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Thursday, 28 June 2018
Page: 4389

Senator PATRICK (South Australia) (17:01): Sure, and I apologise for not articulating it properly. It is perhaps a complex or nuanced issue. I'll give you a real example. Former senator Nick Xenophon is currently in the AAT seeking access to documents which are marked 'for official use only'. The claim advanced by the respondent in that particular application—and it is not going to the substance of the matter; I really want to direct it back to the bill—is that 'this document is damaging to national security or would cause damage to national security if it were to be released under FOI'. This bill appears to now be creating an inconsistency across Commonwealth legislation in respect of how you define what is damaging to national security. Is the marking of 'secret' and/or 'top secret' the only thing that's covered under this legislation? No-one's going to seek to use a similar definition to FOI? I'm just trying to get some clarity on that.