Attorney-General George Brandis went to great length in the short Senate estimates hearing yesterday to explain how FOI is entirely independent from him.

“If an FOI request were made of me, it’s not up to me to be the decision-maker. Nor would it be appropriate for me to influence the decision-maker. The decision-maker is a separate, designated person, and that separate designated person acts according to certain statutory criteria which are set out in the act.”

In Crikey‘s FOI request to the Attorney-General, the decision-maker was his chief of staff, Paul O’Sullivan, as is standard for FOI requests to ministers. While we are sure O’Sullivan did his utmost to adhere to the act, can the chief of staff really ever be completely independent from his boss?

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