Senate debates

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Order of Continuing Effect

4:58 pm

Photo of Joe LudwigJoe Ludwig (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Manager of Government Business in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

That is the concern that I am putting in relation to the document. If you choose to ignore that, the concerns I have raised are here on the record for all to see when this does not operate in the way that you might otherwise have wanted it to operate, or if it does not provide the outcome that you hope it will.

The motion aims to specify the way that public interest will operate. In doing so, I think it will also curtail how public interest immunity will be interpreted. It will bog us down in the detail of arguments about the order rather than the facts of the particular case. We could end up arguing about a particular order and how it operates rather than public interest immunity and the way public interest immunity should operate. The primary test is whether the risk of harm arising from the release of the information outweighs the senator’s need for information. But that is not even reflected in the document. It is left for the individual senator to surmise that within your order. On the basis of the reasons I have outlined, this is not a document that I recommend to make an order of the Senate. I do understand that I do not have the numbers in this place, but I think it is necessary to outline the concerns that I have with the process that you are seeking to foist on the Senate.

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