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Thursday, 14 June 1984
Page: 3052

Senator TATE —Mr Acting Deputy President, I seek leave to make a short statement correcting an unfortunate error in the report of the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs entitled 'Freedom of Information Act 1982-Annual Report by the Attorney-General on the operation of the act for the period 1 December 1982 to 30 June 1983'.

Leave granted.

Senator TATE —The Committee's report was tabled in the Senate last Wednesday, 6 June. At paragraph 5.7 on page 10 of the report the following statement appears:

It is interesting, though, that six of the seven conclusive certificates granted by the Attorney-General have been for 'internal working documents'.

This sentence is incorrect in stating that conclusive certificates have been granted by the Attorney-General. In fact, the Attorney-General has granted no conclusive certificates under the Act and the seven conclusive certificates referred to were granted in one case by a Minister in the previous Government and, in the remaining six cases, by principal officers of agencies. It is a matter for regret that this error occurred in the Committee's report. The Committee is aware of the Attorney-General's personal view-I certainly am having served with him on the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs when it drew up its report on the freedom of information proposal-that the granting of a conclusive certificate under the relevant provisions of the Freedom of Information Act should be avoided if at all possible. The Committee hopes that he has not been unduly embarrassed by the error in our report.