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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 785 asked in the Legislative Council on 7 November 2017 by Hon Michael Mischin

Parliament: 40 Session: 1
Answered on 7 November 2017

      785. Hon MICHAEL MISCHIN to the minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs:
I refer to answers from the Attorney General and the minister to questions without notice asked on 1 and 2 November about the government's decision not to appeal the Yindjibarndi native title claim decision.
      (1) Will the minister provide detailed chronology of his involvement in the decision-making process leading to the decision not to appeal the Yindjibarndi judgement; and, if not, why not?
      (2) Precisely what public comment has the minister made about the decision following its delivery, and when did he make those comments and to whom?
      (3) When precisely did the minister first receive and consider legal advice on the decision and the desirability and merits of an appeal, and from whom?
      (4) Why, if the decision not to appeal was made on or about 11 October 2017, as claimed by the Attorney General, did the minister not record the decision until 2 November, the date of my question?
      (5) With reference to the Attorney General's answer on 1 November, which other ministers were involved in the decision, what was the extent of their involvement and which argued for and which argued against an appeal?
      (6) How are the minister's reasons for refusing to appeal a decision subject to legal professional privilege, rather than the legal advice he received?
The PRESIDENT: Minister for Environment, thank you. I was distracted by the very long question that has just been asked of you!
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question. The following information is provided on behalf of the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.
      (1) Legal advice was received on or about 29 September 2017. The decision was made on 11 October 2017 and recorded on 2 November 2017.
      (2) The minister released a media statement following the decision by the Federal Court on 20 July 2017.
      (3) State Solicitor's Office advice was received on or about 29 September 2017.
      (4) The decision was made at a meeting on 11 October 2017, with representatives of the State Solicitor's Office and the land approvals and native title unit in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet. The paperwork was not finalised until 2 November 2017.
      (5) The decision was made by the minister responsible for native title, the minister for Aboriginal Affairs.
      (6) The minister's reasons would reveal matters that are the subject of legal professional privilege.