The Commission is calling a wide range of witnesses at its hearings. Witnesses include experts, academics, state servants and people with direct knowledge and experience of the issues the Commission is examining, including victim-survivors, their families and their supporters. It is for the Commission to determine who is called as a witness and the order in which they are called.
Protections for witnesses
Witnesses have rights and protections under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1995 (Tas). If you are called as a witness, the Act provides that:
- your employer cannot prejudice or dismiss you
- others cannot try to prevent you from providing evidence to the Commission, and
- others cannot punish you or cause you damage, loss or disadvantage because you provide evidence to the Commission.
These rights and protections are outlined in:
- Providing information to the Commission: Information for members of the public (PDF, 446.8 KB)
- Providing information to the Commission: Information for public sector employees and officers (PDF, 255.2 KB)
The Commission has engaged specialist consultants, Converge International, to provide confidential wellbeing support to witnesses who give evidence at its hearings.
A Converge staff member is present on site at the Commission’s hearings to provide support to witnesses on the day they give evidence and to members of the public in attendance. Support on site does not need to be arranged in advance.
If you are issued with a notice to attend and give evidence as a witness, you can also access:
- one counselling session within the seven days prior to appearing at a hearing, and
- one counselling session following your appearance.
Counselling can be in person at the Converge offices or can be provided remotely.
To access the counselling sessions, please contact Converge on 1300 687 327 and quote ‘611965’. Assistance to access the service can also be provided by contacting the Commission.
Safety and security
The Commission has a number of measures in place to support the safety of witnesses and members of the public who attend the hearings. Security guards are present on site at the hearing venues and all attendees will be subject to a security screening.
All individuals who attend the hearing venues in person, including witnesses, are required to be fully vaccinated as defined in the Commission’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy (PDF, 125.7 KB). The Commission may also require members of the public who attend the hearing venues to wear face masks.
To better support the safety of witnesses, the Commission may:
- enable witnesses to enter and exit the hearing venues via a discreet entrance
- arrange for witnesses to appear and give their evidence remotely, or
- make restricted publication orders to protect the identity of a witness.
Witnesses who are Tasmanian state servants (public sector employees) are encouraged to discuss any security concerns with their legal representatives. Any concerns can also be raised directly with the Commission’s Legal Team via email to email@example.com.
All other witnesses are encouraged to discuss any security or other concerns with the members of the Commission’s Legal Team who have been assisting them.
Witnesses may be able to claim their expenses associated with their appearance at a hearing.
Details of what expenses can be claimed are outlined in: