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Senate Order for the production of indexed lists of departmental and agency files

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In November 1994, the Senate agreed to a motion by Senator Harradine requiring all Australian Government departments and agencies to produce an indexed list of files every six months for tabling before parliament. The production of the list was intended to make the operations of government more transparent to the Australian public.

As part of the government's ongoing commitment to give Australians greater access to relevant government information quickly and easily, the original Senate Order was amended in 1998. The continuing order for indexed lists of departmental and agency files on the Parliament of Australia website now requires departments to list these file lists on their websites.

The lists are tabled twice a year:

  • Spring sitting list files are created in July to December of the previous year.
  • Autumn sitting list files are created in January to June of that year.

The department's indexed list of files

In accordance with the order, the department's list of files does not include files transferred to the National Archives of Australia, files essentially related the internal administration of the department (staff or personnel, accounts, training, or general administrative matters) and case related files (for example personal representation or dealing with the personal affairs of a departmental or agency client).

In addition, the department's lists do not include files with titles that would disclose the deliberations of Cabinet.

In accordance with the order, some information in file titles has been deleted, such as commercially sensitive information, identifiable personal information and any security classified information which is disclosed in or which could reasonably be established from a file title.

In response to the Senate Order requirement that the list be 'indexed', the files are arranged under the names of the current divisions of the department and then by file number.

Attorney-General's Department file lists

If you have difficulty accessing the information provided or need assistance with alternative formats, please contact us.

Portfolio agency file lists

Indexed list of files for the Attorney-General's Department portfolio agencies are available from agency websites as below:

Courts and tribunals

Legal services

Management of government records

National security and law enforcement

Regulation and reform

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and Royal Commissions are exempt from complying with the order.

Departmental files may include approved acronyms and abbreviations for groups or topics currently in use within the department or for division, branch, section and unit names.

How to access departmental records under the FOI Act

Enquiries regarding access to departmental records under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 1982 can be made to the FOI and Privacy Section.