(1) Whenever the Governor by letters patent under the Public Seal issues a Royal Commission to any person to make any inquiry, the provisions of this Act shall apply to and with respect to the inquiry.(2) In this Division chairperson means the chairperson of a commission, and includes (except in section 5A):(a) a deputy chairperson of a commission appointed by the letters patent or chosen by the other commissioners in accordance with the letters patent to act in the absence of the chairperson, and(b) a member of a commission acting in accordance with an authorisation under section 5A (3).(3) In this Division commissioner includes any person to whom a commission is issued, whether as chairperson or as a member other than the chairperson, or as sole commissioner.
(1) A commissioner may sit for the purposes of any part of an inquiry if:(a) the commissioner is a sole commissioner, or(b) all the members, or a quorum of the members, of the commission are sitting for the purposes of that part of the inquiry, or(c) the commissioner is the chairperson of the commission, or(d) the commissioner is a member of the commission authorised by the chairperson to sit for the purposes of that part of the inquiry.(2) More than one member may be authorised under subsection (1) (d) by the chairperson to sit for the purposes of a part of the inquiry, in which case the member designated by the chairperson is to preside.(3) A member authorised under subsection (1) (d) or, if there is more than one member so authorised, the designated presiding member is authorised to exercise the powers of the chairperson of the commission under the other sections of this Division (unless the authorisation under subsection (1) (d) provides otherwise).(4) If a member is authorised under subsection (1) (d), commissioners may sit concurrently for the purposes of an inquiry.
Every commissioner shall in the exercise of the commissioner’s duty as a commissioner have the same protection and immunity as a judge of the Supreme Court.
(1) Any counsel or solicitor appointed by the Crown to assist the commission may appear at the inquiry.(2) Where it is shown to the satisfaction of the chairperson, or of the sole commissioner, as the case may be, that any person is substantially and directly interested in any subject-matter of the inquiry, or that the person’s conduct in relation to any such matter has been challenged to the person’s detriment, the chairperson or sole commissioner may authorise such person to appear at the inquiry, and may allow the person to be represented by counsel or solicitor.(3) Any counsel or solicitor so appointed and any person so authorised or the person’s counsel or solicitor may with the leave of the chairperson or of the sole commissioner, as the case may be, examine or cross-examine any witness on any matter which the commissioner deems relevant to the inquiry, and any witness so examined or cross-examined shall have the same protection and be subject to the same liabilities as if examined by the commissioner.
The chairperson or the sole commissioner, as the case may be, may by notice in writing summon any person to attend the commission at a time and place named in the summons, and then and there to give evidence and to produce any documents or other things in the person’s custody or control which the person is required by the summons to produce.
(1) Any of the commissioners may administer an oath to any person appearing as a witness before the commission, whether the witness has been summoned or appears without being summoned, and may examine the witness upon oath.(2) Where any witness to be examined before the commission conscientiously objects to take an oath the witness may make an affirmation that the witness conscientiously objects to take an oath, and that the witness will state the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, to all questions that may be put to the witness.(3) An affirmation so made shall be of the same force and effect, and shall entail the same liabilities as an oath.
Every witness who has been summoned to attend the commission shall appear and report from day to day unless the witness is excused from attendance or until the witness is released from further attendance by the chairperson or by the sole commissioner, as the case may be.
(1) A witness summoned to attend or appearing before the commission shall not be entitled, except as otherwise provided in this section and section 127 (Religious confessions) of the Evidence Act 1995, to refuse:(a) to be sworn or to make an affirmation,(b) to answer any question relevant to the inquiry put to the witness by any of the commissioners,(c) to produce any document or other thing in the witness’s custody or control which the witness is required by the summons to produce.(2) Nothing in this section shall make it compulsory for any witness:(a) to answer any question or produce any document or other thing if the witness has a reasonable excuse for refusing,(b) to disclose any secret process of manufacture.(3) A witness summoned to attend or appearing before the commission shall have the same protection, and shall in addition to the penalties provided by this Act be subject to the same liabilities in any civil or criminal proceeding as a witness in any case tried in the Supreme Court.(4) If a commission obtains for the purposes of the inquiry any document or other thing or any information that is provided voluntarily by a person, subsection (3) applies to the person as if the person were a witness appearing before the commission.
(1) The commission may inspect any documents or other things produced before it, and may retain them for such reasonable period as it thinks fit, and, in the case of documents produced before it, may make copies of such matter as is relevant to the inquiry or take extracts from them.(2) The commission may employ such assistance as it deems proper for the carrying out of any inquiry or investigation, and may by writing authorise any person so employed to inspect and report to it upon any documents or other things, or (without affecting the generality of the foregoing) any accounts, it considers relevant to the subject matter of the inquiry.(3) When the retention of a document or other thing ceases to be reasonably necessary for the purposes of the inquiry to which it relates, the commission is required, if a person who appears to the commission to be entitled to the document or other thing so requests, to cause it to be delivered to that person.(4) The requirement under subsection (3) does not apply if the commission has furnished the document or other thing or proposes to furnish it to a person or body referred to in section 12A or the commission deals with it or proposes to deal with it otherwise according to law.
