Senate debates

Thursday, 15 June 2023


Public Interest Disclosure Amendment (Review) Bill 2022; In Committee

10:56 am

Photo of David ShoebridgeDavid Shoebridge (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

by leave—I move Greens amendments (4) and (5) on sheet 1870 revised together:

(4) Schedule 1, item 88, page 47 (line 20), omit "Parliament;", substitute "Parliament.".

(5) Schedule 1, item 88, page 47 (lines 21 and 22), omit paragraph 69(4)(d).

These amendments aim to remove the exemption for MOP—members of parliament—staff for access to the PID Act, the Public Interest Disclosure Act. As I understand it, the opposition that may come to these provisions is that there are potentially other ways in which members of parliament staff can raise their concerns and that there are ongoing steps to provide other protections for MOP staff. But let's be clear: the Greens are moving here a recommendation of the House of Reps committee in 2009—so 14 years ago. The House of Reps committee said members of parliament staff should have access to public interest disclosures. Nothing happened. It was also a recommendation of the Set the standard report, which said that parliamentary staff employed under the MOP(S) Act should be included as public officials in section 69 of the PID Act—and that hasn't been implemented. And it is also a recommendation of the Moss review.

How many times do we have to be told that we should be providing this accessway to members of staff in this place? How many times have we been told that giving access to the PID Act to members of staff is an important integrity measure? If there is an argument that there are potentially other avenues that MOP staff can take, then fine; let there be other avenues. But why wouldn't we provide as many ways as possible for MOP(S) Act staff to make a disclosure and have the protections they need to feel safe? That's what the PID Act does; it allows people who work for the government to make a disclosure in the public interest and do it in a way that they feel safe. That's why we're moving these amendments, and that's why we'd hoped to get support from the rest of the chamber.


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