How Michael Forshaw voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should amend freedom of information (FOI) legislation to increase public access to government data and documents

Division Michael Forshaw Supporters vote Division outcome

13th Aug 2009, 11:49 AM – Senate Freedom of Information (Removal of Conclusive Certificates and Other Measures) Bill 2008 [2009] — In Committee — Remove deeming provisions exempting agencies

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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.)

absent Yes Not passed by a large majority

How "never voted" is worked out

Normally a person's votes count towards a score which is used to work out a simple phrase to summarise their position on a policy. However in this case Michael Forshaw was absent during all divisions for this policy. So, it's impossible to say anything concrete other than that they have "never voted" on this policy.