Dear Minister for Defence Science and Personnel,
Please note - Each email is being sent to a specific minister to request information held by that minister. Please log and treat each request is an individual request made to the relevant minister, and note the unique email address for correspondence in relation to each request.
I refer to this article by the ABC today:
“The military has been ordered to stop holding morning teas which celebrate diversity and inclusion, as Defence chiefs remind personnel their "primary mission" is to protect Australia.”
== My Request ==
1. A copy of all documents held by the Ministers office in relation to LGBTI or IDAHOBIT created in 2021. These include:
- documents held electronically in computer systems
- Documents that exist in Instant Messaging applications
- Documents that exist in non-official applications such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal and others.
2. A copy of any comments or correspondence made in relation to any of the drafts of the directive referred to by the ABC.
3. A copy of any document in relation to the story published by the ABC, including any request for comment or sign off prior to publication.
3. A copy of any correspondence anyone (including a member of the public) that relates to LGBTI or IDAHOBIT in 2021.
== Exclusions ==
I exclude from my request:
1. Names and contact details of members of the public (who are not public servants, defence members, or Ministerial staff)
2. Direct contact details of public servants, defence members and ministerial staff.
3. Duplicates of documents (for example, please only provide a single email thread if it contains all of the relevant commentary)
== Release of Names ==
I do not consent to the removal of public servant, defence members and ministerial staff names and positions under s.22 as irrelevant. I note that the FOI Guidelines relevantly state:
"6.153 Where public servants’ personal information is included in a document because of their usual duties or responsibilities, it would not be unreasonable to disclose unless special circumstances existed.....
6.154 When considering whether it would be unreasonable to disclose the names of public servants, there is no basis under the FOI Act for agencies to start from the position that the classification level of a departmental officer determines whether his or her name would be unreasonable to disclose. In seeking to claim the exemption an agency needs to identify the special circumstances which exist rather than start from the assumption that such information is exempt."
== Conditional Exemptions - deliberative processes ==
I respectfully remind the Department that, should they wish to argue any of the information is deliberative in nature, I would refer the Department to the relevant section of the FOI Guidelines:
"6.83 Agencies should start with the assumption that public servants are obliged by their position to provide robust and frank advice at all times and that obligation will not be diminished by transparency of government activities."
I look forward to your response.
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Please direct this request to The Hon. Darren Chester MP – Minister for Defence Personnel