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TAXATION—MINING TAX—ORDER FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS

Senator Cormann, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 60—That the Senate—

 (a) notes that:

  (i) the Government has refused to provide any of the information requested by the Senate about its negotiations with BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata on the revised mining tax proposal,

  (ii) in relation to some of the information only, the Government justified its refusal in its response to the relevant Senate order on the basis that, `Data and other material provided to the Treasury as part of negotiations around the MRRT are considered to be commercial in confidence',

  (iii) no justification was provided by the Government as to why release of any of the other information was not in the public interest, and

  (iv) specifically, no reason was provided by the Government as to why the release of the signed heads-of-agreement between the Government and BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata would not be in the public interest;

 (b) considers release of all the information requested on the negotiations between the Government and BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata about the revised mining tax proposal to be in the public interest;

 (c) orders that there be laid on the table by noon on Thursday, 28 October 2010:

  (i) any information held by the Government related to the negotiations and agreement about the new mining tax proposal announced on 2 July 2010, including, but not limited to, briefing notes, emails, data provided to the Government by BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata and any other information generated in the context of the negotiations about the new mining tax proposal, and

  (ii) a copy of the signed heads-of-agreement on the new mining tax proposal between the Government and BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata;

 (d) notes the agreements between the Government and other parties and independents to refer disputes about public interest disclosures to the Information Commissioner, who will arbitrate on the release of documents; and

 (e) orders that, if the Government does not produce the information required by this order within the specified timeframe, there be laid on the table by 15 November 2010, a report on the matter by the Information Commissioner, including a review of the adequacy of the grounds specified by the Government for its refusal to produce the information and, if applicable, his arbitration on the release of the information.

Question put.

The Senate divided—

AYES, 34

Senators—

Adams

Back

Barnett

Bernardi

Birmingham

Boswell

Boyce

Brandis

Bushby

Cash

Colbeck

Coonan

Cormann

Fielding

Fierravanti-Wells

Fifield

Fisher

Heffernan

Humphries

Johnston

Joyce

Kroger

Mason

McGauran

Nash

Parry (Teller)

Payne

Ronaldson

Ryan

Scullion

Troeth

Trood

Williams

Xenophon


NOES, 31

Senators—

Arbib

Bilyk

Bishop

Brown, Bob

Cameron

Carr

Collins

Conroy

Crossin

Faulkner

Forshaw

Furner

Hanson-Young

Hogg

Hurley

Hutchins

Ludlam

Ludwig

Lundy

Marshall

McEwen (Teller)

McLucas

Milne

Moore

Pratt

Sherry

Siewert

Stephens

Sterle

Wong

Wortley

Question agreed to.