Jan 17, 2018

Public servants ignoring the public interest in freedom of information

Bureaucratic efforts to undermine Freedom of Information laws by insisting it prevents "frank and fearless advice" hurts democracy and further estranges the governing class from he electorate.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet Martin Parkinson 

Attempts by the Public Service to resist the limited transparency provided by the Commonwealth's already restrictive Freedom of Information laws has reached systemic levels. And the argument that making documents available under FOI would undermine the capacity of public servants to offer the cliched "frank and fearless advice" is becoming the go-t0 excuse for bureaucrats to refuse to reveal documents that are eminently in the public interest and fall outside more substantive FOI exemptions.

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