In November 1994, the Senate agreed to a motion by Senator Harradine requiring all Australian Government departments and agencies to produce an indexed list of file titles every six months for tabling before Parliament. The production of the list is intended to make the operations of government more transparent to the Australian public.
Requirements of Senate Continuing Order as varied by the Senate on 3 December 1998
Provision of Six Monthly File Lists on the Internet
Subject to the definitions in Paragraph 3 below, each department and agency must provide, on its Internet home page, an indexed list of the titles of all relevant files, including new parts of existing files:
- created between 1 July and 31 December of the preceding year in the central office of that department or agency – not later than the tenth day of the autumn sittings
- created between 1 January and 30 June of that year in the central office of that department or agency – not later than the tenth day of the spring sittings.
Additionally, the Senate requires departments and agencies to maintain lists on their home pages of all files created in the most recent calendar year. When a new list is published on the home page, the oldest list is removed.
Relevant files includes files relating to the policy advising functions of the department or agency, including any relating to the development of legislation and other matters of public administration, but need not include:
- files transferred to the Australian Archives
- case related files
Example: Personal representations or dealing with the personal affairs of departmental or agency clients or taxpayers
- files essentially related to the internal administration of the department or agency. Example: Staff or personnel matters.
For links to lists of files created by the Department see below. Each list is in alphabetical order, and covers a six month period. The
covering statement provides further information about the publication of the file listings.
Senate continuing order No. 12 - Six monthly file lists