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    3.7 Other relevant matters

    3.7.1 Consultation - draft stage

    Timing of consultation drafts should be discussed early in the drafting process. OQPC can insert watermarks into a draft indicating it is, for example, a ‘working draft’ or ‘consultation draft’. A draft Bill’s cover page, containing information about the drafter and instructing officer and other information, must be removed before the draft Bill is circulated outside the government. Also, the cover page should be removed before a draft Bill is attached to a Cabinet submission.

    Other government departments should be consulted about draft legislation if:

    • the legislation makes consequential amendments to the other department’s legislation
    • the Authority to Prepare a Bill approval expressly requires the consultation
    • consultation is necessary to comply with the consultation requirements outlined in The Queensland Cabinet Handbook.

    The Queensland Cabinet Handbook deals with consultation with persons or organisations external to government (including employers, unions, community groups and special interest groups) as well as with government departments.

    3.7.2 Explanatory notes

    The department (usually the instructing officer) is responsible for preparing accompanying documents required for the introduction of a Bill, such as the explanatory notes and the Minister’s parliamentary explanatory speech.

    Under the Legislative Standards Act 1992, section 22, a Minister who presents a government Bill to the Legislative Assembly must circulate to members explanatory notes for the Bill. Section 23 of that Act sets out the information that must be included in the explanatory notes. Current practice is for the explanatory notes to accompany the Bill on its introduction to Parliament. The Queensland Cabinet Handbook requires the explanatory notes to accompany the Authority to Introduce a Bill submission.

    The instructing officer should start preparing the explanatory notes in sufficient time to ensure the notes are ready in final form when required. Explanatory notes should explain the legislation and not merely repeat or paraphrase its provisions. The instructing officer should exercise considerable care in preparing explanatory notes because they may be used by courts to assist in the interpretation of legislation (Acts Interpretation Act 1954, section 14B).

    Well-reasoned and comprehensive explanatory notes can also help the portfolio committee examining the legislation to reach a better-informed judgment about issues concerning the policy the Bill is giving effect to, the application of fundamental legislative principles and sufficiency of the explanatory notes.

    More detailed information on explanatory notes is available in the Guidelines to the preparation of explanatory notes. Agencies are required to adopt the templates set out in those guidelines to ensure a consistent approach across government.

    3.7.3 Cabinet time requirements

    The instructing officer is also responsible for observing all relevant Cabinet time requirements. These are dealt with in The Queensland Cabinet Handbook.

    3.7.4 Drafting private members' Bills

    Under the Legislative Standards Act 1992, section 10, opposition or independent members can ask OQPC to draft Bills or amendments. Their communications with OQPC are subject to legal professional privilege – see the Legislative Standards Act 1992, section 9A.

    While the matters outlined in this chapter have been directed towards Bills originating in government departments, the substance of the information also applies to private members’ Bills. In particular, the instructing member can expect OQPC to provide advice on fundamental legislative principles and, if applicable, advice on achieving policy objectives by alternative means. Again, clear and comprehensive drafting instructions will help the drafter prepare quality legislation in the shortest possible time.

    The document called ‘Information for Private Members about having Bills and Amendments drafted’ (available on the Parliament House intranet site) may assist private members and their staff in preparing drafting instructions. The Chamber and Procedures Office at Parliament House can help members locate this document. The Chamber and Procedures Office’s contact details are available on the Parliament House intranet site.

    Drafting instructions template—private member’s Bill

    An electronic annotated template for drafting instructions for a private member’s Bill is available on Govnet. Use of the template will assist with preparing effective drafting instructions but is not compulsory.

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    Last updated:
    13 November, 2013
    Last reviewed:
    13 November, 2013