With hands shaken, biscuits eaten and three-plus hours of democracy's time, it's just about time to scoot.
So what did we learn from the SLCARC? (see 1.03 pm post).
- The Senate wants more information about Operation Sovereign Borders for accountability reasons;
- The government does not want to provide more information about Operation Sovereign Borders for operational reasons;
- Kim Carr can really get the decibels going;
- OSB is not a military operation. It's only military-led; and
- Hypothecate is a word. Not the name of a pharmacy in Nimbin.
Now that we are all so much more the wiser, Andrew Meares, Alex Ellinghausen and I will [REST OF SENTENCE REDACTED FOR OPERATIONAL REASONS].
We can report that despite the confrontational atmosphere of the hearing, everybody shook hands at the end.
Yes, even Scott Morrison and Sarah Hanson-Young!
And in food-related news, on his way out, Angus Campbell asked if he could have a biscuit from the selection available.
As there was no operational reason to deny him, the OSB commander was able to choose an Anzac biscuit.
So no doubts about his affection for the home team.
With what could only be described as a whimper, the hearing has been adjourned.
Committee chair Penny Wright thanks all the witnesses - even Dennis Richardson.
(Richardson declares the afternoon session to be one of the best hearings he's attended.)
Wright reminds the room that answers to questions on notice are due by next Friday.
Seselja asks why the government cannot give insight into the number of people suspected to be on boats.
Angus Campbell explains that the government is aware of not giving people smugglers any opportunity to advertise their businesses.
If numbers of successful boats get out, that shows their "business capacity".
Morrison adds, once more with feeling, "what the Senate has asked us to do, we believe compromises the ability to [keep keeping boats away]."
Perhaps Martin Bowles is working on the theory that if he can't see the committee, they can't ask him a question.Back to top
I wonder if Defence Chief David Hurley and Defence Secretary Dennis Richardson are feeling insulted or relieved right now.
By my calculations they have barely been involved in proceedings.
Hurley has been asked one, passing, mini question. Richardson has all but been ignored, apart from when he was introduced at the start.
Carr remains at a lowish volume as he complains about a "Catch-22" on OSB information.
"It has to remain secret because it's damaging, but you won't tell us why it's damaging!"
Ok, boomers, Kim Carr is back at the mic.
His tones are muted so far as he asks about a boat that made it undetected to Christmas Island around December 3.
The senator wonders whether the government is still not able to discuss it. And what damage it might do to national security if it is.
Morrison argues that information on arrivals is released weekly.
We've had more press releases than we've actually had boats arrive, he observes with an invisible high-five.
"I'll take that on notice."
Ludwig asks Morrison if he can provide the Committee with the schedule (or list) of documents that are not being released "in camera" (i.e. in private).
"I'll consider the request Minister and take that on notice."Back to top
"I'll take it on notice."
The government is also arguing it shouldn't produce the OSB information to the Senate because it might damage Australia's international relations (as well as international security and defence).
SHY wants Morrison to please explain on this one.
The Minister says the government does not operate "in a megaphone way" on operational matters.
"We seek to conduct ourselves discreetly," he says, before noting that the government does not want to intrude on Indonesian waters.
He concludes with: "It is a tense environment, not of this government's making."
(is that an insult to the ABC, Guardian Australia, Indonesia or Rudd?)
Hanson-Young has a question now for Customs head Mike "The Pez" Pezzullo.
How come the Channel 7 show 'Border Security' can show people arriving (perhaps dodgily) at Australian airports but it's not OK to see asylum seekers arrive by boat?
The Pez (this really is his nickname around Canberra, I didn't just make that up) says that the episodes are aired months after the incidents.
Morrison is delighted.
"I think Mr Pezzullo has made a very good point. That is not a reality television show in real time."
Sarah Hanson-Young is back on the case of why more information is not being given to the public.
She questions why media have not been allowed to be more involved in matters boat.
As a result, the senator and General Campbell are now locked in a definitional debate about whether or not Op Sov Bord is a "covert" operation.
Operation Splitting Hairs? Anyone?
Morrison has just made another clarification to the committee.
"This isn't a military operation. This is a military-led operation."Back to top
And here's one of Immigration department secretary Martin Bowles redacting himself.
Meanwhile, here's another shot of Kim "Did you read the documents?" Carr.
The Committee is back in session.
Liberal Zed Seselja has kicked things off with some more questions about why it is important for the OSB information to be kept with the secret squirrels.
Morrison says he has not heard a "compelling case to change my view" on the government's approach.
(This is what happens when governments question themselves.)
Before the Morrison posse showed up this afternoon, the Senate committee took evidence from Clerk of the Senate, Rosemary Laing.
The Senate certainly has strong powers to call for documents on a wide range of information.
But the committee was keen to ask Laing exactly how they would apply in this case.
She said that finding a lower house minister guilty of contempt and imposing penalties was a "potential grey area".
It has not been tested in the courts.
But, the Senate could find the minister's upper house rep - Michaelia Cash - guilty of contempt and impose penalties such as imprisonment if the government continued to defy an order.
(Which puts a whole new complexion on the concept of being a junior minister.)