Monday, 4 September 2017
Asylum Seekers; Order for the Production of Documents
I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 430 standing in my name by changing the date in the final paragraph from 4 September to 11 September. For the clarity of those in the Senate, that is simply changing the date by which I am asking the government to provide the relevant information to the Senate.
I move the motion as amended:
That the Senate—
(a) notes media reports which contain many of the details of arrangements between the Australian Government and the Government of the United States of America for the resettlement of refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru;
(b) notes the failure of the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection to comply with the order of the Senate made on 8 February 2017 to provide to the Senate all information relating to the refugee resettlement deal for people on Manus Island and Nauru between Australia and the United States of America;
(c) also notes that the Minister's response, tabled on 15 February 2017, does not set out the particular harm to the public interest that would result by providing these documents, but instead relies on a letter to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, dated 7 January 2017, in relation to a tangentially related inquiry;
(d) does not accept that a blanket claim to withhold information from the Senate and its committees regarding the Government's negotiations for the resettlement of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru meets the terms of the Senate order of continuing effect relating to public interest immunity claims; and
(e) orders that there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, no later than 11 September 2017, all documents and correspondence held by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, or the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, or members of his staff, created after 1 November 2015, relating to the resettlement of asylum seekers or refugees previously and currently on Manus Island and Nauru, including, but not limited to:
(i) the terms of the arrangement, or arrangements, with the United States of America,
(ii) all letters and emails between the department and the minister,
(iii) all briefing notes, including all ministerial briefing notes,
(iv) all internal departmental emails and memos, and
(v) all recorded or noted phone calls and meetings, including meeting agendas and minutes, and the names and positions of persons present.