Guidelines for Departments and Agencies

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All answers to Questions on Notice are to be delivered to the Clerk of the Senate through the Senate Table Office (Suite SG-25).

The Senate Table Office requires 3 hard copies of each answer to be sent with an accompanying cover letter.

The cover letter should state the Question on Notice number and that the answer has been approved by the appropriate minister, and must contain an original signature.

These documents should be delivered to:

Assistant Journals and Notice Paper Officer
Senate Table Office
Department of the Senate
Suite SG-25
Parliament House

In addition, an identical electronic copy should be sent to:

Answers to Questions on Notice must be relevant to the question and should be provided within 30 calendar days. Failure to do so may result in the senator who sought the information asking, at the conclusion of question time, for an explanation as to why the answer has not been provided (Standing Order 74(5)).


Distribution of Answers

Once answers have been processed and cleared for distribution, copies are supplied by the Senate Table Office to:

  • The Senator who asked the Question on Notice
  • Hansard

Details of the answer are also incorporated into a Questions on Notice database.


Procedure for Transferring Questions on Notice

  • Between departments

Arrangements to transfer a Question on Notice between portfolios need to be agreed to between the relevant departments. Once the transfer has been arranged, the accepting department must verify the transfer with the Senate Table Office via e-mail to:

  • Within departments

If a transfer is made between portfolios within the same department, the Senate Table Office must be advised of the transfer via e-mail with notification of which Minister will be answering the Question on Notice.

  • Upon notice of the transfer, the Assistant Journals and Notice Paper Officer will record the relevant details and the senator who asked the Question on Notice is then notified of the transfer by e-mail.
  • Details of transfers will be published in the next online Notice Paper if the Question still remains unanswered.
  • When Questions on Notice are transferred collectively to one minister on behalf of other ministers, all the Question on Notice numbers must be listed at the start of the answer. This type of transfer only applies where the Questions on Notice and their answers are identical.

Note: The Senate Table Office must receive immediate notification when intra-portfolio and inter-portfolio transfers of Questions on Notice are arranged. This is to ensure that the Notice Paper reflects the updated information as soon as possible.



Where an answer contains a long attachment, it should be stated in the answer that the attachment is available from the Senate Table Office. The attachment will be provided to the senator who asked the Question on Notice, but will generally not be printed in Hansard to save resources.



For any further information, contact the Questions Officer, Senate Table Office, SG 25, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600.

Telephone: (02) 6277 3014