(1) A commission may communicate any information or furnish any material (including evidence) that it obtains in the course of the inquiry conducted by it to a Commission of Inquiry, if the information or material relates or may relate to matters within the terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry.(2) A commission may communicate any information or furnish any material (including evidence) that it obtains in the course of the inquiry conducted by it to a law enforcement agency, if the information or material relates or may relate to a breach of a law of the State, of another State or Territory or of the Commonwealth.(3) In this section:
Commission of Inquiry means a person or body holding a commission to inquire into and report on any matters and having:(a) powers under this Act, or(b) powers under another law of the State or under a law of another State or Territory or of the Commonwealth, being in either case a law that has the same or a similar purpose or effect as this Act (such as the Royal Commissions Act 1902 of the Commonwealth).
law enforcement agency means a person or body with responsibilities for the enforcement of laws of the State, of another State or Territory or of the Commonwealth, including but not limited to any of the following:(a) the Attorney General of New South Wales, of another State or Territory or of the Commonwealth,(b) the Director of Public Prosecutions of New South Wales, of another State or Territory or of the Commonwealth,(c) the Commissioner of Police of New South Wales or the holder of a similar position in another State or Territory,(d) the Commissioner of Police in the Australian Federal Police,(e) the New South Wales Crime Commission,(f) the Independent Commission Against Corruption,(g) the Australian Crime Commission,(h) the Trade Practices Commission,(i) the Australian Securities Commission,(j) a task force set up to investigate any matters relating to breaches of law and arising out of the inquiry conducted by the commission.(4) The reference in this section to a task force is limited to a State task force or a joint task force. A State task force is one set up by the State or an authority of the State. A joint task force is one set up jointly by the State or an authority of the State and by one or more other Australian jurisdictions or their authorities. An Australian jurisdiction is a State or Territory or the Commonwealth. Subject to the above provisions of this subsection, the expression “task force” includes a body of persons that is similar to a task force, however it is described.(5) Nothing in this section derogates from or affects any powers a commission has apart from this section, and it is not to be construed as limiting in any way any such power by implication or otherwise.
(1) The Governor may make regulations prescribing a scale of allowances to be paid to any witness summoned under this Act for the witness’s travelling expenses and maintenance while absent from the witness’s usual place of abode.(2) The claim to allowance of any such witness certified by the chairperson or by the sole commissioner, as the case may be, shall be paid by the Colonial Treasurer out of moneys to be provided by Parliament for the purposes of the commission.
If in the letters patent by which a commission is issued the Governor declares that all or any specified sections of this Act shall not be applicable for the purposes of the inquiry referred to in the letters patent the sections or the specified sections, as the case may be, shall not apply to or with respect to the inquiry.
(1) If neither House of Parliament is sitting, the Minister may present to the Clerks of both Houses a report made by a commission.(2) When the report has been presented to and received by the Clerks:(a) the report is for all purposes to be taken to have been laid before each House and to be a document published by order or under the authority of each House, and(b) without limiting paragraph (a), the report attracts the same privileges and immunities as if it had been laid before each House and published by order or under the authority of each House, and(c) the report may be printed by the authority of either or both of the Clerks.(3) Material may be omitted from such a report before its presentation to the Clerks of both Houses, on the recommendation of the commission or otherwise.(4) The report is required to be recorded in the Minutes of Proceedings or Votes and Proceedings of the House on the first sitting day after it was presented to and received by the Clerk of the House.(5) This section does not have effect in relation to a report of a person or body to whom some or all of the provisions of this Act are applied by other legislation enacted before the commencement of this section, unless and until the other legislation expressly provides that this section applies to the person or body.
(1) The provisions of this Division have effect if the chairperson of a commission or the sole commissioner is a qualified person, namely:(a) a Judge of the Supreme Court of the State or of any other State or Territory, a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia or a Justice of the High Court of Australia, or(b) a former Judge or Justice of any such court, or(c) a person qualified to be appointed as a Judge or Justice of any such court (but only if in the letters patent by which the commission is issued, or in other letters patent under the Public Seal, the Governor declares that this Division has effect in relation to the commission).(2) In this Division, commissioner means a chairperson or sole commissioner who is such a qualified person, and also includes a member of a commission who is such a qualified person and who has been authorised by the chairperson to exercise powers under this Division (but only if the chairperson is also such a qualified person).
(1) If any person served with a summons to attend a commission as a witness fails to attend the commission in answer to the summons, the commissioner may, on proof by statutory declaration of the service of the summons, issue a warrant for the witness’s apprehension.(2) The warrant shall authorise the apprehension of the witness and the witness’s being brought before the commission and the witness’s detention and custody for that purpose until the witness is released by order of the commissioner.(3) The apprehension of any witness under this section shall not relieve the witness from any liability incurred by the witness by reason of the witness’s non-compliance with the summons.
(1) A witness summoned to attend or appearing before the commission shall not be excused from answering any question or producing any document or other thing on the ground that the answer or production may criminate or tend to criminate the witness, or on the ground of privilege or on any other ground.(2) An answer made, or document or other thing produced by a witness to or before the commission shall not, except as otherwise provided in this section, be admissible in evidence against that person in any civil or criminal proceedings.(3) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to render inadmissible:(a) any answer, document or other thing in proceedings for an offence against this Act,(b) any answer, document or other thing in any civil or criminal proceedings if the witness was willing to give the answer or produce the document or other thing irrespective of the provisions of subsection (1),(c) any book, document, or writing in civil proceedings for or in respect of any right or liability conferred or imposed by the document or other thing.(4) This section shall not have effect unless in the letters patent by which the commission is issued, or in other letters patent under the Public Seal, the Governor declares that the section shall apply to and with respect to the inquiry.(5) A declaration under section 15 that the provisions of this Division are to have effect is not sufficient to apply this section unless the declaration specifically states that this section shall apply to and with respect to the inquiry.
(1) For the purposes of the inquiry the commissioner shall have all such powers, rights, and privileges as are vested in the Supreme Court or in any judge thereof in or in relation to any action or trial, in respect of the following matters:(a) compelling the attendance of witnesses,(b) compelling witnesses to answer questions which the commissioner deems to be relevant to the inquiry,(c) compelling the production of documents and other things.(d) (Repealed)(2) Nothing in this or any other section of this Division shall limit the powers, rights, and privileges of the commissioner under any other provision of this Act.
(1) A person is guilty of contempt of a commission if the person does or omits to do anything which would, if the commission were the Supreme Court, be contempt of that Court or if the person disobeys any order or summons made or issued by the commissioner.(2) For the purposes of this Division, offender means a person guilty or alleged to be guilty of contempt of a commission.
(1) A contempt of a commission may be punished in accordance with this section.(2) The commissioner may present to the Supreme Court a certificate setting out the details which the commissioner considers constitute the contempt.(3) If the commissioner presents such a certificate to the Supreme Court:(a) the Supreme Court shall thereupon inquire into the alleged contempt, and(b) after hearing any witnesses who may be produced against or on behalf of the person charged with the contempt, and after hearing any statement that may be offered in defence, the Supreme Court (if satisfied that the person is guilty of the contempt) may punish or take steps for the punishment of the person in like manner and to the like extent as if the person had committed that contempt in or in relation to proceedings in the Supreme Court, and(c) the provisions of the Supreme Court Act 1970 and the rules of court of the Supreme Court shall, with any necessary adaptations, apply and extend accordingly.(4) Such a certificate is prima facie evidence of the matters certified.(5) Neither liability to be punished nor punishment under this section for contempt consisting of failure to attend before the commission as a witness in obedience to a summons excuses the offender from such attendance, and the commissioner may enforce attendance by warrant under section 16 or by exercise of any other available power.(6) A contempt of a commission may not be punished by a commissioner under section 18.
(1) In the case of any alleged contempt of a commission, the commissioner may summon the offender to appear before the commission at a time and place named in the summons to show cause why the offender should not be dealt with under section 18B for the contempt.(2) If the offender fails to attend before the commission in obedience to the summons, and no reasonable explanation to the satisfaction of the commissioner is offered for the failure, the commissioner may, on proof of the service of the summons, issue a warrant to arrest the offender and bring the offender before the commissioner to show cause why the offender should not be dealt with under section 18B for the contempt.(3) If a contempt of the commission is committed in the face or hearing of the commission, no summons need be issued against the offender, but the offender may be taken into custody then and there by a police officer and called upon to show cause why the offender should not be dealt with under section 18B for the contempt.(4) The commissioner may issue a warrant to arrest the offender while the offender (whether or not already in custody under this section) is before the commission and to bring the offender forthwith before the Supreme Court.(5) The warrant is sufficient authority to detain the offender in a prison or elsewhere, pending the offender’s being brought before the Supreme Court.(6) The warrant is to be accompanied by the certificate in which the commissioner sets out the details of the alleged contempt.(7) The commissioner may revoke the warrant at any time before the offender is brought before the Supreme Court.(8) When the offender is brought before the Supreme Court, the Court may, pending determination of the matter, direct that the offender be kept in such custody as the Court may determine or direct that the offender be released.
(1) An act or omission may be punished as a contempt of a commission even though it could be punished as an offence.(2) An act or omission may be punished as an offence even though it could be punished as a contempt of a commission.(3) If an act or omission constitutes both an offence and a contempt of a commission, the offender is not liable to be punished twice.