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FREEDOM OF INFORMATION BILL 1981

The Senate, according to Order, resolved itself into Committee for the consideration of the Bill.

In the Committee

Clause 1 debated and agreed to.

Clause 2 debated and agreed to.

Clause 3 read--

Senator Evans, by leave, moved the following amendments together:

Page 1, sub-clause (1), line 15, after ""extend'', insert ""as far as possible''.

Pages 1 and 2, sub-clause (1), line 15 (page 1) to line 12 (page 2), leave out ""official'' (wherever occurring).

Debate ensued.

Question--That the amendments be agreed to--put and passed.

Senator Evans, by leave, moved the following further amendments together:

Page 2, sub-clause (1), paragraph (b), lines 4 to 12, leave out all words after ""public authorities'' (first occurring).

Page 2, sub-clause (2), lines 13 to 16, leave out the sub-clause, insert the following sub-clause:

""(2) It is the intention of the Parliament that the provisions of this Act shall be interpreted so as to further the object set out in sub-section (I) and that any discretions conferred by this Act shall be exercised so as to facilitate and promote, promptly and inexpensively, the disclosure of information.''.

Debate ensued.

Ordered--That further consideration of clause 3, as amended, and of the further amendments moved thereto by Senator Evans, be postponed.

Clause 4 read--

Senator Evans moved an amendment, viz: Page 4, sub-clause (1), lines 8 to 13, definition of ""prescribed authority'', leave out all words after paragraph (d).

Debate ensued.

Ordered--That further consideration of clause 4, and of the amendment moved thereto by Senator Evans, be postponed.

Clause 5 read--

Senator Evans moved an amendment, viz: Pages 5 and 6, line 25 (page 5) to line 7 (page 6), leave out the clause, insert the following clauses:

Act to apply to courts in respect of administrative matters 5. For the purposes of this Act--

(a) a court shall be deemed to be a prescribed authority;

(b) the holder of a judicial office or other office pertaining to a court in his capacity as the holder of that office, being an office established by the legislation establishing the court, shall be deemed not to be a prescribed authority and shall not be included in a Department; and

(c) a registry or other office of a court, and the staff of such a registry or other office when acting in a capacity as members of that staff, shall be taken as a part of the court,

but this Act does not apply to any request for access to a document of the court unless the document relates to matters of an administrative nature.

Act to apply to certain tribunals in respect of administrative matters 5A. For the purposes of this Act--

(a) each tribunal, authority or body specified in Schedule 2 is deemed to be a prescribed authority;

(b) the holder of an office pertaining to a tribunal, authority or body specified in Schedule 2 being an office established by the legislation establishing the tribunal, authority or body so specified in his capacity as the holder of that office, is not to be taken to be a prescribed authority or to be included in a Department; and

(c) a registry or other office of or under the charge of a tribunal, authority or body specified in Schedule 2, and the staff of such a registry or other office when acting in a capacity as members of that staff, shall be taken as a part of the tribunal, authority or body so specified as a prescribed authority, but this Act does not apply to any request for access to a document of a tribunal, authority or body so specified unless the document relates to matters of an administrative nature.''.

Debate ensued.

Question--That the words proposed to be left out be left out--put.

The Committee divided--

AYES, 31

Senator-- Senator-- Bishop McLaren Bonner Martin Cavanagh Mason Chipp Melzer Coleman Missen Colston Mulvihill Elstob O'Byrne Evans Primmer Georges Puplick Grimes Ryan Hamer Sibraa Hearn Tate Keeffe Walsh McAuliffe Wheeldon McClelland Teller: McIntosh Robertson

NOES, 30

Senator-- Senator-- Archer Maunsell Bjelke-Petersen Messner Carrick Neal Chaney Rae Collard Reid Davidson Scott Durack Sim Guilfoyle, Teague Dame Margaret Thomas Harradine Townley Jessop Walters Lajovic Watson Laucke, Withers Sir Condor Young Lewis MacGibbon Teller: Martyr Kilgariff

And so it was resolved in the affirmative.

Question--That the words proposed to be inserted be inserted--put and passed.

Amendment agreed to accordingly.

Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 6 read--

Senator Missen moved an amendment, viz: Page 6, sub-clause (5), lines 22 to 29, leave out the sub-clause, insert the following sub-clauses:

""(5) The regulations may amend Schedule 1--

(a) by inserting an additional provision or additional provisions in Part I of Schedule 1, being a provision or provisions relating to a body;

(b) by deleting from Part I of Schedule 1 any body specified in Part I of that Schedule;

(c) by inserting an additional provision or additional provisions in Part II of Schedule 1, being a provision or provisions relating to a particular category or particular categories of documents in relation to a body or bodies; (d) by deleting from Part II of Schedule 1 any item listed in Part I of that Schedule; or

(e) by amending in Part II of Schedule 1 any item listed in Part II of that Schedule.

""(6) A regulation made for the purposes of sub-section (5) shall not take effect until each House of the Parliament has resolved that it take effect.

