Rex Patrick and Prime Minister vie for secret over COVID-19 medical advice

Independent Senator Rex Patrick has challenged the Morrison Government in the Executive Court of Appeals on allegations of secrecy regarding the National Cabinet’s decision on COVID-19 response.

Patrick believes that the domestic cabinet is not well-structured and that the prime minister is “unilaterally and illegally wrapping a secret blanket” in response to the government’s COVID-19 response.

Currently, the “Cabinet” is eligible for “Class Exemption”, so the National Cabinet is exempt from the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. This means that all medical advice to the National Cabinet, Australia’s Chief Committee on Emergency Medical Protection, and the National COVID-19 Coordinating Committee is secretly hidden.

Talk to ABC Radio On Wednesday, Patrick said he thought the Morrison government’s decision to call the weekly meeting the Cabinet was counterproductive. It acts like a council and allows you to publish the document to the public depending on its content.

“I actually say that keeping information secret from the general public is counterproductive,” Patrick said. “I would like to know how they reached their strategy of purchasing a particular vaccine and how they decided to deploy it. What was the rationale behind the blockade?”

“The more information we provide to the public, the more confident they are,” he said.

Senator Rex Patrick Australia
Rex Patrick will speak in the Senate of the Houses of Parliament in Canberra, Australia, on July 4, 2019. (Tracey Nearmy / Getty Images)

Patrick added that information on topics such as commercial arrangements and the capabilities of the Australian Defense Force “should of course be protected.”

The Prime Minister’s lawyer resists Patrick’s request to Australians to see medical advice that drives decisions on borders, blockages, vaccinations, school closures, elderly caregiver deaths, and disability failures. There is.

Andrew Berger, QC, said in a referee Wednesday that it was irrelevant that Scott Morrison had no state cabinet before it was set up last year.

“The national cabinet is a committee of the cabinet to function that way,” he said.

Keeping these arguments confidential under cabinet practice also enabled candid discussions in these “exceptional times,” he said.

Judge Richard White, who oversees the case, withheld his decision after an all-day hearing.

AAP contributed to this article.

Posted on