Page 1297 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 27 March 2012

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The JACS committee made a number of other recommendations that make access to government-held information easier for people in the ACT. These include creating a charging regime that encourages rather than discourages FOI requests; the drafting of the ACT’s own privacy laws; and the establishment of a single office that integrates the privacy commissioner with an ombudsman and an FOI commissioner. The government has glossed over these recommendations somewhat and I call upon the attorney to give the Assembly a more comprehensive response on why he has not gone down this path. I note that a future bill will be introduced to implement the JACS committee recommendation to make the Auditor-General an exempt entity.

This bill claims to implement a “push model” of information release. This means the government should be making public as much information as possible as a matter of usual practice. It also claims a presumption in favour of release. I am not entirely convinced, but I do acknowledge that this is a step forward and I will be monitoring its effectiveness with interest.

I also believe that there are a number of things that could be done to be more open in this area. However, the resources of a private member’s office are not sufficient to allow me to do more radical drafting than I have currently done to fix the more obvious problems with this bill. But I am putting on notice that this will be a matter of considerable importance and priority for me if I am so fortunate as to be made the Attorney-General after the 2012 election.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.25 to 2 pm.

Questions without notice

Executive contracts—reporting

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Chief Minister. Minister, what is the purpose of reporting executive contracts, including salary details, to the Assembly?

MS GALLAGHER: To provide that information to the Assembly.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary.

MR SESELJA: Minister, is it a potential breach of privacy to disclose the salary details of executive staff?

MS GALLAGHER: Not that it has been drawn to my attention. I think it has been a long-term convention of this place; indeed a requirement on this place.

MR COE: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Coe.

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