Royal Commissions Protections Review

Closed 26 Jan 2022

Opened 30 Nov 2021

Feedback updated 6 Apr 2022

We asked

We asked people to share their views and feedback on any issues or impediments to people coming forward and sharing information with Royal Commissions. We did this as part of a review of how the Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cth) operates to protect sensitive information given, or sought to be given, to a Royal Commission.

You said

Feedback in submissions to the review was generally positive and indicated that the new confidentiality protections implemented by the Royal Commissions Amendment (Protection of Information) Act 2021 have been helpful in terms of giving people greater confidence to share stories and experiences with the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

Thank you to everyone who provided a response.

We did

The feedback received has been used to inform the final report of the review.

The report identifies several possible legislative amendments to the Royal Commissions Act for further consideration:

  • applying confidentiality protections to future royal commissions
  • establishing processes for the operation of non-publication directions, including their lifting or amendment in appropriate circumstances
  • the admissibility of evidence given to a Royal Commission in tribunal proceedings
  • extending the scope of retribution protections for confidential submissions
  • options for clarifying circumstances in which non‑disclosure agreements might restrict information being provided to a Royal Commission
  • the possibility of allowing civil remedies to be sought within the Royal Commissions Act.

Results updated 6 Apr 2022

Read the final review report, including its 10 recommendations.



Review of confidentiality protections for people engaging with royal commissions

We have conducted a review of the Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cth) to examine any issues or impediments to people coming forward and sharing sensitive information with a royal commission.

We developed this consultation to enable members of the public to provide feedback on their experiences with a royal commission to help inform this review.

Discussion questions

We suggested considering the following questions when providing your feedback:

  • Are you satisfied with the options available for providing sensitive information to royal commissions? Are there other ways of providing information that you would like to be able to use?
  • What are some concerns or barriers that would make you or someone you know reluctant to provide sensitive information to a royal commission?
  • Do you have any examples of a person having experienced negative consequences from engaging with a royal commission? This could be in the form of receiving different treatment from care providers, family, friends, or employers.
  • Where you, or a person you know, have been willing to share sensitive information with a royal commission, what has worked to reassure you/them that you/they can tell your/their story?
  • Do you feel the law does enough to protect people's identities when they have given confidential information to a royal commission? What other legal protections would you like to see?
  • The Australian Government recently changed the law to give greater protections to people providing sensitive information to the Disability Royal Commission. Since the government changed the law, have you or someone you know been more willing to share sensitive information with the Disability Royal Commission? This may include written feedback, attending public hearings, or participating in private sessions.
  • What do you think would make you or someone you know more likely to provide sensitive information to a royal commission? This may include changes to the law, policies, or other initiatives.

Provide your feedback

Feedback closed at 11:59pm on Wednesday 26 January 2022.

We provided different options for you to provide your feedback online, via email, mail or phone.

Use of your information

Any submissions or feedback has been treated confidentially. We only published information provided to us if you indicated that we may do so, and we have de‑identified any information provided that is used in our report.

We also accepted anonymous submissions if you preferred to provide feedback in that way.

This consultation process only sought input to inform the review of the Act.  To engage with, or provide information to either of the below royal commissions, visit their websites directly:

Contact and support

The Australian Government is funding free and independent support services for people engaging with or affected by the Disability Royal Commission. Find out more on the Department of Social Services website.

The Department of Veterans' Affairs website provides information and support to those who serve or have served in defence of our nation, and their families.

The National Counselling and Referral Service provided by Blue Knot Foundation has been established to support people affected by the Disability Royal Commission: 1800 421 468.

Terms of reference

Read the terms of reference for the review.


  • Legislation
  • Privacy