by Linda Straker
- Amendment approved for all documents from clerk’s office to be sent via electronic means
- Lower House approved a similar resolution in 2019
- Thousands of dollars expected to be saved sending documents via electronic format
Members of the Senate or Upper House have approved an amendment to its Standings Orders which mandates that all documents for any proceedings from the clerk’s office be sent via electronic means.
The House of Representatives or Lower House approved a similar resolution in 2019 as part of measures under its efficiency strategy to transform the Houses of Parliament into a paperless legislative body.
“These amendments are meant to reduce the paper that we use, to reduce the cost involved in producing these tons of documents and so on; to conserve on the energy that goes into producing all of these documents,” President Chester Humphrey said while informing members about the amendment which was agreed to at a 25 January 2021 meeting of the Standing Orders Committee. “As you know paper comes from trees and we know the consequential effects. It’s a measure meant to conserve nature and is in keeping with the rest of the world today.”
The Standing Orders Committee comprising of Senators Norland Cox and Tessa St Cyr and is chaired by President Humphrey. He informed members that the amendment to the standing orders will be a clear directive to the Clerk of Parliament which will say that “the principal way of distributing documents for any proceedings in the Senate from the clerk’s office be done electronically.”
“This will be the principal way in this age, in the digital age in which we live, the age in which there must be strident attempts to preserve nature,” he said.
Senator Cox who presented the amendment in the form of a resolution said that amendment provides for the Senate to be able to use electronic means for the transmission of documents and also for electronic sittings.
“While the Standing Orders is somewhat silent on this practice, we thought it necessary to have something definitive in the Standing Orders to guide the proceedings as we try to improve our efficiency,” said Cox.
The Offices of the Houses of Parliament are expected to save thousands of dollars by sending documents via electronic format. The only paper documents that will be presented to senators are annual reports of departments and or statutory bodies.