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Joint Select Committee Meeting Update

The Joint Select Committee Meeting to Review of the Access to Information Act 2002, scheduled for Thursday October 29, 2009, did not materialize as planned due to the absence of a quorum.

Chairman and minister without portfolio with responsibility for Information and Telecommunications, the Hon. Daryl Vaz, called off the meeting when Opposition Senators Sandrea Falconer and Lisa Hanna and Government senator Dr. Ronald Robinson were the only members present, one hour after the scheduled start.

The Chairman chided the absent members and indicated that it was unfair to keep the members and those present waiting indefinitely. The Minister offered apologies for some of the absent members and spoke about the importance the work which the Committee must undertake and the need to expedite and complete the review of the legislation. After highlighting the unfortunate reason (lack of a quorum) for the cancellation of the meeting Minister Vaz stated that he would be contacting committee members in person to voice his displeasure, and implore those who could not or would not be able to serve this committee for professional or personal reasons to ask to be relieved of their duties.

The Director of the Access to Information Unit, Damian Cox and his team, came in for commendation from Senators Ronald Robinson and Sandrea Falconer for their sterling effort in completing draft documents containing recommendations for improving the ATI Act on short notice after the September 17 meeting.

The committee is scheduled to reconvene on Thursday November 19, 2009, in keeping with a set of dates outlined for the committee going forward.

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