Senate debates

Tuesday, 10 December 2013


Asylum Seekers; Order for the Production of Documents

5:07 pm

Photo of Kim CarrKim Carr (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader for Science) Share this | Hansard source

by leave—I move:

That the Senate take note of the documents.

This is a nonstatement by the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. I note that the government has once again failed to comply with an order of the Senate. This is the second time in as many weeks and, unfortunately, once again the minister has claimed public interest immunity. I remind the senator that it is all very well for the government to make a claim of public interest immunity; it is another thing for the Senate to accept that claim, because that is a matter for the Senate itself to determine. It is an extraordinary position that she has taken here today.

I observe that in the previous debate she indicated that the Labor government had failed to comply with orders to produce documents on 75 occasions. Of course, that was a gross exaggeration of the situation. In the six years of the Labor government, the government cited public interest immunity on nine occasions—that is right, nine occasions, Minister, and they were spread across all portfolios, unlike with this particular government which seems determined to hide all information it can on the issue of asylum seeker policy.

Very little is known about the incident that took place on Friday, 15 November 2013, which is the subject of this return to order, other than we understand an Australian government vessel ripped the bow out of a boat and put 40 people into the water and, as a consequence of the government's tow-back policy—


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