The Senate agreed in 1994 to a motion by Senator Harradine requiring the regular production of indexed file lists for each department or agency administered by that minister.
The lists are required 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.