In 1994, the Senate agreed to a motion by Senator Harradine requiring all Australian Government departments and agencies to produce an indexed list of files 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.
As part of the Government's ongoing commitment to give Australians greater access to relevant government information quickly and easily, the original Senate Order was amended in 1998 and now requires departments to also list these files on their websites.
The lists are tabled twice a year, once in the Spring sittings and once in the Autumn sittings.
File lists are to include files relating to the policy advising functions of the department or agency, as well as any relating to the development of legislation and other matters of public administration, but need not include:
- files transferred to the National Archives of Australia
- case related files (eg 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 (eg staff or personnel matters).
Words which would disclose commercially confidential, identifiably personal, or matters of national security have been removed from the titles. Words deleted have been replaced with a series of X's (e.g. XXXXX)
Files created between: