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FOR – Documents — Cbus Super Fund; Order for the Production of Documents

Wendy Askew

At the request of Senator Bragg, I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) order for the production of documents no. 350, agreed to by the Senate on 17 October 2023, relating to communications between CBUS Super Fund and the Treasurer and his office, has not been complied with,

(ii) the Treasurer, in his response to the order, dated 6 November 2023, made a claim of public interest immunity on the basis that the documents sought are commercial in confidence, and

(iii) the Senate has made it clear in its resolution of 30 October 2003 that a claim on this ground must be based on specified potential harm to commercial interests and any claim of commercial confidentiality must be accompanied by an explanation of the ensuing harm from disclosure; and

(b) rejects the public interest immunity claim made by the Treasurer, noting that:

(i) the claim that disclosure would provide an 'unfair insight into CBUS' private opinions and business affairs' is not a sufficient explanation of any ensuing harm from disclosure,

(ii) the claim that disclosure of commercial in confidence information has the potential to 'damage the frankness and candour of future consultation processes' is not a sufficient explanation of any ensuing harm from disclosure, and

(iii) the public interest in disclosing the documents outweighs any potential effect on the commercial affairs of CBUS; and

(c) requires the Minister representing the Treasurer to comply with the order by no later than midday on Monday, 13 November 2023.

Anthony Chisholm

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Sue Lines

Leave is granted for one minute.

Anthony Chisholm

The government maintains that disclosure of the documents sought would provide an unfair insight into Cbus private opinions and business affairs. The disclosure of commercial-in-confidence information has the potential to damage the frankness and candour of future consultation processes. We maintain that the public interest immunity claimed in relation to the previous order is valid.

Sue Lines

The question is that general business notice of motion No. 380 standing in the name of Senator Bragg and moved by Senator Askew be agreed to.


Date and time: 11:55 AM on 2023-11-09
Senator Pocock's vote: Aye
Total number of "aye" votes: 30
Total number of "no" votes: 31
Total number of abstentions: 15

Adapted from information made available by