Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 3921..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
make the changes that he said he would make in 2001. We are taking leadership where he has been lacking.
It is useful to look at the experiences of other jurisdictions in relation to access to freedom of information documents. We just need to look across the ditch to New Zealand. Quoted on page 117 of Irene Moss's report is an assessment of what happens under freedom of information in New Zealand. The report quotes the following statement:
A visit to the websites of New Zealand government agencies will reveal a plethora of Cabinet Papers, minutes and internal policy documents that have been released under the Official Information Act—
that is the New Zealand equivalent—
The release of this type of material has often embarrassed the New Zealand government, posed difficulties in trying to persuade informed critics and limited the capacity to spin a policy development when the media has access to the full set of policy and briefing papers. Yet there has been little sign of the nightmare scenarios that have been painted by senior Australian civil servants ever since Senator Lionel Murphy tabled a proposal for a FOI at the first full Cabinet meeting in 1973.
New Zealand has done what many people, including the ALP, have been talking about for a long time. When the ALP has got to government, it has not had the courage to do it. New Zealand has done it, and the world has not come to an end.
It is timely to talk about some things relating to culture. There have been a number of reviews of the Freedom of Information Act. In 2006, the Commonwealth Ombudsman reviewed the commonwealth Freedom of Information Act. He said:
A person's enjoyment of the rights conferred by the FOI Act should not depend on the agency to which their FOI request is made. There should be a uniform commitment to FOI objectives across government—a whole of government standard, as it were. We expect all agencies to perform at a uniform standard in administering financial integrity laws, and we can equally expect consistency in the administration of democratic integrity laws.
Today, the Canberra Liberals are again taking a stand. This is the first of our stands in relation to freedom of information. We will be ensuring integrity, openness and access to free speech and information in this territory. It is time that the Stanhope government got on board. I commend the bill to the house.
Debate (on motion by Mr Corbell ) adjourned to the next sitting.
Long Service Leave (Private Sector) Bill 2007
Mr Berry, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.
Title read by Clerk.