11 December 2008

FOI wittering

| johnboy
Join the conversation

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.

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.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

I choke when I see that Corbell is “improving” the FOI legislation.

Under the current FOI, the request is supposed to be acknowledged within 14 days and the documents supplied within 30 days.

I’ve had an FOI request in with Corbell now for 2 & a half months and received nothing back at all. Undertakings given to both myself and to the Ombudsman as to production of documents not honoured in any way. Basic position of Corbell appears to be that documents will only be produced by way of a court order. Obvious question – what is he trying to hide?

Sheer hypocrisy.

Corbell making the FOI more open and accountable – forget it.

Interesting to see that such an obsessively PC government had to wait for the Feds to take a lead with Conclusive Certificates and then follow several months later.

i like norway’s system of freedom of information – everything is open and the gov’t has to make a strong case to not have something disclosed. what is there to hide?

I don’t usually go for the whole green = labor thing that people of a two party mindset like to do, however I have to say that I don’t think the whole ‘accountability and transparency’ thing is going very well so far.

Early days though.

Like you said johnboy, FOI is a good idea that is bloody hard to actually use in real life. You really need to know what you are doing, which sort of defeats the purpose.

I’d like to see Vicki Dunne’s bill. Anyone aware of the basic thrust?

housebound said :

I wonder what GreenLabor have to hide?

A distinct lack of working Government knowledge, including having to make the hard calls to ensure ongoing financial stability?

This crop of Greens are starting to make Deb Foskey look really independent of Labor. How on earth can they justify supporting Labor on what was one of the really bad cover-ups from 2006? It did more than justify school closures and should be a public document.

I wonder what GreenLabor have to hide?

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.