Wednesday, 29 May 2013
Parliamentary Service Amendment (Freedom of Information) Bill 2013; Second Reading
I thank the opposition for their assistance in facilitating passage of this important legislation, the Parliamentary Service Amendment (Freedom of Information) Bill 2013. I am pleased to be able to move this legislation as the Leader of the House of Representatives and with the support of all the members of the House of Representatives and, I am sure, of all senators as well.
Speaker, we had a discussion before about privileges matters relating to a committee and that should have served as a reminder of the fact that, for this parliament to conduct its business appropriately, the House of Representatives and its processes, the Senate and its processes and the very vital role that the Parliamentary Library plays in providing confidential advice to members of parliament must be sacrosanct. It would literally be an undermining of democracy and of the ability for the parliament to perform its important functions if this legislation was not carried and the position made clear. Hence, this is very much a sensible, practical change to restore the status quo pending the consideration of the Hawke review recommendations.
The process was led by the Presiding Officers, and I thank you, Speaker, and the President of the Senate as well as the parliamentary departments for coordinating this process. The process does highlight the cooperative way that we operate in this building more often than most people realise. It is important that the parliament and our processes be respected. This legislation does that and I commend it to the House.