""(7) Sub-sections 48 (4), (5), (5A) and (6) and section 49 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 do not apply to regulations made in accordance with this section.''.

Debate ensued.

Ordered--That further consideration of clause 6, and of the amendment moved thereto by Senator Missen, be postponed.

Clause 7 read--

Senator Tate moved an amendment, viz: Pages 6 and 7, sub-clause (1), paragraph (a), sub-paragraphs (i) and (ii), line 37 (page 6) to line 6 (page 7), leave out the sub- paragraphs, insert the following sub-paragraphs:

""(i) a statement setting out particulars of the organization and functions of the agency, indicating, as far as practicable, the decision-making powers and other powers affecting members of the public that are involved in those functions;

(ii) a statement setting out particulars of any arrangements that exist for bodies or persons outside the Commonwealth administration to participate, either through consultative procedures, the making of representations or otherwise, and whether by direct or indirect means, in the formulation of policy by the agency, or in the administration by the agency, of any enactment or scheme; (iiA) a statement of the categories of documents that are maintained in the possession of the agency, being a statement that sets out, as separate categories of documents, categories of such documents, if any, as are referred to in paragraph 11 (1) (b) or (c) and categories of documents, if any, not being documents so referred to, as are customarily made available to the public, otherwise than under this Act, free of charge upon request;

(iiB) a statement of particulars of the facilities, if any, provided by the agency for enabling members of the public to obtain physical access to the documents of the agency; and''.

Debate ensued.

Senator Tate, by leave, amended sub-paragraph (ii) of his amendment to read as follows:

""(ii) a statement setting out particulars of any arrangements that exist for bodies or persons outside the Commonwealth administration to participate, either through consultative procedures, the making of representations or otherwise, in the formulation of policy by the agency, or in the administration by the agency, of any enactment or scheme;''.

Debate continued.

Question--That the words proposed to be left out be left out--put and passed.

Question--That the words proposed to be inserted be inserted--put and passed.

Amendment agreed to accordingly.

Clause 7, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 8 read--

Senator Puplick moved an amendment, viz: Page 7, sub-clause (1), paragraph (a), line 40, after ""precedents'', insert ""including, but without limiting the generality of the foregoing, precedents in the nature of letters of advice providing information to bodies or persons outside the Commonwealth administration''.

Debate ensued.

Question--That the words proposed to be inserted be inserted--put and passed.

Senator Puplick moved a further amendment, viz : Page 7, sub-clause (1), after paragraph (b), insert the following new paragraphs:

""(c) documents containing statements of the manner, or intended manner, of administration or enforcement of such an enactment or scheme; or (d) documents containing statements of the procedures to be followed in detecting or investigating breaches or evasions or possible breaches or evasions of such an enactment or of the law relating to such a scheme,''.

Debate ensued.

Senator Puplick, by leave, amended paragraph (d) of his amendment to read as follows:

""(d) documents describing the procedures to be followed in investigating breaches or evasions or possible breaches or evasions of such an enactment or of the law relating to such a scheme,''.

Question, by leave, divided.

Question--That the words proposed to be inserted be inserted (paragraph (c) of the amendment)--put and passed.

Debate continued on paragraph (d) of the amendment.

Question--That the words proposed to be inserted be inserted (paragraph (d) of the amendment)--put.

The Committee divided--

AYES, 30

Senator-- Senator-- Bishop McLaren Bonner Martin Cavanagh Mason Chipp Melzer Coleman Missen Colston O'Byrne Elstob Primmer Evans Puplick Georges Ryan Gietzelt Sibraa Grimes Tate Harradine Walsh Keeffe Wheeldon McAuliffe McClelland Teller: McIntosh Robertson

NOES, 29

Senator-- Senator-- Archer Maunsell Baume Messner Bjelke-Petersen Neal Carrick Rae Chaney Reid Collard Scott Davidson Sim Durack Teague Guilfoyle, Thomas Dame Margaret Townley Jessop Walters Lajovic Watson Laucke, Withers Sir Condor Young Lewis Teller: Martyr Kilgariff

And so it was resolved in the affirmative.

Amendment agreed to accordingly.

Senator Puplick moved a further amendment, viz: Page 8, sub-clause (2), paragraph (c), lines 10 to 13, leave out the paragraph, insert the following paragraph:

""(c) not later than 3 months after the publication of the statement under paragraph (b) and thereafter at intervals of not more than 3 months, cause to be published in the Gazette statements bringing up to date the information contained in the previous statement or statements.''.

Debate ensued.

Ordered--That further consideration of paragraph 8 (2) (c) be postponed.

Senator Puplick moved a further amendment, viz: Pages 8 and 9, sub-clauses (5) to (7), line 25 (page 8) to line 2 (page 9), leave out the sub-clauses.

Debate ensued.

Ordered--That the Chairman of Committees (Senator Maunsell) report progress and ask leave to sit again.

The President resumed the Chair; and Senator Maunsell reported that the Committee had considered the Bill and had made progress, and asked leave to sit again.

Ordered--That the Committee have leave to sit again on the next day of sitting.