Senate debates

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

GST Arrangements


3:36 pm

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Shadow Assistant Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the Senate—
notes that:
the Government has refused to provide the information requested by the Senate in relation to advice to Government about the requirement for unanimous agreement from all parties to change the GST arrangements,
the Government did not justify its refusal by pointing to a recognised public interest ground and by explaining any harm to the public interest from releasing that information,
both the 1999 Intergovernmental Agreement on the Reform of Commonwealth-State Financial Relations (GST Agreement) as well as the Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations in 2008 require unanimous agreement from all parties to make any changes to GST arrangements,
there is no unanimous agreement to change the GST arrangements, and
in its Incoming Government Brief, Treasury advised the Government that ‘Western Australia has indicated that it is not prepared to agree to proposed amendments to the IGA notwithstanding that they preserve the current arrangements for Western Australia’ and that ‘as changes can only be made to the IGA by unanimous agreement of all parties, alternative approaches may need to be considered to give effect to the financing arrangements for other jurisdictions’;
orders again that there be laid on the table by 5 pm on Thursday, 25 November 2010, any advice (including legal advice and advice from the Solicitor-General or the Australian Government Solicitor) to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet or the Department of the Treasury, or advice from these departments to their respective Ministers, concerning the need for unanimous agreement to vary GST arrangements;
notes the agreements between the Government and other parties and independents to refer disputes about public interest disclosures to the Information Commissioner, who will arbitrate on the release of documents; and
orders that, if the Government does not produce the information required by this order within the specified timeframe, there be laid on the table by 15 December 2010, a report on the matter by the Information Commissioner, including a review of the adequacy of the grounds specified by the Government for its refusal to produce the information and, if applicable his arbitration on the release of the information.

Question put.