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Notice given 17 May 2007

3203  Senator Stott Despoja: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—

(1) Under what legislation, regulations or codes are ‘public interest disclosure’ and/or whistleblower and like claims processed.

(2) What criteria are used in the Australian Public Service generally to determine the validity of claims under ‘public interest disclosure’ situations, that is, by whistleblowers or people making whistleblower-like claims or allegations.

(3) Does the criterion for assessing the validity of a whistleblower or a whistleblower type claim include any psychiatric or psychological assessment; if so, what is the legislative basis for such an assessment, including specific clauses.

Senator Stott Despoja: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 3204-3205)—

(1) Under what legislation or regulations is the specific legislative authority to conduct background police checks on journalists, lobbyists and employees who work or visit Parliament House.

(2) If a person receives a negative outcome as a result of a background police check performed on behalf of the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) what might the consequences be for that person.


 (3) Would a right of access for a member of parliament or a senator to a journalist in the parliamentary precinct be restricted at all, if that journalist received a negative outcome following a police record check; if so, on what grounds.

(4) In developing the policy to check the criminal history of journalists, lobbyists and employees at Parliament House, did the Secretary of DPS consult the committee that represents the press gallery; if not, why not.

(5) On what grounds have members of parliament and senators been exempted from background checks.

3204 Minister for Finance and Administration