Thursday, 14 May 2020
National COVID-19 Coordination Commission and Manufacturing Working Group; Order for the Production of Documents
(1) The Senate orders that there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Prime Minister by no later than 5pm on 25 May 2020, the following documents relating to the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission and the associated Manufacturing Working Group:
(a) all agendas and minutes of meetings, including:
(i) evidence noting recusal of members from discussions,
(ii) any advice provided by Members or Special Advisors, or sought by the Commission, regarding a conflict of interest or perceived conflict of interest of any Member or Special Advisor, and
(iii) any person attending the meetings;
(b) all documents outlining processes relating to the appointment of Members by the Government, including a list of any persons invited to be a Member who declined the invitation;
(c) details of any Special Advisors or other person appended to the Commission or Working Group appointed by the Government or the Commission;
(d) details of any payments made to Members or Special Advisors by the Government in relation to their involvement in the Commission or Working Group;
(e) all documents outlining shareholdings and financial interests of the Members or Special Advisors, including declarations made by Members;
(f) all documents outlining the process for managing conflicts of interest or perceived conflicts of interest for Members;
(g) all documents outlining the process for managing conflicts of interest or perceived conflicts of interest for Special Advisors or other persons appended to the Commission or Working Group;
(h) a list of all stakeholders that the Commission, Working Group or Special Advisors have met with; and
(i) all documents relating to projects currently under consideration by the Commission, the Working Group or any Special Advisor;
(2) If the Senate is not sitting when the documents are ready for presentation, the documents are to be presented to the President under Standing Order 166;
(3) In the event the Minister fails to table the reports and correspondence, the Senate requires the Minister representing the Prime Minister to attend the Senate on the following sitting day, by no later than 10:15 am, to provide an explanation, of no more than 10 minutes, of the Government's failure to table the documents;
(4) Any senator may move to take note of the explanation required by paragraph (3).
(5) Any motion under paragraph (4) may be debated for no longer than 60 minutes, shall have precedence over all government business until determined, and senators may speak to the motion for not more than 10 minutes each.
The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission is an important part of the government's response to this crisis and will help advise the government on actions to anticipate and mitigate the economic and social impacts of the pandemic. Transparency of matters relating to the crisis is important, which is why we supported the establishment of the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 and are facilitating agencies and departments to appear before it. That committee is the appropriate mechanism to seek the information requested in this motion, and this is a significant duplication of the committee's work.
The response to the Chinese coronavirus by the Morrison government has at times been delayed but has, overall, kept the vast majority of Australians safe compared to other First World nations. While we appear to have suppressed the spread of the virus, its economic destruction continues and the risk of a second wave of infection is still not over. Until the Chief Medical Officer declares Australia is rid of COVID-19, I won't support the Greens motion to go on a witch hunt. One Nation will not support the motion.