On 30 May 1996 the Senate agreed to a motion requiring each Minister to table an indexed list of files created in the central office of their departments or agencies. The lists for each half of the year are tabled in the Autumn and Spring sittings of the Senate.

The order is designed to make the Freedom of Information Act (FOI Act) more genuinely workable by allowing Parliamentarians and the public to know what information exists. It also makes coordination within the bureaucracy easier as well as ensuring that both Ministers and Parliamentarians can get a real benefit out of the expenditure on information technology being undertaken by Commonwealth departments.