Page 505 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 22 March 2023
Once again it is very, very difficult to see any positives in this, given the secrecy, the cover-up and the lack of accountability that this government chooses to apply across the board to any issue, whether it is about data privacy breaches right through to heritage. There are a huge range of issues there. I think it is really, really disappointing and devastating for the people of Canberra that this is the way this government chooses to operate.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (10.38): I think that last contribution does warrant some response, because Ms Lawder has portrayed matters in a way that is simply inaccurate and reflects either a deliberate filtering of events to suit her political agenda or a lack of understanding. Ms Lawder has talked about the report that the minister has tabled today and talked about the minister. She has really inferred the minister redacted the document. It is quite clear under freedom of information processes that those decisions to redact are taken by an independent decision maker, that is not the minister, under the Freedom of Information Act. If Ms Lawder has a bone to pick about the way the FOI has come out, she either needs to recommend changes to the Freedom of Information Act or she needs to go to the ombudsman, as she is entitled to under the Freedom of Information Act. If she has not chosen to do that, that reflects a lack of diligence on her part.
Ms Lawder: What about 213A?
MR RATTENBURY: I will come to 213A. She has already interjected less than a minute into my remarks, after we sat and listened to her in silence while she besmirched the minister. I will come to 213A now but first of all, Ms Lawder should recall that if she wants to dispute the decision of the independent decision maker in the public service who made the decision under the Freedom of Information Act, she should go to the ombudsman.
Actually do some hard work—get onto it, have a go, challenge the decision and use the powers that are available to you. When it comes to 213A, yes, last sitting we voted to amend Ms Lawder’s motion under standing order 213A because there was a freedom of information process underway. There is already—
Ms Lawder interjecting—
MR RATTENBURY: Keep interjecting, Ms Lawder. Go for your life.
There was already a process underway through an independent decision maker. Whilst the opposition is happy to set all the hares running, I think it is reasonably sensible to let one process complete before the other one comes in. We talked about this ahead of coming in today. If Ms Lawder had the tactical nous to come in here again today moving another motion under standing order 213A because she was dissatisfied, we were prepared to support it. The fact that she has not thought that through is not our problem. You know, there is another process there; there are a series of things. But Ms Lawder has come in here and basically just thrown her hands up in the air because an independent decision-maker has made a decision she does not like. She is not availing herself of the tactics that are available to her.
On the qualitative issues, let me make this comment. Ms Lawder has talked about secrecy, cover-up, a lack of accountability and members being disappointed that this