Chapter 12 : House Documents
Chapter 12: House Documents
The following is a short description of a number of documents relating to proceedings of the Parliament. Except where noted, a proof issue of each of these documents is published on the Parliament’s Intranet and website www.parliament.nsw.gov.au under the “Hansard & Papers” section as soon as possible after the rising of the House. Hard copies of some of these publications are also accessible through the State Library, university libraries and various other libraries and organisations.
Votes and Proceedings
The Votes and Proceedings is the official record of the proceedings in the Legislative Assembly. They are the “minutes of proceedings” of the House, i.e. they record the resolutions of the House and other events, as opposed to a transcript of proceedings. The Votes include a record of the proceedings of the Consideration in Detail stage, which can also be found in Hansard.
The Business Paper shows all pending business, both government and general (non-government) that is before the House and is usually divided into the following sections:
- Government Business – Notices of Motions;
- Government Business – Orders of the Day;
- General Business – Notices of Motions (for Bills);
- General Business – Orders of the Day (for Bills);
- General Business – Orders of the Day (General Orders);
- General Business – Notices of Motions (General Notices);
- Orders of the Day (Committee Reports);
- Petitions signed by 500 or more persons requiring a ministerial response; and
- Committee reports with recommendations requiring a response from the Government.
Other categories of business that may be listed on the Business Paper from time to time include:
- Business with precedence (S.O. 118) e.g. no confidence and censure motions, and disallowance of statutory rules;
- Business of the House – Petitions: Order of the Day for discussion of petitions received by the House which have been signed by 10,000 or more persons; and
- General Business – Mover’s interrupted second reading speech.
Items are listed according to the order in which they are notified to the House. Accordingly, new notices and orders appear at the end of the listing, unless they are given special precedence. Items marked † are bills forwarded form the Legislative Council, those marked * are accorded precedence and those marked P are postponed for the next sitting day only. For information about what items will be dealt with by the House on any given day, refer to the Daily Program.
Questions and Answers Paper
Questions which Members of the Legislative Assembly wish to put to Ministers on notice (i.e. written questions), together with the answers when they are received, are recorded in the official publication titled “Questions and Answers”. Members’ questions are published in full when the notice is given and once again when the answer is received. The Questions and Answers Paper is published each sitting day, and during any adjournment of the House for two weeks or more a paper is published from time to time containing answers received. In addition, a final edition (containing all the unanswered questions) is published after the House is prorogued.
A daily program is issued by the Government for each sitting day and provides a listing of the proposed items of business to be dealt with on that day. The program is indicative only and items listed will not necessarily be dealt with in the order given. The program for general business shows the general business that the House has agreed to deal with. The program can be found on the Intranet or the Parliament’s website under the “Today in Parliament” section.
Statutory Instruments Paper
This document is published by the Legislative Assembly Table Office for the information of Members on each sitting week and on the first week of each month when the House is not sitting. The document provides the title of the statutory instrument, gazettal details and information on the tabling date and last date for lodgement of a disallowance motion.
Hansard is an edited record of everything said in both Houses of Parliament, similar to a transcript. A team of reporting staff and editors compile a draft version overnight, and it is available either later that night or in the morning following the sitting of the respective House. Members may make suggestions for corrections to their speeches. For those speeches made on Tuesdays and Wednesdays suggested corrections must be submitted by 4.00 p.m. on Thursday and for speeches delivered on Thursday by 12.00 noon on the following Monday. The Editor of Debates considers the requested changes prior to publication of the corrected Hansard, which usually happens within 2 weeks.
Corrections to Hansard should only relate to inaccuracies and new matters cannot be introduced.
There is no provision for the Speaker to order a reference to be struck from the Parliamentary record or to alter the Hansard record. Should a Member wish to expunge words from Hansard (i.e. have some material removed) a resolution of the House rightly needs to be agreed to and the matter to be removed generally needs to be of an offensive nature.
Material may be incorporated in Hansard with the leave of the Speaker (S.O. 271). Leave is rarely given. However, the types of material that have been incorporated in Hansard in the past include:
- second reading speeches;
- sketch diagrams;
- statutory declarations;
- explanations of a bill;
- agreements between Members; and
- additional or background information on a bill.
Speakers’ rulings have indicated that the following types of material will not be incorporated into Hansard:
- graphs; and
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