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Ministerial Diaries Bill Passes Upper House

7 July 2022

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I want to thank members for their contributions: the Hon. Kyam Maher, the Hon. Michelle Lensink and the Hon. Frank Pangallo. I am very disappointed to hear that the government will not be supporting this reform, given it is a very straightforward reform, but as the honourable leader has noted this was the position of the Labor Party in opposition as well is in government.

Nonetheless, it is a very disappointing position that they have taken, because the Labor government ministers over in the ACT, New South Wales and Queensland are all subject to this level of transparency and scrutiny, and I cannot really comprehend why Labor ministers here in South Australia would not want to subject themselves to the same level of scrutiny.

We have always believed in the Greens that transparency is the best disinfectant—let the light shine—and that the public has a right to know who is meeting with government ministers and for what reason. The Attorney-General has flagged privacy concerns, but the bill deals with those issues. It makes it very clear that personal meetings are not to be disclosed and confidential information is not to be disclosed. It also gives the minister the power to appeal to the tribunal to request that information not be disclosed if they consider it is going to compromise the private information of an individual, so the claims that have been made are not accurate.

I am hopeful that the bill will pass this chamber. If it does, I hope that the government will reconsider its position in the other place. Of course, the Greens look forward to seeing the detail of the other transparency reforms the Labor Party has flagged tonight, and our position on political donations is well known and longstanding. However, this is not an either/or proposition: we can support this reform and also take other action to improve transparency. Certainly, that is what the Greens will be advocating for.