Jul 30, 2013

What are they hiding? The widespread denial of FOI requests

As freedom of information requests have multiplied, the government's denials of those requests have increased exponentially. Journalist and Detention Logs producer Lawrence Bull reports.

A detainee escapes immigration detention in Perth in October 2009. More than a year-and-a-half later and nearly 3000 kilometres away, in Darwin, another detainee harms himself. Are these incidents so similar in substance that the public doesn’t need information about both?

According to the Immigration Department, they are. The department refuses to publish the reports on each incident on the grounds their content “is substantially the same”.

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5 thoughts on “What are they hiding? The widespread denial of FOI requests

  1. Peter Logan

    It’s apparently mandatory for Victorian Government agencies to reject FOIs or am I just paranoid because every one we have lodged on the grand prix is knocked back.
    More than a billion dollars is at stake if the government signs on to a new contract for the ten years Bernie Ecclestone is asking.
    The government’s justification is based on a set of misleading and deceptive claims that can all be disproved by independent sources. The big blocker is the government hides behind small technical clauses in the Act. Neither side of Parliament wants it changed, so legislative reform of FOI Acts is apparently impossible in Australia.
    Peter Logan

  2. bluepoppy

    It betrays our democratic system when a small elite have power over information. Wasn’t Orwell who said whomever controls the language (information) holds the power.

  3. Edward James

    The idea that deals can be claimed, information is commercial and in confidence when taxpayers are being signed on as a party to any commercial dealings being done on their behalf, is a joke. More importantly if our elected reps are too shy to let we who pay look at what they are doing on our behalf then it should be not acceptable by default on the grounds of our politicians and others are being too secretive! Keep in mind our political allsorts are a very small minority! Edward James

  4. AR

    Why would anyone in authority want true, functioning FoI? It can only expose failings or worse – very few masochists enter politics.

  5. Susan Timmins

    From Peter Timmins
    The lumping of different requests for different reports into one request is just one example of inventive but questionable thinking at DIAC. This post outlines others in play:

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