Cabinet Handbook . . Page.. 717 ..
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for her question. She has raised a very important point about the nature of documents handled by successive governments and the convention, at least, if not the rule, in the Cabinet Handbook that these documents not generally be available. I confess to having had the document, obviously. I tabled it here on the floor of the Assembly. The document was handed to me by a member of my staff. I am not sure what was the origin of the document, but I am prepared to find out what it was. It does not follow, because a document is available, that it has necessarily been produced by a breach of that process in the Cabinet Handbook. As we all know, documents do tend to leak around the place and to be available in places where they should not be. So, I will not indicate that I know for a fact that this document was released by a member of the bureaucracy whose job it was to honour the conventions in the Cabinet Handbook. That may be the case, but it may not be the case. I will, however, endeavour to find out.
MS FOLLETT: On a supplementary question, Mr Speaker: I would advise Mr Humphries that, if he looks carefully at the document which he tabled, he will see that, on the top of it, it bears the fax address and number of a senior officer of the Department of the Environment, Land and Planning. I would ask, through you, Mr Speaker, that, when Mr Humphries has obtained the information, he make it available to the Assembly.
MR HUMPHRIES: I have indicated that I will do that, Mr Speaker.
Cabinet Documents - Confidentiality
MR BERRY: My question, too, is directed to Mr Humphries in his capacity as Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning. Mr Humphries, in your answer yesterday you said that you were unaware of the annotated document. I accept your undertaking that you were, at that time, unaware of it. Were you aware that the Chief Minister was aware of, or had sighted, the annotated document; or when did you become aware that the Chief Minister was aware of, or had sighted, the annotated document?
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I am a bit confused here. I do not know whether Mr Berry is referring to the former Chief Minister or the present Chief Minister. I do not believe that I indicated in my answer that I did say anything about the Chief Minister being aware of the document. That may emerge from what is in the Hansard, but it is not my recollection of what I actually told the house. If Mr Berry wants to reconstruct events - - -
Mr Berry: No. I will read it again, to clarify it for you.
MR SPEAKER: Would you clarify it for Mr Humphries, because I, too, am confused.
MR BERRY: I said that Mr Humphries yesterday had said that he was unaware of the annotated document. Mr Humphries, we accept your undertaking that at that time you were unaware. Were you aware, though, that the Chief Minister was aware of, or had sighted, the annotated document; and when did you become aware that the Chief Minister was aware of, or had sighted, the annotated document?