Wednesday, 12 September 2012
Fair Work Australia
I, and also on behalf of Senator Fierravanti-Wells, move:
That the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee publish all the documents received from Fair Work Australia concerning its investigation into Mr Craig Thomson and the Health Services Union.
The committee decided not to release the source documents provided to it from Fair Work Australia in relation to this matter. This decision was taken after careful consideration of the request to release the material, which runs to many thousands of pages. The committee was concerned to minimise potential invasions of privacy that might be caused to individuals through the publication of documents, in particular those who are not subject to allegations and those who are not public figures.
The Fair Work Australia report is a comprehensive distillation of the original source material and this report has been made public. While the report itself runs to over 1,100 pages, the conclusions it reaches had regard to the material covering many thousands of pages. Release of the supporting material could easily give rise to misinterpretation of the evidence, therefore reducing clarity rather than enhancing it. The government stands by the conclusions of the committee and does not support the motion.
Mr President, I seek leave to make a one-minute statement.
The Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee was delivered seven volumes of supporting information to underpin the Fair Work Australia report findings into Mr Thomson and the HSU. The committee did decide to release the report. I was told that I was not able to talk about the private deliberations of the committee. Suffice to say that we were not required to go to the floor of the Senate to release the report. Fair Work Australia has made a treasure-trove of documents available to the Senate, which the coalition believes should be publicly available. I have personally seen the documents and Senator Fierravanti-Wells has personally read all seven volumes of the documents. The coalition believes that the public interest is such that all those documents should be made available.