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Wednesday, 13 June 1984
Page: 2976


Senator PETER RAE(10.30) —I thank the Committee. I just want to take the point that under the new principles of statutory interpretation, I am delighted that the Attorney-General (Senator Gareth Evans) has given the explanation that he has given. I emphasise the point that that explanation has been given: That only in the most exceptional circumstances would the provisions objected to be relied upon, and that, in other words, the onus of proof would be very strongly on those who are endeavouring to prevent the information being made available. I well recall the debates at a time when I was chairman of an Estimates committee, when Senator Gareth Evans was an enthusiastic member of that committee and the present shadow Attorney-General was the Minister in charge of the debates which took place about the release of this information. It is important that this information should be available unless there are the most exceptional circumstances to the contrary. I am delighted to know that the Attorney-General agrees that only in the most exceptional circumstances would the information not be available.