Page 661 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

referring to that; I was referring specifically to the proposals in the bill that relate to conclusive certificates and the government’s reluctance to embrace the same level of reform as Senator Faulkner and his commonwealth colleagues.

Question put:

That proposed new clause 3A be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 11

Noes 6

Mr Barr

Ms Hunter

Mr Coe

Ms Bresnan

Ms Le Couteur

Mr Doszpot

Ms Burch

Ms Porter

Mrs Dunne

Mr Corbell

Mr Rattenbury

Mr Hanson

Ms Gallagher

Mr Stanhope

Mr Seselja

Mr Hargreaves

Mr Smyth

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Proposed new clause 3A agreed to.

Proposed new clause 3B.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.13): I move amendment No 2 circulated in my name, which inserts a new clause 3B [see schedule 1 at page 707].

This amendment proposes to also ensure exemption of a limited range of documents, being a document prepared for a minister newly appointed to a portfolio, often known as the incoming government brief or incoming minister brief; a document prepared for a minister for the purposes of accounting to the Assembly for appropriation, for the annual reports hearings or for estimates hearings; and, finally, documents prepared for a minister for the purpose of assisting the minister to answer questions in the Assembly, often known as question time papers. This limited range of exemptions is in the interest of improving communication between officials and the responsible minister. It provides for the application of the act consistent with the doctrine of ministerial responsibility.

Again, I need to reiterate my comments at the time of the bill’s introduction that there is good reason why governments under the Westminster system routinely exempt and exclude documents which could be covered by this amendment. The amendment recognises the paramount importance of the relationship between a minister and his or her public sector advisers. The doctrine of ministerial responsibility dictates that ministers, individually, and cabinet, collectively, are responsible and accountable.

Ministers need to be briefed about what their departments are doing. They need to know if problems exist and how those problems might be dealt with. Democratic

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .