Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Questions on Notice
Prime Minister (Question No. 1546)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister in the Senate on 9 February 2012:
With reference to the agreements to form government, signed by the Prime Minister with the Australian Greens and with independent members Robert Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, both of which state that The Parties will work together and with other parliamentarians to: Refer issues of public interest disclosure, where the Senate or House votes on the floor against the decision of a Minister, to the Information Commissioner, who will arbitrate on the release of relevant documents and report to both Houses (Clause 3e in the Labor-Greens agreement and Clause 3d in the Labor-Independent Members agreement):
(1) Why is the Information Commissioner still not in a position to arbitrate on a refusal by the Government to provide information requested by the Senate, as promised by the Government over 18 months ago.
(2) Over the past 18 months, has the Prime Minister, her office or the department received any representations from Senator Brown, any other member or senator of the Australian Greens, Mr Oakeshott or Mr Windsor insisting that the Government deliver on this commitment; if so, what was the nature and content of each of these representations.
(3) What steps, if any, have been taken by the Government to deliver on this commitment.
(4) Does the Government plan to ever deliver on this commitment; if so, when.
(5) In regard to an order of the Senate passed on 1 November 2011 requiring the release of information about the cost of measures related to the introduction of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax over the forward estimates:
(a) is the Prime Minister aware that the Government has completely ignored the order;
(b) how is the failure to comply with the order consistent with the Prime Ministers promise of a new era of openness and transparency in government; and
(c) when will the Government comply with the order.
The Prime Minister has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:
(1) to (4) Discussions between the Government and the Australian Greens and relevant independent members of the Parliament about mechanisms to implement this commitment are ongoing.
(5) Documents in response to this order were tabled in the Senate on 9 February 2012.