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Tuesday, 19 November 2002
Page: 6755

Senator ELLISON (Minister for Justice and Customs) (4:55 PM) —The government will not be supporting the Democrat amendment in relation to this matter. It believes the proposal will change the test to be applied by the chair of the board from an objective one to one which would vary with the circumstances. As Senator Ludwig has said, the current test does not deal with the circumstances; it deals with the public. The proposed new subsection states:

(2) If the Chair of the Board considers that disclosure of information to the public could prejudice the safety or reputation of persons or the operations of law enforcement agencies, the Chair must not provide the information under subsection (1) or (1A).

We would rather have it as it is; it is a more objective test. We believe that this amendment would be a more variable one. On balance, we therefore believe that we should oppose the amendment, notwithstanding that the government has supported amendments (1) and (3).

Question negatived.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments; report adopted.