Thursday, 9 March 2023
Budget; Order for the Production of Documents
I welcome the opportunity to explain to the Senate why the government is not able to release the Budget Process Operational Rules at this time. I also I acknowledge that we did release the last BPORs, as they're called, after the October budget as a sign of transparency and accountability. The information was made public, and I have signalled that the government will be in a position to consider doing so again after the May budget is finalised. What the Senate has asked for is something that has never been asked for in this place before and something the opposition when in government never, ever, ever did, which was to provide the budget operational rules together before the budget is finalised.
I have said before that I think this is unreasonable, and I maintain that position. I understand why the opposition might form the view that they should be released, despite it never having been done or considered relevant when they were in power. But I would urge others who have supported this order for production of documents, especially the Greens, to consider the fact that we are trying to be more transparent and accountable than the current opposition and former government ever was. We have provided this information once the budget has been finalised and have said that we will look to do so again. But we do believe that it's unreasonable to release this document whilst the budget is being put together at this time.
The document directly informs the cabinet and ERC decisions. I think there are very strong reasons why, especially when we have foreshadowed that we will look to release that once the budget is finalised, it's not reasonable or fair and in fact is deeply hypocritical for those opposite to seek that document before the budget is finalised.