Wednesday, 2 August 2023
Department Of Finance: Budget Estimates; Order for the Production of Documents
As noted in the letter of response to Senator Hume's original OPD, the Albanese government recognises and respects the Senate's important scrutiny role. However, we maintain that the scope of documents sought by this motion is unprecedented and burdensome. It risks impairing the ability of agencies to support future estimates hearings and could work against the Senate, its committees, processes and procedures. Contrary to the assertion in Senator Hume's motion, estimates briefings prepared for SES-level officials have never been provided in response to FOI by the Department of Finance, certainly not by the former coalition government, which was allergic to transparency and addicted to secrets, as we all remember. I remind senators of the alternative mechanisms available to scrutinise the government's work, which includes the very detailed freedom-of-information processes.