The Government welcomes the unanimous passage of the Archives and other legislation Amendment Bill 2021, with amendments, through the House of Representatives to ensure protections for participants in the independent review into Commonwealth Parliamentary workplaces.
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said the Government had listened to concerns raised in relation to the Bill by helping to draft and supporting an amendment to maintain the right of individuals to access documents provided to the Review but created for other purposes.
“The intent of this legislation is to ensure that all participants in the Review feel supported and have confidence knowing that in sharing their experiences their personal and sensitive information will be safeguarded and their privacy respected,” Minister Birmingham said.
“This legislation provides participants, whether that be current or former staff, or anyone else, with the assurance that if they make a submission and that if they wish for their participation to remain confidential that it will remain so.
“An amendment has also been made to the Bill that maintains the right of individuals to access documents provided to the Review but created for other purposes. This means exemptions to the Archives and Freedom of Information Acts will only apply to documents or submissions that are created specifically for this specific Review.
“I thank all the various parties for their ongoing consultation throughout this process and unanimous support for this amendment, particularly Zali Steggall MP and former staff who proposed the amendment.”
These protections, including the additional amendment will apply from the establishment of the Review. The amended Bill will be considered by the Senate on the next Senate sitting day.