Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 11 August 2016) . . Page.. 2738 ..
this is actually a good thing because Mrs Dunne has had enormous experience in this area. She has been a long-term advocate of improved freedom of information legislation. She has attempted herself to introduce push-style models that basically try to hold together the old act and she has found enormous frustration in doing that. I am glad that Mrs Dunne has put her hand up to take carriage of this. I think we will get a good result as a consequence.
In conclusion, this is a complex area that has been subject to a lot of debate. It is a bit of a frustration that we are dealing with this on the last sitting day. That said, better late than never. I am confident that at the end of this process we will have a better way forward when it comes to freedom of information.
I note that because of the complexities of this legislation, because of the fact that this has come somewhat at late notice in the middle of a busy budget week, it is important to make sure that whoever forms government after October looks at this legislation carefully. I make it very clear, without changing the intent of what is worked through today, what is agreed today, that there may be some consequential amendments that will need to be made.
Certainly, when this is rolled out in practice, it will need to be reviewed to make sure that the intent of what we are debating and hopefully voting on today actually does have that effect when it hits the streets and when it starts to be applied. I think the decision is that this will be next year.
In conclusion, as I said, we will be supporting this in principle. We look forward to the detail stage. I think that this is a great step forward. It does not come without some risk. I was having a little aside with one of the Greens staff the other day that we may rue the day. We may well be in government but on the other hand the Greens and Labor staff may be applying this legislation when we push for information.
We may look at this day and ask, “What were we doing?” But I think that is a good thing. I do think that is a good thing because there is a natural tendency in government to want to withhold information and there is a natural inclination when you are in opposition to want more information. Maybe it is the case that it is only on the cusp of an election that both sides, with the ambiguity of who is going to be in government, can come together to actually make these sort of decisions. But the reality is, the important thing is, that this will actually be better for the ACT, regardless of who forms government after October. I think that is a good thing.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for the Environment and Climate Change) (11.18): The government will be supporting this bill in principle and I will be moving government amendments to the bill. The bill is presented as part of the commitments made between the Labor and Greens parties in the 2012 parliamentary agreement, which is to support a new freedom of information scheme based on the Queensland Right to Information Act 2009 but with a significantly reduced schedule of information deemed to be against the public interests to release.