44 Custody of records
The custody of the Journals, records and all documents laid before the Senate shall be in the Clerk, and they shall not be taken from the chamber or Senate offices without the permission of the Senate.
Adopted: 19 August 1903 as SO 40
1989 revision: Old SO 41 renumbered as SO 44; expression streamlined and language modernised
All documents tabled in the Senate are in the custody of the Clerk and are stored in the basement of Parliament House after being microfilmed
All original records and tabled documents are stored in Parliament House in a secure collection that grows exponentially. In a long running project, originally conceived as a Centenary of Federation project, all tabled papers from 1901 were microfilmed. Work is currently being undertaken to digitise these records with the aim of making images of tabled papers accessible through the internet. Notwithstanding the technological revolution, business is still transacted in the Senate using paper documentation, and the need to store and conserve paper will exist for the foreseeable future. The volume of material to be stored will also exceed storage capacity in Parliament House.
In response to this situation, the Procedure Committee examined the storage of tabled papers in its First Report of 2005 (PP No. 225/2005). The committee noted that the storage and availability of documents in digital form or microfilm would have no adverse impact on their accessibility and therefore recommended that the Senate authorise the storage of documents by the National Archives of Australia, provided that storage remained under the control of the Senate Department and that microfilm copies were available in Parliament House. A resolution to this effect was agreed to on 6 October 2005.