Wake up, eat breakfast, make coffee (very important) and have a read of the morning news while I adjust to being awake. Mornings are a scourge and should be stopped.
Pack my bag with lunch, clothes for the day and a towel. Put on my #ActiveWear and get my bike out of the shed.
Start cycling to work – I’m off a bit early this morning, not bad!
Arrived at work (in a sweaty mess), run down to the change rooms, grab my things out of my locker, shower and get dressed for work. The change rooms are busy today and I chat with some colleagues as we get ready. Then I head upstairs to start the day.
Check my emails and have a quick scan of the media briefing to see if anything I’m working on is in the news today. There’s nothing in my calendar for today – but as it’s a sitting week, that doesn’t mean a thing!
Exhibit A - the Government wishes to move parliamentary amendments to a Treasury Bill that is scheduled to be introduced in the Senate tomorrow. The Treasurer’s office has asked Treasury to review the amendments. Although my team is familiar with the part of the law the Government wants to amend, we need to get into the detail really quickly. My manager asks me for a summary of what the existing law does so we can better understand how the proposed amendments work.
I spend the next hour closely reading the relevant law and making a summary of how each provision works. I send that off to my manager.
In the meantime, my colleague has contacted the policy team that looks after this particular issue, as they might recommend that the Government produce its own amendments. Then, it will be up to the Government to seek support for those amendments.
That means my team needs to instruct the Office of Parliamentary Counsel to draft the actual amendments to the Bill.
My manager has rung the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel to ask if they have any drafters available to urgently turn around the amendments today. Luckily they do, but they would like the drafting instructions as soon as possible (preferably in the next hour or so). Time to get to work!
My colleague and I split the work for the drafting instructions, get them done and forward them to the drafter. Writing drafting instructions is part of the process of turning policy into law. We work closely with the policy team to understand exactly what outcome the Minister wants to achieve. Then we come up with a design for the law that best achieves that outcome and reduces it to a clear set of instructions for the OPC. The instructions should explain how the existing law operates, what each proposed amendment should do and the consequences of changing the law in that way.
A conference call with the drafter to answer his questions about our instructions and the amendments generally.
A quick break for lunch and a walk in the park outside.
While we wait for the first draft of the amendments, I finish working on an explanatory statement for a minor change in the tax regulations.
The first draft of the amendments arrives and we forward it to the policy team. My manager asks me to get started on the supplementary explanatory memorandum for the amendments once I’ve read the draft. This is a document that has to be provided for all new Bills and amendments to Bills that are introduced into Parliament. It sets out how the new law is different from the current law and goes through line by line exactly how the amendments work and what they do. It also has to explain how the amendment is compatible with human rights
We have a meeting with the policy team to discuss the amendments and answer any technical questions they have. As a result, the policy team request a couple of changes to the amendments, so we ring our drafter to give him a heads-up, then send him our further drafting instructions.
The next few hours are similar back-and-forth as the amendments keep getting re-drafted and revised. As we get a new draft, I update the explanatory memorandum with the latest changes to make sure it’s all consistent and ready to send up to the Treasurer’s office as soon as the policy team is ready.
Happy days – Policy is ready to finalise the amendments. We send the final amendments to the policy team along with the explanatory material I prepared during the afternoon. Then, they send up a brief to the office explaining the amendments, along with a letter to the Prime Minister for the Treasurer to sign seeking final policy approval to introduce the amendments into the Senate tomorrow.
Pack up, collect my stuff from my locker and ride home to make dinner and watch Netflix.