Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 7 June 2017) . . Page.. 1979 ..
With regard to minutes of the various government boards, councils and committees and other bodies, as members know, we have quite a range of these types of bodies, from the child death review committee and the cemeteries board to the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. There are all sorts of these committees across the government. They all perform a function in the governance of the territory and we should be able to know what they are doing. Rather than members having to ask questions about the various committees or accepting the minister saying that the advice of a particular committee is X or Y, we should be able to see what they are actually doing.
Madam Speaker, it seems that “hypocrisy, thy name is Green”. It is evident that before an election, as members in this place run to the polls, they will say and do anything about transparent, open and consultative government. When push comes to shove post election, they are happy to walk away from those commitments and do as they always have done and hide behind the secrecy veil.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (12.09): Given that we are discussing the FOI legislation, I think it is important to remind members, particularly in light of Mr Wall’s twisting of my words that he has just gone through, of what the new FOI legislation does, because it was the Greens who spent the entire four-year period of the last term negotiating with the other members of this chamber to get new FOI legislation. It did take us the better part of four years and it came right before the election, but that is only because it took so long to get the rest of the members of this chamber to focus on coming to an agreement on what the FOI legislation should be.
Let us recall what that FOI legislation does. I will do it quickly; I am mindful of the time today. This bill does two key things: it introduces an open-access scheme to establish processes for the regular disclosure of government reports and information, and it makes the public interest the test for what information is released to the community.
I could go on, and I have spoken at great length in this place about that information. That is quite different from Mr Wall coming in here and twisting my words in the way he has. I think Ms Le Couteur made a very clear point—
Mr Wall: What did I twist?
MR RATTENBURY: We listened to Mr Wall, Mr Parton, Mr Hanson and Ms Lawder in silence.
Mr Hanson: I have not spoken.
MR RATTENBURY: No, but we listen to Mr Hanson’s interjections in silence. Because he makes them so regularly, I get confused. Mr Hanson interjects so often, I think he has actually spoken in the debate—but there you go.
Ms Le Couteur made a very clear point: it is one thing to come in here and actually give information on things that are being contemplated—and she made the very clear