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    6.3 Discussion (Green) Papers and Policy (White) Papers

    Ministers are to seek the approval of the Premier, in writing, prior to the commissioning of work leading to a public discussion paper or to a major policy review. There is to be no public announcement before consideration by Cabinet. The Minister should provide the Premier with details of the rationale for preparing the paper; how it relates to Government priorities, the nature of options likely to be considered and whether it is intended to consult with other portfolios. If consultation with other portfolios is intended, the Minister should advise the Premier which portfolios will be involved.

    Discussion Papers (Green) are prepared at the direction of a Minister. The preparation and publication of a Discussion Paper is clearly understood to be for the purposes of public discussion and comment. Discussion Papers do not commit the government or a Minister either to the views expressed or to a particular direction for future action. A statement to this effect must be included as a foreword to all Discussion Papers, and "Discussion Paper Only" should be printed on the centre top of each page.

    Policy Papers (White) are papers or reports which embody a statement of government policy on a topic of significance. Policy Papers are to be presented as a Cabinet submission with security classification based on the sensitivity of the document. They are prepared at the direction of a Minister, approved by Cabinet and express a clear government policy framework.

    The submissions to cabinet proposing approval of circulation of the papers should include the rationale for the policy discussion or policy initiative, the strategy for consultation, the public availability of any technical or consultants' reports arising from the study and a timetable for the publication and release of the reports.

    Discussion and Policy Papers should be tabled in Parliament after being cleared by Cabinet. Departments should consult with the Bills and Papers Office at Parliament House on the appropriate number of copies for distribution to the Parliament.

    Discussion and Policy Papers should be widely distributed to achieve the desired level of information dissemination, public discussion and comment. They should normally be distributed to all areas of government, the Judiciary (where appropriate), academic and other relevant parties (eg. employer and employee groups, community and special interest groups, professional organisations).

    It is crucial that Cabinet be advised candidly and succinctly on the result of a Discussion or Policy Paper consultation process. This should include quantitative assessment of support or otherwise for the proposal, as well as qualitative judgments of submissions received. Ministers and Chief Executive Officers should adopt the use of Discussion and Policy Papers for the formulation of policy matters wherever necessary.

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    Last updated:
    18 May, 2016
    Last reviewed:
    17 July, 2009