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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western Australia) . - A point thathas been overlooked is that, under the clause, in future no document can be produced without the consent of the Minister, and he need give no reason for his refusal. In the past, he has been required to say that he refuses to produce a document because to do so would be against public policy. Ministers are public men, in whom the public have confidence,and when a Minister, in refusing to produce a document, gives as the reason for his refusal that to produce it would be against public policy, no further inquiry is made. But under this clause, in future the Minister will be given the power to refuse to produce a d ocument without giving any reason, although to produce it might not be against public policy. I strongly urge upon honorable senators that this power should be rejected.

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