Liberal Leader Zed Seselja is asking unkind questions about the much touted openness of the Gallagher Government:
Katy Gallagher’s Health Department’s decision to heavily censor prison overdose information because of media concerns is the latest in a long line of cover-ups under her ‘open government’. ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja today called on Katy Gallagher to put her spin into practice.
“Taxpayers are entitled to the details of projects they foot the bill for, but they’re continually left in the dark when it comes to information which reflects badly on ACT Labor,” Mr Seselja said today.
“When the Canberra Liberals requested ACT Labor’s purported savings of the $432 million office block project through a Freedom of Information request, we were denied because it would be ‘contrary to the public interest’ and would ‘confuse public debate’.
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“Not releasing the business case for the ACT’s most expensive taxpayer-funded project is shoddy process and is yet another example of the government trying to influence public debate.
“ACT Labor has also gone against the longstanding practice of not charging Members of the Legislative Assembly for Freedom of Information requests, and has now resorted to charging the Canberra Liberals for many requests. This appears to be a deliberate strategy to minimise embarrassment to the government.
“How can the public properly participate in the ‘governing process’ and ‘finding solutions to problems’ if they aren’t even given the full facts?
“I call on ACT Labor to only censor documents under rare circumstances, and stop charging MLAs for Freedom of Information requests,” Mr Seselja concluded.
Until there’s an independent FOI commission with the power to access government records themselves it’s all going to be running into the teeth of the prime directive of bureaucracy: “Cover your arse”.