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Ministerial Diaries Amendment Bill Reintroduced

01 June 2022

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: The bill that I am introducing today seeks to amend the Freedom of Information Act to require the publication of ministerial diaries. This is a really important transparency measure. It happens in Queensland and the ACT, and it is time for it to happen in South Australia. I think the community has a right to know who has the ear of their ministers of government. All that I am proposing is that these official diaries be made publicly available and that they be published periodically online, as occurs in some of those other jurisdictions.

It is well-known in our democracy that sunlight is the best disinfectant. This is a really good way of seeing, with politicians who are performing key decision-making functions, who it is who has their ear, who is seeking to influence them and who is seeking to lobby them. This is information that the public has the right to know.

We know that faith in democracy and democratic institutions is at an all-time low. People are not happy with business as usual and one of the reasons for that, I think, is a lack of faith in our politicians and in our elected representatives. One way we can redress that is to ensure that there is maximum accountability and transparency. This is a simple measure that is being proposed that I think would assist in achieving that.

I hope that all parties will get behind this. I intend to bring it to a vote in coming weeks, and I really do hope that the Labor Party get on board. Now that they are in government this would be a really important reform for them to champion and to demonstrate a real desire to be more accountable and transparent with the South Australian community. Of course, for the opposition, this is an opportunity for them to demonstrate their desire to see government function differently in this state. I hope all parties will get on board and I look forward to further discussions in the weeks ahead.