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What’s the government hiding on fire suppression?

johnboy 21 February 2006 3

ABC Online have picked up on a media release by Steve Pratt asking why the government was fudging on FOI requests around the bushfire mitigation at the Yarralumla brickworks.

‘Our searches have not identified any departmental documents that fall within the ambit of your request’.

Neat, never do the work, never have a paper trail…?

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3 Responses to What’s the government hiding on fire suppression?
barking toad barking toad 11:15 am 21 Feb 06

On SGS radio this morning he had a copy of some correspondence in reply to the residents complaints so he reckons they’re playing silly buggers with him

johnboy johnboy 10:41 am 21 Feb 06

could be, my impression was he was trying to find out what the department was doing, not if the residents had complained.

Big Al Big Al 10:34 am 21 Feb 06

Ahh it’s another beat up by the Pratt. I’ll bet that the FOI legislation only covers ‘departmental’ documents. Letters from pissed-off residents are letters from residents, not ‘departmental’ documents. The Privacy Act probably prohibits the Government from releasing correspondence from the residents. It’s a bit like the Twelve Tasks of Asterix. Then there’s always the possibility that letters addressed to the Minister (although forwarded to the department for attention) aren’t considered ‘Departmental’ either, so they probably don’t get caught in the FOI net.

Years ago, in another life, I had the job of coaching young graduates in the dark-arts of the bureaucracy. The most common mistake made by these inexperienced players when trying to deal with FOI requests, ministerial correspondence, or questions on notice, was to try and provide the information that they thought was being sought, rather than the information that what was specifically asked for.

I’m guessing that the Pratt just isn’t asking the right questions and his little fishing expedition isn’t getting him anywhere so his scooping some burly into the water to see what comes to the surface.

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