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ABSTAINED – Documents — Department of Education; Order for the Production of Documents

Matt O'Sullivan

At the request of Senator Henderson, I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 490 standing in her name.

Leave granted.

I move the motion as amended:


(a) the Senate notes that:

(i) order for the production of documents no. 374, agreed to by the Senate on 7 November 2023, relating to the Minister for Education's review of the HELP ATO payments system, has only been partially complied with, and

(ii) a further order, no. 465, agreed to by the Senate on 27 February 2024, requiring the Minister to fully comply with order for the production of documents no. 374, by no later than 5 pm on 28 February 2024, has not been complied with;

(b) unless the order is complied with in full by 18 March 2024, the Minister representing the Minister for Education be required to attend the chamber after motions to take note of answers on 20 March 2024 to provide an explanation, of no more than 5 minutes, of the failure to fully comply with the order;

(c) any senator may move to take note of the explanation required by paragraph (b); and

(d) any motion under paragraph (c) may be debated for no longer than 30 minutes, shall have precedence over all business until determined, and senators may speak to the motion for not more than 5 minutes each.

Carol Brown

by leave—The government will not be supporting this motion. The minister responded to the order made on 27 February by letter on 29 February. The minister has maintained his claim of public interest immunity in relation to certain documents sought. That claim is consistent with longstanding practices under previous governments. The minister has previously said that this issue would be considered by the Australian Universities Accord. It has been addressed in the accord final report, which has now been released. A response to that report is under consideration by the government.

Andrew McLachlan

The question before the Senate is that the motion moved by Senator O'Sullivan standing in the name of Senator Henderson regarding compliance with orders for the production of documents be agreed to.


Date and time: 5:19 PM on 2024-03-18
Senator Pocock's vote: Abstained
Total number of "aye" votes: 38
Total number of "no" votes: 18
Total number of abstentions: 20

Adapted from information made available by