ACT Legislative Assembly

Chapter 19

Papers and Documents

This chapter sets out theprocedures relating to the presentation of papers and quoting of documents inthe Assembly.

Papers presented

211. Papers may be presented to the Assembly by a Minister or the Speaker.

Papers and documents may be inspected and copied

212. All papers and documents presented to the Assembly and not authorised for publication may be made available to Members and, with the permission of the Speaker, may be inspected by other persons or copies may be made unless otherwise ordered. (Amended 6 March 2008)

Publication of certain documents authorised

212A. Unless otherwise ordered, the following papers are authorised for publication when presented to the Assembly:

  1. (a) papers presented by the Speaker;

  2. (b) reports and discussion papers of standing or select committees of the Assembly;

  3. (c) papers presented pursuant to standing orders or resolutions of the Assembly;

  4. (d) papers presented pursuant to statute; and

  5. (e) papers presented by Ministers. (Inserted 6 March 2008. Amended 26 August 2010, 4 June 2015)

Quoting documents

213. A document quoted from by a Member maybe ordered by the Assembly to be presented; the order may be made without notice immediately upon the conclusion of the speech of the Member who has quoted from the document.

Order for the production of documents held by the Executive


  1. (1) A Member may lodge a notice of motion seeking the Assembly to order a document or documents to be tabled in the Assembly. If agreed to, the Clerk is to communicate to the Chief Minister’s Directorate all orders for a document or documents made by the Assembly.

  2. (2) When returned, the document or documents (where no claim of privilege is made by the Chief Minister) will be laid on the Table by the Clerk.

  3. (3) A return under this order is to include an indexed list of all documents tabled, showing the date of creation of the document or documents, a description of the document or documents and the author of the document or documents.

  4. (4) If at the time the document or documents are required to be tabled the Assembly is not sitting, the document or documents may be lodged with the Clerk, and unless privilege is claimed, are deemed to have been presented to the Assembly and authorised for publication with the Clerk circulating the document or documents to all Members as soon as practicable.

  5. (5) Where a document or documents is considered by the Chief Minister to be privileged, a return is to be prepared showing the date of creation of the document, a description of the document, the author of the document and reasons for the claim of privilege.

  6. (6) Where the Assembly requires a document or documents to be returned, either the document or documents requested or a claim of privilege must be given to the Clerk within 14 calendar days of the date of the order by the Assembly.

  7. (7) Any Member may, by communication in writing to the Clerk, dispute the validity of the claim of privilege in relation to a particular document or documents within seven calendar days of the receipt of the claim of privilege. On receipt of such communication, the Clerk will advise the Chief Minister’s Directorate, who will provide to the Clerk, within seven calendar days of receipt of the dispute of validity claim, copies of the disputed document or documents. The Clerk is authorised to provide the disputed document or documents to an independent legal arbiter as soon as practicable, for evaluation and report within 10 calendar days as to the validity of the claim.

  8. (8) The Clerk is also authorised to provide to the independent legal arbiter and to all Members, submissions from any Member in relation to the claim of privilege.

  9. (9) The independent legal arbiter is to be appointed by the Speaker and must be a retired Supreme Court, Federal Court or High Court Judge.

  10. (10) A report from the independent legal arbiter is to be lodged with the Clerk and:

    1. (a) made available only to Members of the Assembly; and

    2. (b) not published or copied without an order of the Assembly.

  11. (11) If the independent legal arbiter upholds the claim of privilege, the Clerk shall return the document or documents to the Chief Minister’s Directorate.

  12. (12) If the independent legal arbiter does not uphold the claim of privilege, the Clerk will table the document or documents that has been the subject of the claim of privilege. In the event that the Assembly is not sitting, the Clerk is authorised to provide the document or documents to any Member upon request, however, the document or documents do not attract absolute privilege until tabled by the Clerk at the next sitting of the Assembly.

  13. (13) Other persons requesting to examine the document or documents may do so with the Clerk maintaining a register showing the name of any person examining the document or documents tabled under this order. (Temporary order adopted 12 February 2009. Adopted 22 March 2012. Amended 21 September 2017)

Motion to take note or refer to a committee

214. On any paper being presented to the Assembly as provided in this chapter, a Minister may move without notice eitherof the following motions:

  1. (a) that the Assembly takes note of the paper; or

  2. (b) that the paper be referred to a committee for inquiry and report:

provided that, if such a motion is not moved at the time of the presentation of the paper, it may be moved subsequently, on notice or by leave.


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Page last updated on 16 May 2018
2015 Legislative Assembly for the ACT