I strongly disagree with the following.
A protest committee hearing takes place whenever there is a proceeding before at least one member of the protest committee who has the authority to make a decision regarding the matter in question.
That's well stated position that I think is worthy of hashing out. (I would agree with your statement above, but would be interested to read opposing arguments)
I can locate the following relevant definitions of 'hearing':
English dictionary (Shorter Oxford) 2. The action of listening ... 3. The listening to evidence and pleadings in a court of law; the trial of a cause ...
Legal dictionary (CCH Macquarie) A general term for the presentation of matter before a tribunal.
As I enumerated in a previous post, there are a number of processes which, by the rules, the protest committee is expressly required to 'hear', and there are a number of decisions which the protest committee is empowered to take without 'hearing' from anybody, including:
- to protest a boat (rule 60.3a)
- to call a hearing to consider redress for a boat (rule 60.3b)
- to call a hearing to consider whether a support person has broken a rule (rule 60.3d)
- to reopen or not to reopen a hearing (rule 66)
- to call a hearing to consider an alleged breach of rule 69.1 (rule 69.2b).
It is pretty obvious that you don't hold a hearing to decide whether to call a hearing.
The prerequisite decision of a protest committee to call a hearing under rule 69 is most definitely not a hearing.
Rule 63 states a number of requirements for 'Hearings', including, in particular Notification of time and place of the hearing, and Right to be Present.
These requirements do not apply to the decisions listed above.
Not every decision to be taken by a protest committee is, or requires a hearing.