Chapter 18 - Documents tabled in the Senate

Types of tabled documents

Committee reports are presented by the chairs of committees or by other senators acting on behalf of the chairs.

Documents ordered to be produced by the Senate are usually tabled by ministers to whom the orders are directed, but are occasionally provided to the Clerk who then tables them as contemplated by standing order 164.

Delegated legislation, that is, legislation made by the executive government or a statutory body under the authority of a statute, must be tabled in the Senate within a prescribed time. Delegated legislation includes instruments such as regulations, ordinances, by-laws, determinations, orders and guidelines. These instruments, which may be disallowed by either House of the Parliament, are sent to the Clerk of the Senate, who presents them at a time allocated for the presentation of documents each day. Details of the documents are entered in the Senate Journals. Although the instruments are almost invariably presented by the Clerk, there is nothing to prevent a senator presenting such documents. Procedures relating to delegated legislation are discussed in detail in Chapter 15, Delegated Legislation.

Many other documents are also tabled pursuant to statute. These include the annual reports of departments and statutory authorities and annual reports on the operation of certain statutes. These documents are tabled by a minister and, together with other documents such as reports of government-appointed committees of inquiry, are referred to as ‘government documents’.

Documents presented by the President include reports of the Auditor-General, responses by Australian and foreign governments to resolutions of the Senate and various parliamentary publications, such as the annual report of the Department of the Senate.

An entry is also made in the Journals of the Senate of tabled documents, and this record, which has a wide circulation, supplies a reference to the documents presented to the Senate. An index of tabled documents is also published. (see Supplement)

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