The majority voted against the amendments introduced by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, which means they were unsuccessful. The amendments would have inserted provisions to repeal subsection 7(1) and Division 1 of Part I of Schedule 2 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982, which dealt with the exemption of certain persons and bodies from the provisions of that Act.
Background to the bill
The bill was introduced to:
- remove the power to issue conclusive certificates;
- revoke existing conclusive certificates if a new access request is received;
- implement measures to protect sensitive information in proceedings before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal; and
- make consequential amendments.(More information about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum, is available here
The abolition of conclusive certificates was part of the Labor Party's 2007 election policy commitment.(Read more about this policy commitment in the bills digest. ) This would have addressed the current situation where a Minister can issue a certificate that exempts a document from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 if the Minister is satisfied that an exemption applies (e.g. in relation to national security).(Read more about conclusive certificates in the bills digest.)