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Monday, October 27, 2014

The Greens roll the dice in pushing for publication of Packer's casino agreement

Sean Nicholls reported in the Sydney Morning Herald last week on the tussle between the Executive and the Legislative Council over public access to the NSW government's "VIP gaming management agreement" with James Packer's Crown Resorts. 

This is a rare, maybe the first instance of a challenge to the long standing NSW system for resolving disputed public interest immunity/ executive privilege claims arising from an order to produce documents.

The Greens John Kaye is seeking to contest the opinion of the independent arbiter that parts of the agreement concerning preventing organised crime infiltration and corruption at the casino qualified for privilege and should not be publicly released.The arbiter rejected other claims for privilege. The matter has been referred to the Privileges Committee.

The NSW system has been hailed as the best in the country for dealing with such issues. As is well known the Senate has no system for resolving such disputes. 

So far despite the spark to Senate assertiveness from the enlarged third party and independent crossbenches there has been no visible sign of interest in this parliament in doing anything about it.

Each Procedural information Bulletin includes a section on Senate orders for production of documents.

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