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Thursday, 6 September 1984
Page: 622

Senator ROBERTSON(10.08) —I move:

That the Committee agree with the resolution contained in Attachment C of the Standing Orders Committee report.

The history of this matter is stated in paragraph 10 of the report. In summary, the Committee considered whether the Presiding Officers should be empowered to grant access to in camera evidence on documents submitted to committees on a confidential or restricted basis. The Committee believes that it would be appropriate for the Presiding Officers to be authorised to grant access, subject to the same restrictions as are embodied in the Archives Act; that is, that the material must be at least 30 years old. If the Committee's recommendation is adopted, it would mean two things: Firstly, that in camera evidence of either House over 30 years old could be released with the concurrence of the Presiding Officers; and secondly, that in camera evidence which is less than 30 years old could only be released by resolution of the relevant House or both Houses as appropriate. The Committee recommends the adoption of the resolution contained in paragraph (c) of the report.