)
- Issues to Talk About
- How to Approach Your Submission
- Royal Commission Key Questions
- Sample Submission: Person with ME/CFS
- External Resources