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Greens call on Roxon: back off plans to limit FOI on parliament

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 30 May 2012

Attorney General Nicola Roxon should back off on her plans to shut down Freedom of Information laws applying to parliament, Greens Senator and democracy spokesperson Lee Rhiannon said today ("Roxon to restrict freedom of access", The Australian, p 5 today).

"Now we know that the FOI laws apply to parliament and MPs' activities this should be welcomed and the public informed. Anything less will be another bad news story for the government," Senator Rhiannon said.

"Public money is what keeps the House of Representative and the Senate functioning and the public have a right to know how that money is spent. Parliament should not be beyond the reach of FOI.

"The Attorney General will look very foolish if she tries to present this as a slip up.

"Greater disclosure of the workings of parliament and the work of MPs is critical to a healthy democracy.

"The Attorney General should not try and shut down scrutiny by saying there was a slip up with the law.

"The Australian Greens have welcomed the news that the Australian Information Commissioner has found that parliament is subject to FOI laws, and that has been the case for the past decade.

"Attempts to shield the workings of parliament from scrutiny by exempting the Departments of the House of Representatives, the Senate and Parliamentary Services from FOI laws were always a bad look.

"The Attorney General will look very foolish if she tries to present this as a slip up.

"While it is good news that the FOI laws apply to parliament, the information still needs to be made more accessible for the public. All parliamentary department websites should include up to date, easily searchable records of expenditure by MPs," Senator Rhiannon said.


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