ExCo instruments

Under the Legal Services Directions, the drafting of legislative instruments made by the Governor-General (ExCo instruments) is tied to OPC. These instruments must therefore be drafted by OPC. The order in which instruments are drafted is governed by OPC’s ExCo instruments program.

How does the ExCo instruments program work?

Before each Parliamentary sittings period, First Parliamentary Counsel seeks bids from departments for ExCo bids to be drafted in the upcoming Parliamentary sittings period. For this purpose, the Autumn drafting period runs from 1 January to 30 April, the Winter drafting period runs from 1 May to 31 July, and the Spring drafting period runs from 1 August to 31 December (these sittings periods are slightly different to the Bill sittings periods, which are based on the actual Parliamentary sittings). The ExCo Secretariat sends out an Executive Council Circular advising Departmental Legislation Liaison Officers and Executive Council Liaison Officers of the deadlines for these bids to be submitted.

Bids should be emailed to OPC to instrument.instructions [at] opc.gov.au.

Bids are considered by OPC and a program for the drafting of ExCo instruments for a particular Parliamentary sittings period is then developed.

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What is, and is not, covered by the ExCo instruments program?

The ExCo instruments program only relates to legislative instruments that are submitted to the Federal Executive Council for making by the Governor-General. These instruments include regulations, commencement Proclamations and Ordinances of the external Territories and Jervis Bay Territory.

The program does not affect OPC’s other drafting services such as the drafting of Court Rules or untied work. Agencies can still engage OPC for untied instruments on a fee-for-service basis, outside the ExCo instruments program. Although made by the Governor-General, commencement Proclamations are also not included in the program, and OPC is available to draft these on an as-needed basis.

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