Thursday, 28 June 2018
Special Purpose Flights; Order for the Production of Documents
At the request of Senator Farrell, I move:
That there be laid on the table by the Minister for Defence Senator Payne), by no later than 3.30 pm on 28 June 2018, the schedule of special purpose flights for the period from 1 July to 31 December 2017.
I seek leave to make a short statement.
The opposition is moving this motion today to ensure compliance with the guidelines for the use of special purpose aircraft published by the Department of Finance. Under paragraph 25 of these guidelines, the Minister for Defence is responsible for tabling the schedule of special purpose flights:
…in June (for the six months ending the previous 31 December) and December (for the six months ending the previous 30 June).
Regrettably, under this government, the schedule has routinely been tabled late. For example, the flight schedules for 1 January 2016 to 30 June 2016, which were to be tabled by the end of December, were not tabled until 8 August 2017—over eight months late. Six other schedules, out of nine, have been tabled late by the government.
The convention is that schedules are tabled in the last sitting day of June and December. Today is the last scheduled sitting day in June. I note the opposition has only taken this step after inquiring of the minister's office and giving the minister advanced notice of this motion, which, regrettably, has not resulted in the schedule being produced.
The government opposes this motion. As per longstanding convention, the schedule is tabled twice yearly by the government once data collection and verification activities have occurred. The schedule or special purpose flights for the period 1 July to 31 December 2017 will be tabled in accordance with standard processes.
Question agreed to.