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Monday, 6 December 1999
Page: 12855


Mr ALLAN MORRIS (5:48 PM) —by leave—On 23 November 1999, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Resources received a letter from Coudert Brothers, solicitors acting on behalf of the ANZ Banking Group and Esanda Finance Corporation Ltd. The letter contained a list of 12 documents that related to an inquiry into business conduct issues carried out by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology in the 38th Parliament. The solicitors wished to know whether the documents were confidential and, if so, whether it was possible to obtain the authorisation of the House for their use in court proceedings due to commence in the New South Wales Supreme Court at the end of January 2000.

A search of the files relating to the inquiry indicates that five of the documents were received on a confidential basis—items 2 and 3 in the list as confidential correspondence, and items 4,5 and 6 as confidential submissions. Items 1 and 7 to 12 inclusive consist of correspondence between parties other than the committee. Indeed, it would appear that the committee did not receive those items at all, and it certainly did not give them any confidential status.

The industry, science and resources committee has considered this matter and does not favour changing the status of the documents, which the predecessor committee in the last Parliament received on a confidential basis. The committee therefore would not recommend that the House authorise the presentation of the confidential documents in any court proceedings.