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Wednesday, 30 April 1980
Page: 1951

Senator PUPLICK (NEW SOUTH WALES) -I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether he has seen an article in today's Sydney Morning Herald under the heading 'Secret Look at "Open

Government" Plans' in which it is reported, in relation to the Public Service's consideration of the freedom of information report by a Senate committee:

In only six months, small groups of anonymous public servants have whittled away the recommendations to leave mainly token administrative changes.

Is this Government still committed to having an effective freedom of information Bill? Will the Leader of the Government ensure that the response to the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs is made within the promised six months? Is the substance of the report in the Sydney Morning Herald correct? If it is, does the Leader of the Government accept that it is behaviour such as this which brings governments into massive disrepute and that it is attempts such as this by the Public Service to protect itself and shield its work and frequent failures from public scrutiny which make effective freedom of information legislation in Australia so necessary?

Senator CARRICK -I have not seen the article in the Sydney Morning Herald. Therefore I am unable to say whether it is correct in substance. I will look at it. It is the intention of the Government to produce an effective freedom of information Bill. I am not sure of the progress of the Government's response to the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs. I will ask my colleague the Acting Attorney-General what progress has been made in that regard and I will inform Senator Puplick accordingly.

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