NSW government forced to hand over papers

Crossed the floor: Matthew Mason-Cox. AAP Image/Paul Miller

SYDNEY, AAP – The NSW government has sensationally backed down in its fight to keep a swathe of controversial documents secret after one of its senior MPs was threatened with suspension.

The government has for months refused to cough up documents shedding light on some of its most controversial policies, despite being required by parliament standing orders to do so.

The papers relate the government’s multi-billion dollar stadium spend, a plan to move the Powerhouse Museum to western Sydney and an independent review into child protection services.

The government’s secrecy prompted rogue Liberal MP Matthew Mason-Cox to cross the floor on his own government on Tuesday night and vote to censure his colleague Don Harwin.

The vote of no confidence forced Mr Harwin, the government leader in the upper house, to produce the secret documents by Wednesday morning, or risk being suspended from parliament.

Mr Harwin is first NSW Liberal government leader to be censured, and would be the first to be suspended from the house.

While Mr Harwin did not produce the documents by 9.30am, he told the house on Wednesday morning he intended to make them available by Friday afternoon.

A crossbench source told AAP they would wait until Friday to ‘fully celebrate’ the government’s concession.

Labor MP Adam Searle said the radical move to censure Mr Harwin was prompted by the government’s continued secrecy over many of its major projects.

‘It is addicted to secrecy,’ Mr Searle said in a statement.

‘The Berejiklian Government just does not want to let the public know what they’re up to.’

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