[LINK] e-Tabling Documents for Australian Parliament

Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Sun Jul 29 09:24:47 AEST 2012

This is to propose that the Australian Parliament change its procedures 
to allow the tabling of electronic, rather than paper, documents. This 
will reduce cost and resource use, as well as improve the readability of 
the documents.

Currently the Parliament forces a wasteful duplication on agencies, 
which are required to prepare documents on paper for tabling, along with 
an electronic version for the public after tabling. Most of the paper 
copies printed are probably never opened, let alone read. Also, because 
the Parliament requires the electronic version to closely match the 
paper edition, the design of the electronic version cannot be optimized 
for on-line viewing.

I suggest the priority be reversed, with the agencies producing an 
electronic document, which is also suitable for printing. This will 
allow the design to be optimised for on-line viewing. The printed 
document will not look as well laid out as one specifically designed for 
print, but will be usable.

Converting to electronic tabling would require a few small changes to 
the wording of procedures. The "Guidelines for the Presentation of 
Documents to the Parliament" could be changed slightly to remove mention 
of "printing":

     "... Documents should be printed created in accordance with 
standards prepared by the Joint Publications Committee ..." 

The Parliamentary Papers Series (PPS) procedures require 100 copies of 
documents to be delivered to a location in Canberra for distribution. 
These complex and expensive procedures could be replaced with a simpler 
procedure, where one electronic copy of the document is delivered to 
parliament and distributed via the parliamentary web site. 

Tom Worthington FACS CP, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards

Adjunct Lecturer, Research School of Computer Science,
Australian National University http://cs.anu.edu.au/courses/COMP7310/

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