Wednesday, 23 November 2022
Superannuation; Order for the Production of Documents
At the request of Senator Bragg, I move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) order for production of documents no. 52 (the order) agreed by the Senate on 25 October 2022, requiring the Minister representing the Assistant Treasurer to table any briefing notes, file notes and emails received by the Assistant Treasurer from superannuation industry representatives in relation to changes to the superannuation industry payment disclosure requirements, has not been complied with, and
(ii) the Assistant Treasurer, in his response to the order, made a claim of public interest immunity on the basis of privacy, citing concerns individuals and organisations have a reasonable expectation that representations made to the minister are not put on the public record without proper consent and consultation;
(b) rejects the public interest immunity claim made by the Assistant Treasurer on the grounds of privacy, noting that:
(i) claims that information has been collected on the condition that it would be treated as confidential, and therefore cannot be disclosed, is not in itself a ground for a public interest immunity claim,
(ii) it must be established that some harm may occur because of the disclosure of the information sought by the order, and
(iii) any specific harm could be overcome by disclosing information in general terms without the identity of those to whom it relates; and
(c) requires the Minister representing the Assistant Treasurer to comply with the order by no later than midday on 28 November 2022.
The opposition used public interest immunity claims to protect almost everybody in the former government. I talked about Senator McKenzie before, but what about Senator Cash? They used public interest immunity claims to protect her and to avoid producing documents related to the rorting of infrastructure grants and the inflated purchase of the Leppington Triangle land. There isn't a single point where the previous government wasn't prepared to use public interest immunity claims. When properly constructed, public interest immunity claims can be properly used, but the previous government used them to debauch the public sector, to debauch the proper processes of government. What you'll find with the new government is a very strong contrast. It suited the previous government to use these provisions to protect themselves. Again, it's pretty hot to have any criticism in here of this government's approach to those questions.