Advice to government agencies

Requirement for the electronic PPS

Once a document has been tabled in Parliament and published on the department’s/agency’s website the department/agency must notify the Parliament by email that the document is available online.

Emails must be sent to:

The subject field in the email must contain the title of the document. The body of the email must contain a hyperlink to the document and should be set out like the following:

“The following report, [insert report title], tabled on [insert date] is now available on the department’s/agency’s website and can be accessed using the following hyperlink: [insert hyperlink]”.

The name of the department/agency contact person with the details of their telephone and email contacts must also be included in the email.

Printing standards for documents presented to Parliament

Any document presented to Parliament may be included in the Parliamentary Papers Series (PPS). Adherence to these printing standards ensures that a tabled document conforms to the series' standards, with minimal additional cost to author bodies.

Production quality and value for money

Commonwealth Government agencies are expected to obtain value for money in procuring services to publish and print documents. Those responsible for the preparation of parliamentary documents should be aware that excessive or unnecessarily expensive production has, in the past, attracted criticism.

The parliamentary staff listed in the advice section of this document will provide advice on the PPS.

Colour and illustrations

Government policy encourages restraint in the presentation quality of documents, and, whilst restraint does not necessarily preclude colour printing, it has implications for the way in which colour is used.

Report covers may be printed in full colour.

Line drawings, graphs, charts, photographs and other illustrations may be included, provided that they add value to the understanding of subjects discussed in the text.

Black ink is to be used for text and illustrations, however additional colours may be used if essential for the proper understanding of information such as complex maps or diagrams. For most documents, however, black plus one additional colour is sufficient for text.

Whilst not encouraged, more than two colours may be used if this does not significantly increase printing costs and having particular regard to the purpose and audience of the document and also to ensuring that value for money is being achieved. The use of full colour printing should generally be restricted to those documents that fall within Class 3, as detailed below

  • Class 1: Reports that include information (text) only, e.g. returns under bounty Acts or the annual report under the Bankruptcy Act. The production standards are limited to black ink only and no illustrations.
  • Class 2: Reports with a wider readership than Class 1 documents, e.g. reports of most departments and authorities. Higher production standards are acceptable in terms of paper quality. Black and white illustrations and limited use of colour in text are the main features of standards for this class of document.
  • Class 3: Reports of authorities in active competition in the private sector, documents that are also used for marketing or communicating with an audience beyond the Parliament, or where considerations of national prestige are paramount. Production standards are appropriately higher - more expensive paper may be used and colour illustrations are permitted.

Where full colour printing is used, author bodies should be able to demonstrate, if required, the necessity of using full colour. The use of colour that 'bleeds' to the edge of the page is not permitted under any circumstances.


Printed documents prepared for presentation to Parliament must be in the international standard size of B5 (250 mm deep x 176 mm wide). B5L (landscape) and 'Canberra B5' are not permitted. There is no longer a requirement for any to be provided in untrimmed format, all copies must be bound and trimmed and meet the size specification. Failure to adhere to this requirement may result in increased printing costs as agencies will be required to resupply documents in the correct format.

It is not necessary for delegated legislation presented to the Parliament to comply with this requirement.


Paper should be of archival quality. Recycled papers and boards that have been deemed by the National Archives of Australia to be unsuitable for archival requirements should not be used. (Advice on selecting paper is provided in the National Archives Advice Note 30, Which Paper?, October 1998.)

Paper for text and illustrations - Up to 100 gsm coated or uncoated publication paper, A2 paper, or uncoated woodfree general book paper, white only. Expensive A1 quality art and cast-coated papers should be avoided.

Tinted insert paper - (up to 100 gsm) may be used for non-textual material, such as statistical or financial sections in annual reports. In saddle-stapled documents, tinted pages must be arranged to form either a complete wrap-around or an inserted section.

Covers and binding

Up to 250 gsm cover paper or art board. The caliper should not exceed 300 microns. Expensive materials such as cast-coated or metallic boards should be avoided.

Specifications for the binding of any publication presented to Parliament must allow for subsequent rebinding in annual parliamentary papers volumes. Thus loose-leaf binding, side stapling, cleat binding and spiral or plastic comb binding; gate-fold covers and die-cut covers are not permitted.


  • with a text thickness over 5 mm are to be perfect bound, burst bound or section sewn with drawn-on cover;
  • with a text thickness under 5 mm are to be saddle stapled;
  • of four to eight pages should be produced as an eight-page booklet (with blank pages as necessary) and have a separate cover; and
  • of four pages or less (including a cover/title page) should be printed as a self-covered four-page unit.

Tip-ins and inserts

Tip-ins (individual leaves loose or glued into a folded section) should be avoided wherever possible because they slow down production and add to cost. Loose inserts will be omitted from documents included in the Parliamentary Papers series. Maps are to be folded and inserted in a B5 envelope glued to the inside back cover of the document.


When making printing arrangements, author agencies may seek advice on whether the document is likely to be required for the PPS:

agencies whose name commences with A-M Documents Officer
Department of the Senate
(02) 6277 3037
agencies whose name commences with N-Z,
Auditor-General's reports and Budget documents
Documents Manager
Department of the House of Representatives
(02) 6277 4800

As a general guide, if a document was included in the PPS last year, it is likely to be included in future years.

Other responsibilities and costs

If a tabled document is ordered to be printed but is of a quality below that specified for Parliamentary Papers, the production costs involved to address any poor quality aspects will be borne by the author agency.

Author agencies must also bear all costs incurred in the resetting, reformatting, reprinting or binding of documents to be included in the PPS if their document:

  • has not been produced in accordance with the standards; and
  • has not been provided to the Parliament's distribution agent in a timely fashion.


An author body finding errors or omissions or needing to notify corrections in its tabled document, should prepare and arrange corrigenda or errata slips in accordance with instructions issued by the Tabling Officer, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. (Refer to the Guidelines for presentation of ministerial statements, reports and government responses to the Parliament.)

For advice on the provision of slips for documents in the Parliamentary Paper series, author bodies should contact the parliamentary staff listed in the advice section.