Cabinet Documents

… a core concept in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100

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Concept description

The Government of Queensland (reference below) defines Cabinet documents as “documents that, if disclosed, would reveal any consideration or deliberation of Cabinet, or otherwise prejudice the confidentiality of Cabinet considerations, deliberations or operations.”

The referenced list of examples of Cabinet documents in Queensland is similar to that in most Westminster systems:

  • “submissions, submitted or proposed to be submitted to Cabinet;
  • Cabinet agenda, notice of meetings and business lists for meetings;
  • minutes and decisions of Cabinet;
  • briefing papers prepared for use by Ministers or Chief Executive Officers in relation to matters submitted or proposed to be submitted to Cabinet;
  • documentation and minutes of Cabinet Committee meetings;
  • reports generated by the Cabinet Secretariat or agencies which show Cabinet submissions or proposed Cabinet submissions;
  • corrigenda to Cabinet submissions;
  • reports and attachments to submissions that have been brought into existence for the purpose of submission to Cabinet;
  • legislative proposals, Bills, explanatory notes and Explanatory speeches;
  • correspondence between Ministers and/or the Premier that is submitted to Cabinet or that proposes matters to be raised in Cabinet;
  • consultation comments on first lodgement and final Cabinet documents;
  • reports or studies within or for the Queensland Government that are intended to form the basis of a Cabinet document or an attachment to a Cabinet document;
  • all other minutes, correspondence between Ministers and other material that relate to Cabinet matters, eg. letters seeking waiver of all or part of the Cabinet process or minutes seeking comments on submissions;
  • drafts, copies or extracts of any of the above; and
  • all formats of the above, including hard copy, electronic, or microfilm formats.”
Drafting Cabinet documents

The Privy Council Office in Ottawa produced “A Drafter’s Guide to Cabinet Documents in 2013 (reference below, link to pdf upper right) which:

“provides guidance to public servants on supporting Ministers for their participation in Cabinet and Cabinet committee meetings. This Guide addresses the development of Cabinet documents – Memoranda to Cabinet (MCs), presentations and aide-mémoires – for Cabinet consideration.

“This Guide provides drafters with information on the following topics:

  • drafting requirements for Memoranda to Cabinet, presentations and aide-mémoires;
  • guidance on drafting Cabinet documents on legislation, private members’ bills, and responses to parliamentary reports
  • the processes and timelines for developing and submitting Cabinet documents for Ministers’ consideration; and
  • security requirements for the management of Cabinet documents.”
Atlas topic, subject, and course

Institutional Dynamics within Government (core topic) in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100 Governance and Institutions.


Queensland Government, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Definition of Cabinet documents, at, accessed 26 August 2016.

Privy Council Office, A Drafter’s Guide to Cabinet Documents, at, downloaded to the Atlas at, 26 August 2016.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 26 August 2016.