Search This Blog

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What did cabinet consider on Medicare and contestability?

With Labor seeking to make the future of Medicare a central campaign issue, and the Prime Minister and other ministers adamant that Medicare will never be privatised, Freedom of Information is in the news.

The PM and others assert that "Cabinet has not considered outsourcing any part of Medicare services." 

While separately Sean Parnell and the Community and Public Service Union produce FOI decision notices refusing access to relevant documents regarding Medicare on the basis of the cabinet document exemption.

The decisions cite different sections of the exemption.

Parnell was denied access to parts of a letter from the Minister for Health to the Prime minister on the basis of S 34(1)(d) and s 34(3). 

Reasons given for the former claim are that parts of the document "contain information which is a draft of information ultimately included in a submission to Cabinet in relation to the payments contestability agenda," and for the latter, that disclosure would reveal "matters considered by Cabinet in relation to the payments contestability agenda."

Whatever was withheld-and none of us outside government know- the decision maker in the Department of Health confidently asserted it was information that had gone to cabinet or  if disclosed would reveal a cabinet deliberation or decision in relation to the contestability agenda.

The response to the CPSU request isn't evidence that something went to cabinet.

The decision maker cites (page 13-its a big document) S 34 (1)(a) in claiming exemption for some documents withheld which "were proposed to be submitted to cabinet" and were prepared for that dominant purpose, and S 34 (1)(c) in claiming others were brought into existence for the dominant purpose of" briefing the minister on a submission which is proposed to be submitted to cabinet." 

Now back to the politicians and who says what.....

No comments:

Post a Comment