Monday, 2 May 2016
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources; Order for the Production of Documents
At the request of Senator Cameron, I move:
That there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, no later than 3.30 pm on Tuesday, 3 May 2016, the correspondence between the former Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Dr Paul Grimes, and the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, ordered to be provided in the Acting Australian Information Commissioner's decisions The Herald and Weekly Times and Department of Agriculture  AICmr 16 (17 March 2016), and Joel Fitzgibbon and Department of Agriculture  AICmr 17 (17 March 2016).
I thank the chamber. The public interest at stake is the principle of confidentiality of communications between ministers and secretaries, which the government believes is central to effective governance and public administration. The AAT's review will assist in the development of that area of the law and should be allowed to proceed without interference. Production of the document in the way proposed would prejudice the impartial adjudication of a matter currently before a tribunal, which is of course an established and accepted ground for a public interest immunity claim sub judice convention.
Question agreed to.