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    7.3 Finalisation of a Bill

    7.3.1 Cabinet approval to introduce a Bill

    The draft Bill must be attached to the Authority to Introduce a Bill submission lodged with the Cabinet Secretariat.

    A template for an Authority to Introduce a Bill submission indicating submission headings and layout appears at Appendix 1. Further information on the preparation of this type of submission including recommendation wording is contained in Chapter 5.1.4 "Authority to Introduce a Bill", Chapter 5.4.1 "Preparation of a Cabinet submission coversheet" and Chapter 5.4.3 "Preparation of a body of a Cabinet submission".

    7.3.2 Explanatory notes

    Departments are required to prepare an explanatory note to accompany the Authority to Introduce a Bill submission. The Legislative Standards Act 1992 sets out the various matters that must be addressed in an explanatory note for a Bill, including consistency with fundamental legislative principles. The explanatory notes should be concise and in plain English.

    Explanatory notes are to be circulated to Members of Parliament at the time of the explanatory speech by the Minister introducing the legislation. Section 22(1) of the Legislative Standards Act 1992 requires the circulation. This will assist Members of Parliament and the general public to understand the objectives behind the legislation.

    Explanatory notes are to be produced as an addendum to the original explanatory notes for amendments during consideration in detail being proposed to a Bill. However, explanatory notes are not required to be produced for amendments where it is impractical to do so or where the amendments are minor in nature, such as renumbering of a clause or the omission or inclusion of inconsequential words.

    Ministers are required to ensure these explanatory notes are circulated with the relevant amendment as soon as possible prior to the commencement of the second reading debate. The explanatory notes should also be tabled at the earliest opportunity but no later than during the Minister's summing up speech prior to the consideration in detail stage of the debate of the Bill.

    Preparation of the explanatory notes by the department ensures that the policy aims of the legislation are properly clarified and understood by the department and are reflected in the final form of the legislation.

    More detailed information on explanatory notes is available in the Guidelines to the preparation of explanatory notes (PDF, 402 KB), the Handy Hints checklist (PDF, 240 KB), and the Queensland Legislation Handbook. Agencies are required to adopt the templates set out in these guidelines to ensure a consistent approach across government.

    7.3.3 Changes to Bills following Cabinet approval

    Once Cabinet has approved introduction of the Bill via consideration of an Authority to Introduce a Bill submission, further development of the content of a Bill cannot be undertaken by the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel unless also authorised by Cabinet. Minor amendments without Cabinet approval may be made to the Bill however, provided that they relate to minor technical or stylistic matters that do not change the intent or context of the Bill as approved previously by Cabinet.

    7.3.4 Announcement of proposed legislation

    Except with the specific agreement of the Premier, no announcement of an intention to introduce legislation should be made until after Cabinet has given Authority to Prepare a Bill approval. Caution should be exercised by Ministers in publicly announcing when legislation is to be introduced into the House. These decisions lie with the Premier, the Leader of the House, Caucus, and the Cabinet as a whole.

    7.3.5 Caucus and Bills Committees

    Caucus and the relevant Bills Committee should be consulted throughout the policy development of any legislation. Caucus must be consulted at both the draft and final Bill stages prior to the legislation being introduced into Parliament.

    7.3.6 Briefings of Members (including the Opposition) of Parliament

    When requested by the Minister, departmental officers are to provide a briefing to Members in relation to Bills before the Legislative Assembly and must be accompanied by a Ministerial officer.

    7.3.7 Late amendments

    Bills Committee and Caucus amendments proposing substantial changes to Bills should normally be submitted to Cabinet. Substantial amendments proposed by opposition parties in the Parliament could be treated similarly if the sponsoring Minister believes that they should be considered or accepted. Where time does not permit this, the sponsoring Minister must clear the proposed amendments with the Premier and the Leader of the House.

    Routine or minor House amendments (initiated by the responsible Minister) may proceed after consultation with the Premier and the Leader of the House.

    Wherever possible, explanatory notes should be produced for any such proposed amendments in order to inform debate in the House. Explanatory notes are not required to be produced for amendments where it is impractical to do so or where the amendments are minor in nature, such as the renumbering of a clause or the omission or inclusion of inconsequential words.

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    Last updated:
    27 July, 2016
    Last reviewed:
    22 January, 2014