I’ve always thought of Freedom Of Information laws as one of those nice ideas that don’t work in practice.
Basically unless you can go in yourself and rifle through the filing cabinet there’s no bureaucracy on the planet that can’t find a dozen ways to stymie a request for information.
Maybe they’ll just forget a document, maybe they’ll slip it into the middle of a thousand pages of mostly irrelevant fluff.
In any event our betters in the Assembly are pretending it matters.
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Simon Corbell kicked it off yesterday announcing new legislation which, to my simple mind, cancels itself out:
- Mr Corbell said, ‘The removal of conclusive certificates will enhance open and transparent government. Conclusive certificates in relation to national security considerations will be preserved’.
The Freedom of Information Amendment Bill 2008 also proposes additional amendments to protect certain documents that ensure Ministers can fully exercise their responsibilities to the Assembly and its committees.
The Liberal’s Vicki Dunne is not impressed:
- “But the government? It still thinks it can ride rough-shod over everyone else in some weak attempt to claim the moral high ground. The trouble is the government has no morals in relation to conclusive certificates, or indeed in reform of the freedom of information laws generally, having used them to spectacular effect in relation to the functional review, the closure of schools and the Tuggeranong power station.
“That Simon Corbell has the audacity to use words in a press release like ‘honour’ and ‘commitment’ after his behaviour last term is breathtaking,” said Mrs Dunne
Mrs Dunne has introduced her own FOI Bill which, with Green support might well get up.
On a related note, Zed is displeased that the new crop of Greens have joined Labor in blocking efforts to force the release of the “functional review”. The “functional review” was the secret document used to justify school closures.