During challenging times, it is more important than ever for the Legislative Council to maintain one of its key functions of scrutinising the Executive Government. As our readers are aware, our members routinely use the well-established order for papers process to assist them in this role.
In this space it’s been business as usual in the Council, with the following orders for papers agreed to so far in 2020:
- Floodplain harvesting
- Scope 3 Emissions or downstream emissions
- Transport Asbestos Registers – Further Order
- Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link Business Cases – Further order
- Documents prepared by Monash University in relation to road safety
- List of current TAFE courses
- Biodiversity assessment of the proposal to raise the Warragamba Dam wall
- Payroll tax compliance
- Proposal for a cruise ship terminal at Yarra Bay
- Operator of the Maules Creek coal mine and biodiversity offsets
- Liddell Taskforce report and related papers
- Payroll tax compliance – Further order
The returns to these orders have been received by the Legislative Council throughout March and April, and as always there has been a great deal of interest in viewing the papers. Council members have been visiting the Clerk’s Office to inspect the privileged papers (confidential papers that only Council members may view), and our Procedure Office has assisted a range of interested parties to view the public papers.
The Procedure Office has always managed the viewing process, and has recently implemented additional policies to ensure the health and safety of those visiting our office. It is more important than ever to make and keep to appointment times. Larger returns are located in an open space in the office to ensure that members’ staff and departmental staff can practise appropriate social distancing. The Department of Parliamentary Services have been incredibly supportive, helping the Procedure Office manage our physical space and providing plenty of hand sanitizer so that we can maintain “business as usual” in a safe and responsible manner.
Though Parliament House is currently closed to the public, we are doing our best to accommodate members of the public escorted by a pass holder, either by special appointment, or where possible by forwarding documents electronically.
We are sure to see more orders for papers agreed to by the Council throughout 2020 and we are pleased to do our part in contributing to this vital work of the Legislative Council.