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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 14 Hansard (28 November) . . Page.. 4460..


professionally and always fulfilling their obligations to keep records of their activities because they may be made public.

To ensure that the new scheme works well and there is an independent oversight mechanism, the draft bill proposes a new role for the ombudsman equivalent to the commonwealth and Queensland information commissioners. The ombudsman will be responsible both for the general oversight of the scheme, reporting directly to the Assembly, and for reviewing the decisions of agencies as part of a new review system designed to improve accountability and the quality of decision-making.

In conclusion, the draft bill is the product of an extensive analysis of a very large number of important submissions from stakeholders in the freedom of information processes. I am confident that it reflects the best evidence available and the views of stakeholders and experts. It strikes a fair balance between the need for openness in government and the need to protect legitimate public interests in the confidentiality of information.

That said, I would very much encourage anyone who has an interest in the issue to provide their feedback on the draft bill. The best ideas almost always come from the community, and making information available to them can only enhance a government's standing if indeed it is acting in the community's best interests. The intention is to build trust and collaboration in government. Often it is the culture of secrecy that causes government problems that they then feel the need for secrecy to hide. The provision of government information should be on the public's terms, not the government's, and that is exactly what this draft bill seeks to do.

I commend the exposure draft to the Assembly and I look forward to receiving feedback from members of the community that take an interest in these matters.

Leave of absence

Motion (by Mr Corbell) agreed to:

That leave of absence be granted for all Members for the period 29 November 2013 to 24 February 2014.

Standing orders—suspension

Motion (by Mr Corbell) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent the adjournment debate for this sitting continuing past 30 minutes.

Statement by Speaker

Unparliamentary language

MADAM SPEAKER: Before I call the Clerk in relation to executive business No 6, I would like to make two statements. One of them arose as a result of a point of order raised in question time today about unparliamentary words. I would like to draw


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