(1AA) This section does not apply to a proceeding in the Security Division to which section 39A applies.
Attorney-General may issue public interest certificate
(1) If the Attorney-General certifies, by writing signed by him or her, that the disclosure of information concerning a specified matter, or the disclosure of any matter contained in a document, would be contrary to the public interest:
(a) by reason that it would prejudice the security, defence or international relations of Australia;
(b) by reason that it would involve the disclosure of deliberations or decisions of the Cabinet or of a Committee of the Cabinet; or
(c) for any other reason specified in the certificate that could form the basis for a claim by the Crown in right of the Commonwealth in a judicial proceeding that the information or the matter contained in the document should not be disclosed;
the following provisions of this section have effect.
Protection of information etc.
(2) A person who is required by or under this Act to disclose the information or to produce to, or lodge with, the Tribunal the document in which the matter is contained for the purposes of a proceeding is not excused from the requirement but the Tribunal shall, subject to subsection (3) and to section 46, do all things necessary to ensure that the information or the matter contained in the document is not disclosed to any person other than a member of the Tribunal as constituted for the purposes of the proceeding, and, in the case of a document produced to or lodged with the Tribunal, to ensure the return of the document to the person by whom it was produced or lodged.
Disclosure of information etc.
(3) Where the Attorney-General has certified in accordance with subsection (1) that the disclosure of information, or of matter contained in a document, would be contrary to the public interest but the certificate does not specify a reason referred to in paragraph (1)(a) or (b), the Tribunal shall consider whether the information or the matter should be disclosed to all or any of the parties to the proceeding and, if it decides that the information or the matter should be so disclosed, the Tribunal shall make the information available or permit the part of the document containing the matter to be inspected accordingly.
Attorney-General taken to be a party
(3A) Where, in relation to a proceeding to which the Attorney-General would not, but for this subsection, be a party, the Attorney-General certifies in accordance with subsection (1) that the disclosure of information, or of matter contained in a document, would be contrary to the public interest but the certificate does not specify a reason referred to in paragraph (1)(a) or (b), the Attorney-General shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be a party to the proceeding.
What Tribunal must consider in deciding whether to disclose information etc.
(4) In considering whether information or matter contained in a document should be disclosed as mentioned in subsection (3), the Tribunal shall take as the basis of its consideration the principle that it is desirable in the interest of securing the effective performance of the functions of the Tribunal that the parties to a proceeding should be made aware of all relevant matters but shall pay due regard to any reason specified by the Attorney-General in the certificate as a reason why the disclosure of the information or of the matter contained in the document, as the case may be, would be contrary to the public interest.