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Thursday, 13 August 2009
Page: 4856


Senator LUDWIG (Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary) (11:57 AM) —The short answer is, I think, what I said at the beginning, which was that the effect of item 2 is to repeal—that is, what you are intending to do is repeal the existing exclusion from the FOI Act that applies to a document in the possession of a non-intelligence agency that has been received from the intelligence agency. So the intelligence agency is or could be the originator of the document that is exempt, and because it is in the possession of a non-intelligence agency it should continue to hold an exemption. The purpose of this exclusion is to provide for consistency in the application of the FOI Act to a document of an intelligence agency or the IGIS. It would be odd not to think that, quite frankly. I am not saying that you think that, Senator Ludlum, but this item, in my view, misses the intention of what you are trying to achieve. It means that intelligence can continue to do their work with the exemption and provide information or documents to non-intelligence agencies and continue to have the understanding that the documents would be exempted to facilitate their work.

Question negatived.