Jared Owens writing about the decision in The Australian said "(t)he tribunal also found the advice was protected by the Parliamentary Privilege (sic) Act, since the 1997 summary formed part of "proceedings in parliament." This seemed to suggest that the PPA provided other grounds for refusal of access.That's not exactly what the Tribunal decided.
“In response to the mounting interest in generic packaging, the Commonwealth obtained advice from the Attorney-General’s Department on the legal and constitutional barriers to generic packaging. This advice indicates that the Commonwealth does possess powers under the Constitution to introduce such packaging but that any attempt to use these powers to introduce further tobacco control legislation needs to be considered in the context of the increasingly critical attention being focussed on the necessity, appropriateness, justification and basis for regulation by such bodies as the Office of Regulatory Review, the High Court, and the Senate Standing Committees. In addition, further regulation needs to be considered in the context of Australia’s international obligations regarding free trade under the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT), and our obligations under international covenants such as the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). To date, generic packaging of tobacco products has not been implemented anywhere in the world. As such, there is no international experience of the effect of generic packaging on consumer behaviour. In addition, there is limited primary research on the potential effect of generic packaging on the factors underlying or relevant to the uptake and cessation of tobacco consumption.”
The case concerns the FOI act as it was before 1 November 2010. A change from that date to s 42 explicitly excluded from the privilege exemption any document for which privilege has been waived. Deputy President Forgie considered the change [41-44], concluding that the amendment enshrines the interpretation of the section already adopted by the Federal Court and binding upon the Tribunal.
Update on a related matter.