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Tuesday, 19 November 2002
Page: 6754


Senator GREIG (4:52 PM) —I move Democrat amendment (2) on sheet 2747:

(2) Schedule 1, item 253, page 56 (lines 1 and 2), omit “to the public”, substitute “in the circumstances”.

This amendment is intended to ensure that the appropriate test is applied in determining whether the limitation should apply. It requires that the chair consider whether the disclosure of information in the circumstances—that is, to the minister or ministers in question—could prejudice the safety or reputation of persons or the operations of law enforcement agencies. The limitation on the chair's obligation to provide information also applies to the provision of information to the minister of a state. Yet curiously the test as to whether this limitation applies is whether the disclosure of information to the public could prejudice the safety or reputation of persons or the operations of law enforcement agencies. The Democrats would argue that the standard which should be applied to disclosure of the information to the public will necessarily be substantially higher than that which would apply to the disclosure of the information to the minister of the Crown. Hence this amendment, which I commend to the committee.