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FOR – Documents — Freedom of Information Commissioner Resignation; Order for the Production of Documents

David Shoebridge

I move general business notice of motion No. 221:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that order for production of documents no. 183, relating to the resignation of the Freedom of Information Commissioner, has only been partially complied with;

(b) rejects the public interest immunity claim made by the Minister that the release of the required information would disclose Cabinet deliberations since much of the information is patently not connected to the deliberations of Cabinet;

(c) accepts the public interest immunity claim made by the Minister with respect to privacy, so far as it relates to the withholding of personal contact details of individuals, but not the more general claim relating to grounds, including the effect of disclosure on the personal and professional reputations of individuals (particularly where those individuals are statutory office holders);

(d) expresses particular concern that, despite the clear terms of the order, the Minister has not produced the Commissioner's resignation letter or any documents evidencing its receipt by the Minister or Department;

(e) requires the Minister representing the Attorney-General to attend the Senate after motions to take note of answers on Thursday, 30 March 2023 to provide an explanation for no more than 10 minutes of the failure to fully comply with order for production of documents no. 183;

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

(g) any motion under paragraph (f) may be debated for no longer than

30 minutes, shall have precedence over all other business until determined, and senators may speak to the motion for not more than 5 minutes each.

Anthony Chisholm

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Sue Lines

Leave is granted.

Anthony Chisholm

The government does not support this motion. The government has complied with the Senate order. The public interest immunity claim made in respect of some material excluded from the return is made in accordance with longstanding and accepted Senate practice.

Sue Lines

The question is that general business notice of motion No. 221 standing in the name of Senator Shoebridge be agreed to.


Date and time: 11:59 AM on 2023-03-30
Senator Pocock's vote: Aye
Total number of "aye" votes: 39
Total number of "no" votes: 18
Total number of abstentions: 19

Adapted from information made available by