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Tuesday, 18 March 1980
Page: 708

Senator HAMER (VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Attorney-General and refers to the Freedom of Information Bill, debate on which was adjourned by this chamber while the Bill was investigated by the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs. That Committee reported to the Parliament on 6 November last year. Does the Government attach great importance to the implementation of effective freedom of information legislation within the life of this Parliament? When will the Government's response to the Senate Committee's report be available so that debate on the Bill may continue?

Senator DURACK - Since the report was tabled in the Senate in November last year a great deal of work has been done by officers of my Department in particular and by me in relation to the report and a response to it. That work has been substantially completed by my departmental officers and I have now settled the form of recommendation I will be making to the Government in regard to its response to the report. I cannot say just when the Government will be considering the recommendations I have made, but it is certainly the intention that the Government should consider the report and respond to it during this session. I hope that there will be an opportunity for debate on it in this session, but at this stage it is a little difficult to say when that will be possible. It will depend on the nature of the legislative program and the progress made with it. Certainly it is intended that the Government's response to the Senate Committee's report should be made during this session.

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