Page 1337 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 27 March 2012

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MS BURCH: The only person that seems not to accept the advice of the most senior counsel of the government, the GSO, that there was no breach of the law is Mrs Dunne. I ask Mrs Dunne to apologise and withdraw the comment that I have broken the law. I believe that her insistence on doing that is actually misleading the Assembly.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Minister Burch, I seek your indulgence to give Mrs Dunne the floor in response to the standing order 46 request.

Mrs Dunne: Mr Assistant Speaker, I am asking you to ask Minister Burch to withdraw the assertion that I have misled the Assembly that she made as she sat down.

Ms Burch: I said she could possibly be misleading the Assembly.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: My understanding, and I will ask the Speaker to review the Hansard, Mrs Dunne, was that there was not an assertion per se; there was a possibility that it may be so. So I am not in a position to ask her to do that, but I will ask the Speaker to review that. If what you say is the case, the Speaker can approach the minister to get that withdrawn.


Dr Bourke tabled the following papers:

Asbestos in ACT schools—

Asbestos removal and remediation works—Schedule of funding allocations.

Hazardous Material Survey and Management Plans—Various schools (93), prepared by Robson Environmental.

Freedom of Information Amendment Bill 2011

Debate resumed.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (3.58): I think it is fair to say that it is trite to talk about knowledge and information being power. Even before our current Freedom of Information Act was first passed, information was recognised as the linchpin of the political process, and knowledge often equated to power. I have no doubt that all members of this place recognise just how vital information is not only to good government decision making and effective government accountability but also to community understanding and acceptance of government decisions.

In her book Freedom of Information and Privacy in Australia, Professor Moira Patterson wrote:

The government sector is a vast depository of information, including information which is vital for the complete understanding of our social, political and natural environment.

The concept of freedom of information originated in Sweden in 1766 when it adopted a system of free access to public documents. It was exactly 200 years later that the US

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