Senate debates

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Documents

Federal Court; Order for the Production of Documents

3:58 pm

Photo of Stirling GriffStirling Griff (SA, Nick Xenophon Team) Share this | | Hansard source

I, and also on behalf of Senators Hanson and Hinch, move:

That—

(a) the Senate notes that:

  (i) on 20 March 2018, the Senate agreed to an order for the production of documents directing that there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Attorney-General, by 9am on 22 March 2018:

(A) the March 2014 KPMG report into the funding of federal courts, and

(B) the Ernst & Young costings in response to the KPMG report, and

  (ii) to date, the Minister has failed to comply with the order for the production of documents;

(b) the Senate requires the Minister to table documents in full compliance with the above order for the production of documents by 5 pm on 27 March 2018; and

(c) in the event that the Minister does not table documents in full compliance with the order, the Senate orders that:

  (i) the Minister representing the Attorney-General is required to attend the Senate at 9am on 28 March 2018 and, prior to government business being called on, to explain why the Minister has not complied with the order of the Senate of 20 March 2018,

  (ii) in the event that the Minister provides an explanation, any senator may, without notice, move a motion to take note of the Minister's statement,

  (iii) in the event that the Minister does not provide an explanation, any senator may, without notice, move a motion with regard to the Minister's failure to provide an explanation, and

  (iv) any motion under paragraph (c) (ii) or (iii) may be debated for no longer than 1 hour, and have precedence over all government business until determined.

Photo of James McGrathJames McGrath (Queensland, Liberal National Party, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of James McGrathJames McGrath (Queensland, Liberal National Party, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

The Attorney-General has claimed public interest immunity over these documents. The disclosure of these documents would impact on the government's ability to make fully informed decisions in relation to the structure and administration of federal courts by have a chilling effect on the participation and advice of the courts. This would cause harm to the public interest as it would undermine the government's ability to support the courts in improving their efficiency and effectiveness to the benefit of all Australian families.

Question agreed to.