government recordkeeping
linc logo

Recordkeeping Advice No. 15

Transfer and Provision of Access to Cabinet Records

Issued: 26 September 2005

Recordkeeping Advices issued by the State Archivist provide advice on the management of records of State and local government organisations and support or explain recordkeeping requirements set out in formal State records guidelines.

This advice summarises the procedures developed by the Archives Office of Tasmania and the Cabinet Office to manage the transfer of Cabinet records to the Archives Office and the provision of access to Cabinet records following transfer.

Ian Pearce
State Archivist

Cabinet documents include records that are circulated by the Cabinet Office of the Department of Premier and Cabinet and documents circulated by other agencies responsible for the administration of cabinet committees.

Cabinet documents are defined as:

  • official records, or copies of records of deliberations or decisions of the Cabinet
  • records, or copies of records, proposed by a Minister for the purpose of being submitted to the Cabinet for consideration
  • records containing information about a deliberation or decision of the Cabinet

Transfer to the Archives Office

Cabinet records are managed by the Cabinet Office in the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The Cabinet Office ensures that one complete set of Cabinet records and Cabinet Office working papers are retained for transfer to the Archives Office, usually after each State election if there has been a change of government.

Duplicate copies will be retrieved by the Cabinet Office from Ministerial offices and other locations as part of this process or destroyed by Ministerial office staff who will advise the Cabinet Office of this. These duplicate records have been authorised for destruction by the State Archivist. The destruction of these records is arranged by the Cabinet Office or the relevant Ministerial office.

If it is considered appropriate by the Cabinet Office some records identified for retention may also be transferred to the Archives Office if there has not been a change of government

Access to Cabinet records transferred to the Archives Office

Public access to Cabinet records held in the Archives Office is restricted until the records are 25 years old (Archives Act 1983 s. 15)

Successive Tasmanian Governments have adopted the convention that Cabinet documents (like Ministerial records) are confidential to the government which created them.

Requests for access within the 25 year period are dealt with in the following way 

  • Requests for access to Cabinet records less than 25 years old should be directed to the Secretary, Department of Premier and Cabinet.
  • Access to archived Cabinet papers is not granted without the approval of the person who was Premier at the time that the record was created.
  • If the person who was Premier at the time is dead or not legally capable then the approval would be sought from the current leader of the appropriate political party which formed the government at the time.
  • If access is approved and records are to be made available at the Archives Office, the Secretary, Department of Premier and Cabinet will advise the State Archivist in writing. If access is at the Cabinet Office the records will be retrieved according to normal Archives Office processes.

For more information contact the Archives Office.