(1) In conducting a public inquiry—
(a) subject to any regulations, the procedure is in the discretion of the Convenor;
(b) the Convenor may proceed with as little formality and technicality and with as much expedition as the requirements of this Act and a proper investigation of the matter permit;
(c) the Convenor may determine whether or not to hold any hearings and whether or not any hearings are to be open to the public;
(d) the Convenor is not bound by the rules of evidence and may be informed of any matter in any manner the Convenor considers appropriate;
(e) the Convenor—
S. 51(1)(e)(i) amended by No. 17/2014 s. 160(Sch. 2 item 79).
(i) must allow a person affected by a public inquiry to be represented by an Australian lawyer;
(ii) may allow or refuse to allow any person to be represented by another person;
(f) the Convenor is bound by the rules of natural justice.
S. 51(2) amended by Nos 69/2009 s. 54(Sch. Pt 2 item 40), 67/2014 s. 147(Sch. 2 item 30).
(2) Sections 14, 15, 16 and 21A of the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1958 , as in force immediately before their repeal, apply to a public inquiry and the report of the public inquiry as if the Convenor were a board appointed by the Governor in Council.
(3) A person who is required to appear as a witness at a public inquiry is entitled to reasonable witness expenses as determined by the Convenor.
(4) A person must not give information which he or she knows is false or misleading to the Convenor.
Penalty: 60 penalty units.
(5) A person must not intentionally hinder or obstruct the conduct of a public inquiry.
Penalty: In the case of a natural person, 60 penalty units;
In the case of a body corporate, 300 penalty units.
(6) In this section, "Convenor" means the Secretary or the person or panel of persons appointed by the Secretary to conduct the public inquiry.