Senate debates

Wednesday, 2 August 2023


Department Of Finance: Budget Estimates; Order for the Production of Documents

5:02 pm

Photo of Ross CadellRoss Cadell (NSW, National Party) Share this | Hansard source

At the request of Senator Hume, I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) order for production of documents no. 251 was agreed by the Senate on 19 June 2023, requiring the Minister for Finance to table all briefing materials prepared for the Minister by the Department of Finance for the Budget estimates hearings, and all briefing materials prepared by the department for the members of the Senior Executive Service of the department relating to the Budget estimates hearings,

(ii) the Minister for Finance wrote to the President on 30 June 2023 regarding this order and, despite selectively quoting from Odgers' Australian Senate Practice, did not make any claim of public interest immunity over the documents sought, as required by Odgers and past Senate practice,

(iii) the documents referenced in the order are routinely sought and provided under freedom of information legislation, a mechanism with less scope and force than the powers of the Senate, and

(iv) the department keeps digital copies of the documents sought within its document management system specifically so that they are easily accessible;

(b) rejects the inaccurate and evasive claims by the Minister for Finance in her letter of 30 June 2023 that compliance with the order was 'unprecedented and onerous' and would 'change the way that all government departments and agencies prepared for estimates and, indeed, all committee processes in the future'; and

(c) requires the Minister for Finance to comply with the order by no later than midday on Monday, 7 August 2023.


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