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FOR – Committees — Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee; Reference

David Shoebridge

I seek leave to amend business of the Senate notice of motion No. 2 relating to a referral to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, to change the reporting date to 7 December 2023.

Leave granted.

I move the motion as amended:

That the following matter be referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 7 December 2023:

The operation of Commonwealth Freedom of Information (FOI) laws, with particular reference to:

(a) the resignation of the Commonwealth Freedom of Information Commissioner and the resulting impacts;

(b) delays in the review of FOI appeals;

(c) resourcing for responding to FOI applications and reviews;

(d) the creation of a statutory time frame for completion of reviews; and

(e) any other related matters.

Anthony Chisholm

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Sue Lines

Leave is granted for one minute.

Anthony Chisholm

The Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee already has a full workload. The senator is encouraged to have a meeting with the Attorney-General to discuss any concerns about the FOI system that can be considered by government, rather than adding unnecessarily to the workload of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee. The government is committed to the effective operation of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 to ensure it meets its objectives of improving open government, and the Attorney-General would welcome the opportunity to discuss this important issue with the senator.

Sue Lines

The question is that business of the Senate motion No. 2, as amended by Senator Shoebridge, be agreed to.


Date and time: 4:26 PM on 2023-03-28
Senator Pocock's vote: Aye
Total number of "aye" votes: 43
Total number of "no" votes: 19
Total number of abstentions: 14

Adapted from information made available by