This report provides an overview of responses to the Classification Review Issues Paper using text analytics software.
To date the report covers Questions 1-3, 12, 16 and 24-25 of the Issues Paper. Analysis of the other questions will be added as it becomes available.
The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) released its National Classification Scheme Review Issues Paper on 19 May, 2011. The ALRC received over 2,300 submissions in response, over five times as many submissions as it has received for any previous enquiry.
Of the submissions received, the ALRC had 819 requests that the submission remain confidential. It is the policy of the ALRC to make submissions publicly available on its website unless otherwise requested. In all but two cases, the confidentiality request came from a member of the public not wishing to have their identity made available on the website, rather than from an organisation presenting material that was commercial-in-confidence or restricted for other reasons. Two submissions were not able to be made public in full, due to the graphic nature of some content.
In addition, there were submissions that could not be made public either because they divulged personal details, they were not in a format lending itself to online posting (e.g. were handwritten), or were blank submissions.
Over 95 per cent of submissions responding to the Issues Paper came from individuals, with the balance from organisations, industry or professional associations, or companies. The category of “Organisation” includes government agencies, religious organisations, lobby and interest groups, political parties and other entities with an official status. Among the “Individual” submissions were expert submissions from academics, former classifiers, parliamentarians and recognised experts in the field. Nonetheless, the vast majority of submissions came from members of the general public.
The ALRC makes an online submission form available and encourages its use by submitters. For those making use of the online submission form, there is a template response form, which invited comment on each of the 29 questions that the ALRC had raised in its Issues Paper. Where the online submission form was not used, most respondents nonetheless took the opportunity to address questions individually, accompanied by some overall commentary on classification issues from their perspective. It was not obligatory to answer all questions, so some questions received considerably more responses than others.
Reflecting its commitment to transparent inquiry processes, the ALRC has provided a preliminary analysis of responses to seven key questions, as well as a general overview of submissions received. This will be updated to include the full range of responses as they become available.