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Government continues the kelly tape cover-up

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Member for Pearce Shadow Minister for the Environment


The Opposition will continue to fight the government's cover up of the controversial September meeting between Environment Minister Kelly and conservation groups.

I have today requested an internal review of a decision by an officer of the Minister's Department to refuse my request for access under the Freedom of Information Act to the tape recording made of that meeting.

One ground for refusal of the request is that its release would be contrary to the public interest because such action might adversely affect dngoing discussions with the States and others on issues such as the proposed Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment and resource security.

On the contrary, the public interest demands that there be a full disclosure of the proceedings of that meeting so that proper judgment can be made as to the full context of what Mrs Kelly had to say about the Prime Minister's so-called new

federalism policy.

So far we have had reports of comments by some of those people who attended and a minuscule excerpt by way of transcript, punctuated by the transcriber or the Minister herself. Unless access is possible to the full record, the public will never

know whether the Minister has selectively edited her own words to protect herself against the Prime Minister's wrath.

Since then, the issue of new federalism has been given even higher profile in the bitter leadership tussle between the Prime Minister and the former Treasurer.

There is certainly no secrecy any longer about the resource security proposal.

Another ground for refusal is that "...disclosure of any part of the tape" would breach the confidentiality allegedly expected by those who attended the meeting. As I have pointed out, we have already had disclosure of one part of that tape by the Minister herself.

We will continue to pursue this matter. If the government had any sense it would stop its obfuscation and come clean.

CANBERRA Contact: Keith Kessell (06) 2774760


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