A ... DSR is a document that sets out for the information of the Premier the current status of the department. The Premier may also provide the DSR to the relevant minister. ... The DSRs are prepared in confidence for the consideration of the Cabinet and will be presented to Cabinet by the incoming Premier ... preparation of DSRs ... should be in strict accordance with guidelines for document and information security relating to Cabinet in confidence information. ... If the Coalition is elected to government, the incoming premier and ministers are given the Blue Books. PIAPs provide advice to the incoming premier on how a particular policy can be implemented. ... PIAPs are ‘Cabinet-in- Confidence’ documents and must be treated as such.
- The dominant and one of the substantial purposes to which the DSR and PIAP were created was to brief a minister (the incoming Premier, should the Coalition gain office) in relation to issues to be considered by the Cabinet.
- That purpose permeated the Public Service’s actions in early 2010, commencing a complex process to prepare for a potential change of government or the re-election of the current government. When the new Government was elected, within a very short time, senior officers of DPC held a meeting with the new Premier and his staff at which the Blue Book was handed to the Premier for consideration by him and presumably his staff with the expectation that he would consider using the documents to brief the new Cabinet. The documents were also created for another purpose, being to eventually reach the minister of DSE once appointed. However, that purpose does not displace the dominant purpose.
- The dominant purpose led to the documents being created in a generic form across government departments in the manner which they were created. It appears likely that if DSE prepared the documents to brief its new minister, they would have taken a very different form, likely allowing for more detail. Perhaps they would not have been called DSR or PIAP.
DSR was written to brief the Premier, as the chair of Cabinet, to:
- consider and determine the appropriate structure of Cabinet subcommittees having regard to the resources available and issues facing the Government; and
- provide the necessary context in which decisions in Cabinet can be made.
PIAP was written to brief the Premier to:
- inform him of issues likely to form part of the Cabinet agenda;
- provide advice on issues connected with the incoming government's pre-election promises, in anticipation that they will be discussed in Cabinet shortly after its establishment; and
- provide an informed assessment of pre-election promises that can be considered by Cabinet for the purposes of determining what its position ought to be in government.
- While it was ultimately up to an incoming Premier to decide whether to in fact use the documents to brief a new Cabinet, the purpose at the time the documents were created was formed with the realistic expectation that the documents would be put to Cabinet to consider issues raised in them. They were not intended to be placed before Cabinet only for information purposes.
- The Age submitted parts of the documents should be released under section 28 (3), if they contain purely statistical technical or scientific material the release of which would not involve the disclosure of any deliberation or decision of the Cabinet. With Macnamara DP’s discussion of section 28(3) in Mildenhall No. 1 8 VAR 1995 284 at 293 in mind, I have reviewed the documents and find no such information.