Australia

Senate

Political system
Parliamentary system
Structure of parliament
Bicameral
IPU membership
Yes

Openness and transparency

Information about access to parliamentary documents, parliament’s reporting to the public, parliament’s relation to Freedom of Information laws, and lobbying.

Parliamentary documents

The agendas of plenary meetings are published online in advance
All
The agendas of committee meetings are published online in advance
None
Results of votes on draft legislation are published on the parliamentary web site
All
Draft legislation is published on the parliamentary website
All
Citizens can submit comments on draft legislation on the parliamentary web site
No

Annual reporting by parliament

Parliament publishes an annual report on its activities
Yes
The annual report is available on the parliamentary web site
Yes
Parliament publishes the parliamentary budget
Yes
Level of detail of the parliamentary budget made available to the public
The complete budget
The parliamentary budget is available on the parliamentary web site
Yes

Access to parliament

Plenary meetings are open to the public
Yes

Notes:

Access to the public galleries may be restricted during some occasions, including the opening of Parliament, the presentation of Budget and Budget-in-reply speeches, and speeches by visiting dignitaries, for security reasons or so that seating can be allocated to special guests.

Due to COVID-19, plenary meetings were closed to the public for a period during 2021, but remained accessible online.

Committee meetings are open to the public
No

Notes: Committees basically hold two types of meetings: private deliberative meetings which are not open to the public, and public hearings which are open to the public. In addition to the above comments, public hearings are sometimes heard in camera (privately) after the committee has weighed up the benefits of a public hearing against the risk of damage or detriment resulting from public evidence. A public hearing might, for example, cause prejudice to court proceedings. There are a range of other reasons for receiving evidence in private.

There is a dedicated channel for broadcasting parliamentary meetings
Yes
Media used for the dedicated channel
Radio
Webcast
Meetings broadcast on the dedicated channel
Plenary sittings
Committee meetings

Freedom of information

There is a freedom of information law in the country
Yes
Parliament is subject to the freedom of information law
No
Parliament has an office/division dedicated to FOI requests
No information available
Categories of Information that are exempt from disclosure

Section 46(c) of the FOI Act provides that a document is exempt if its public disclosure would…infringe the privileges of the Parliament of the Commonwealth. This section of the Act is concerned with circumstances where information provided to a House or committee of Parliament has been disclosed without authority, or where disclosure otherwise improperly interferes with a member of Parliament’s free performance of his or her duties as a member. Publication contrary to rules and orders of the Parliament that restrict publication (such as House of Representatives Standing Order 242, or Senate Standing Order 37, or s.13 of the Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987) may amount to an infringement of parliamentary privilege. For further reading, see ch.19, House of Representatives Practice.

Lobbying

There are rules about the activities of lobbyists in parliament
There is a register of accredited lobbyists
Yes
The register of accredited lobbyists is available on the parliamentary web site
No

Historical data for IPU membership

Historical data for IPU membership
Year IPU membership
2020-09
List of values for 2020-09
No
2019-04
List of values for 2019-04
No
2018-06
List of values for 2018-06
No