The Senate agreed on 30 May 1996 to a motion by Senator Harradine requiring that each Minister table indexed lists of file titles created by Central Offices of each department or agency he or she administers. The lists are to be tabled twice a year, once in the Spring sittings, comprising file titles created in the preceding January to June, and once in the Autumn sittings, comprising titles created in the preceding July to December.
The Order was varied by the Senate on 3 December 1998 and now requires:
- that each department and agency provide, on its Internet home page, access to an indexed list of all relevant files created; and
- tabling of a letter from the Portfolio Minister to the President of the Senate, advising that such indexed lists have been placed on the Internet.
In addition, under the terms of the order, "relevant files" include those relating to policy advising functions, the development of legislation and matters of public administration. Case related files, those related to internal administration of a department or agency, and those files transferred to the Australian Archives, are specifically excluded.