Senator Rhiannon's motion calling for the tabling of the Hawke report passed the Senate yesterday. Minister Senator Wong explained the Government doesn't have the report.
Thus end of section for this parliament without discussion or debate about the state of freedom of information and how things stand two and a half years after the 2010 reforms.
Oh, almost forgot, Parliament did manage to pass legislation, Hawke report or no, to provide a blanket exemption from the FOI act for the parliamentary departments that spend $170 million to support that august body and the senators and members there who, ahem, guard our interests.
Senator WONG (South Australia—Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister for Finance and Deregulation) (15:46): by leave—In relation to the motion that the Senate has just dealt with, the government has opposed the motion on the basis that the documents in question do not exist. In October 2012, the then Attorney-General released the terms of reference for the review. The legislation requires that a written report of the review be prepared and be laid before the parliament within 15 sitting days after the minister receives the report. I am advised that the report has not yet been completed, though I am advised by the Attorney-General that Dr Hawke is at an advanced stage of work on the report. As I understand it, the Attorney-General's office has advised Senator Rhiannon's office of this fact—that the Attorney-General is yet to receive the report in question, let alone have an opportunity to prepare a response. Therefore the government is not in a position to table either the report or the government response at this time.Onward and upward......