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Tuesday, 28 May 2002
Page: 2551

Mr McClelland asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 19 March 2002:

(1) What matters were placed on the agenda of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) at its meeting in Sydney on 7 March 2002 by (a) the Commonwealth, (b) any State and (c) either Territory.

(2) What was the outcome of each item on the agenda.

(3) Where and when will the next meeting of SCAG be held.

Mr Williams (Attorney-General) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) to (2) Principle 13 of the Council of Australian Government's (COAG) General Principles for the Operation of Ministerial Councils, (`the COAG Principles') agreed to by COAG on 7 December 1992 and revised on 8 June 2001, provides that:

Subject to the applicability of the relevant Commonwealth, State or Territory Freedom of Information legislation, unless Council approval is received, any discussion by, or document of the Council, or any committee, sub-committee, working party, officer or agent of the Council, shall be confidential.

In addition to the COAG Principles, SCAG Procedures, agreed in November 1993, provide that the Summary of Decisions is also confidential and that the release of confidential information is subject to the consent of Ministers.

Accordingly, in the interests of protecting Commonwealth-State relations, both the record of the items that constituted the SCAG agenda, and the outcome of each item, are confidential.

(3) It is proposed that the next SCAG meeting be held at Cairns on 25 and 26 July 2002.