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Friday, 15 November 2002
Page: 6526

Senator MURRAY (1:56 PM) —I was not going to rise, but I thought that was outrageous. I really do not think, on an issue of accountability and public interest, that the motives of the opposition should be impugned in that manner. Frankly, Minister, the government has a precedent that if there are sensitive items within a document they are simply blacked out and the Senate is informed of the reason for doing so. You could exclude those portions that you regard as being sensitive or that would be inopportune to release at this time. Perhaps you were just having some debating fun, but I would prefer, on issues of accountability and public interest, to always have those sorts of things made public. If you are unwilling to do so at this stage, there might be an opportunity for you to indicate at what stage you would be happy to do so—perhaps in one or two years time or something.

Turning to opposition amendments (2) and (3), the Special Minister of State has indicated that the code of conduct, which is available, does deal with these issues. As far as I am aware, that code of conduct is not enforceable and has no ability to have force, and the opposition is attempting to provide that. If the government are determined to reject this in the House, which we have been advised they will, then frankly they should address the problem and see if there is some way they could find for the existing code of conduct to be made an enforceable undertaking.