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MEDIA RELEASE: Federal Government brings Bill to hide documents about ‘National Cabinet’s’ Covid-19 response and more

Responding to the Federal Government’s tabling of legislation designed to exclude National Cabinet from Freedom of Information Act requests, Isabelle Reinecke, Executive Director of Grata Fund, said:

“This is a blatant attempt by the Prime Minister to undermine the rule of law so that he can continue to manage the national Covid-19 response without any public accountability.”

“This is a clear assault on democracy and the public’s right to know what decisions are being made in our name ” 

“Having lost in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the Prime Minister is now trying to evade his legal responsibilities by changing the law to give himself the power of secrecy to manage the ‘politics of the day’, which absolutely goes against the best interest of the public and our democracy.” 

“If this legislation passes, then the Prime Minister will be able to hide advice from fossil fuel executives including those advising on issues such as the so-called ‘gas led’ recovery, the national quarantine system and the rollout of vaccines to at risk groups like First Nations communities, people in aged care and people living with disability. In the past, information about deliberations between state and federal governments have been publicly accessible, so it begs the question, what is he so desperate to hide?”

Notes to editors

  • The COAG Amendment Legislation Bill 2021 would extend the ‘Cabinet exemption’ to the Freedom of Information Act to ‘National Cabinet’.

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