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Wednesday, 13 November 2002
Page: 6296


Senator BARNETT (9:22 PM) —I support the view that has been expressed by a number of senators in this place that we need an open and transparent process and that what we are looking for is public access to the review and the report and its recommendations. I note where the minister is coming from with respect to clause 25(5), and that is indeed appropriate. It makes sense that, if recommendations flow through, they will need to be brought to both houses of the federal parliament. The amendment foreshadowed by Senator Murphy is really along the lines of seeking that the review and the report and its recommendations be tabled in both houses of the federal parliament.

One way to potentially avoid undue delay in the debate tonight would be for the minister to take advice as to whether an undertaking can be made on behalf of the federal government that the report and its recommendations will be tabled in both houses of the federal parliament. This would avoid the process of debating this foreshadowed amendment and whether the wording is correct or whether there needs to be a slight variation at the end of subclause (3) by adding words along the lines of `and table such review in both houses of the federal parliament'. That can be decided shortly.

We are really talking about having public access to the entire report and its recommendations because we want to avoid the release of selective parts of the report for the various purposes and different agendas of the different state governments or state premiers. We want to avoid this sort of thing so that there is public access to this type of information. We have had a whole debate in the last few hours about this matter. I wonder whether further advice could be obtained and sought from different places in this parliament to see if an undertaking could be provided on behalf of the federal government that the report and its recommendations will be so tabled at the time it is completed and is given to the Council of Australian Governments. That would be very helpful.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Lightfoot)—The question is that the amendment moved by Senator Harradine be agreed to.

Question negatived.