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Thursday, 13 August 2009
Page: 4856


Senator LUDLAM (11:55 AM) —I did not intend to speak on this provision because I believed it would probably fail. Actually, that has been made abundantly clear at this point. It is consistent with the first two amendments that we moved. I have been listening carefully, and I would put to the minister, or Senator Brandis if he feels like he would like to comment: where are these amendments inconsistent in any way with the existing provisions of the Freedom of Information Act that provide that for a number of legitimate reasons documents will be exempt on grounds of national security and so on? I simply do not accept the fact that the amendments that we are moving today will harm or compromise national security or the work that these agencies are doing, and so I am really puzzled as to why the government is running these arguments that we are somehow intent on compromising national security when that is patently not the case. We are not going anywhere near the existing provisions in the act which guarantee that documents which may be germane to national security or similar matters should be exempt.