This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Emails and other records of communications between Carl English of the OAIC and DVA'.

Our reference: FOIREQ18/00140 
Ms Verity Pane    
By email: 
Your Freedom of Information request   
Dear Ms Pane 
I refer to your request for access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 
(Cth) (the FOI Act), received by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) 
on 28 September 2018. 
You requested access to:  
Under FOI I seek copy of all emails and other records of communication between Carl English 
of your Office, and DVA, for the period 18 August 2018 to 28 September 2018 inclusive. 
On 15 October 2018, we wrote to you seeking your confirmation of the scope of your FOI 
On 15 October 2018, you responded and advised that: 
… I do not consent to the redaction of names of DVA or OAIC public servants in any official 
document within scope. 
I do consent however to the redaction of phone numbers, email addresses and desk locations 
as they are not necessary for accountability and transparency purposes, and are merely 
incidental information. 
I do consent to exclude from scope any document that refers to a private individual (which is 
not a public servant carrying out their official duties, as that falls into official, not private 
information), other than myself. For that reason I do not exclude file reference numbers or 
other reference numbers, as they would not reveal the private personal information of 
another private individual 
I am an officer authorised under s 23(1) of the FOI Act to make decisions in relation to FOI 
I have identified eight documents falling within the scope of your request. I have decided to 
grant you access to four documents in full, with irrelevant material deleted under s 22 of the 
1300 363 992 
T +61 2 9284 9749 
GPO Box 5218 
F +61 2 9284 9666 
Sydney NSW 2001 
ABN 85 249 230 937 

FOI Act. I have decided to grant you access to four documents in part, with exempt material 
deleted under s 47F of the FOI Act and irrelevant material deleted under s 22 of the FOI Act. 
A schedule describing each document and the access decision I have made is at Appendix A 
to this decision. 
Reasons for decision 
Material taken into account 
In making my decision, I have had regard to the following: 
  your freedom of information request of 28 September 2018 and your email of 15 
October 2018 
  the documents at issue 
  the FOI Act, in particular ss 11A(5), 22 and 47F 
  the Guidelines issued by the Australian Information Commissioner under s 93A of the 
FOI Act to which regard must be had in performing a function or exercising a power 
under the FOI Act (the FOI Guidelines), particularly at [3.95]-[3.100], [6.7]-[6.27], 
[6.124]-[6.157] and [6.161]-[6.172]. 
Irrelevant material (s 22) 
Section 22 of the FOI Act provides that irrelevant information can be deleted from a 
document if it is reasonably practicable to prepare a copy of the document modified by 
deletions, and the modified copy would not disclose the irrelevant material.  
I have considered your advice of 15 October 2018, that you do not seek access to the phone 
numbers and email addresses of staff of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (the 
Department) and the OAIC. I have deleted this material as irrelevant to your request.  
I have also deleted in document 8, the specific Right to Know email address, as irrelevant to 
your request. 
Personal privacy conditional exemption s 47F 
I have decided that documents 1, 2, 3 and 7 are conditionally exempt in part under s 47F of 
the FOI Act. The relevant material is the name of a departmental officer. 
Section 47F of the FOI Act conditionally exempts documents where disclosure would involve 
the unreasonable disclosure of personal information of any person (including a deceased 
person). This exemption is intended to protect the personal privacy of individuals. 
Personal information means: 


Information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is 
reasonably identifiable: 
a)  Whether the information or opinion is true or not; and 
b)  Whether the information or opinion is recorded in a material form or not 
I am satisfied that the name of the departmental officer is personal information for the 
purposes of the FOI Act. 
In determining whether disclosure of personal information would be unreasonable, s 47F(2) 
of the FOI Act requires me to have regard to the following matters: 
  the extent to which the information is well known 
  whether the person to whom the information relates is known to be (or to have 
been) associated with the matters dealt with in the document 
  the availability of the information from publically accessible sources 
  any other matters I consider relevant. 
The FOI Guidelines provide that where a public servant’s 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. The FOI Guidelines provide a non-exhaustive 
list of examples of special circumstances. 
I find that documents 1, 2, 3 and 7 contain the full name of a public servant, appearing in the 
context of the documents as part of their usual duties and responsibilities. 
The Department has provided confidential submissions which it contends identify special 
circumstances that would make it unreasonable to disclose the surname of the 
departmental officer.  
I note that pursuant to s 26(2) of the FOI Act, this notice is not required to contain any matter 
that is of such a nature that its inclusion in a document of an agency would cause that 
document to be an exempt document. 
I have considered the Department’s submissions and I am satisfied that special 
circumstances exist in this case that mean disclosure of the departmental officer’s surname 
would be unreasonable. The surname of the departmental officer is conditionally exempt 
under s 47F of the FOI Act. 
Public interest test (s 11A)(5)) 
Under s 11A(5) access must be given to a conditionally exempt document unless in the 
circumstances giving access would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest. 


The public interest factor that would favour disclosure is that the disclosure would promote 
the objects of the FOI Act.  
Against this factor, I consider that disclosing the surname of the departmental officer could 
reasonably be expected to prejudice the protection of an individual’s right to privacy and 
prejudice the management function of an agency. 
In considering where the public interest lies, I must consider the factors that favour 
disclosure balanced against the factors that favour non-disclosure. 
On balance, I consider that the factors against disclosure outweigh the factor in favour of the 
On this basis I have decided that it would be contrary to the public interest to give access to 
the information that I have found to be conditionally exempt under s 47F of the FOI Act. 
Yours sincerely 
Megan McKenna   
FOI Officer 
Legal Services 
29 October 2018   


If you disagree with my decision 
Internal review 
You have the right to apply for an internal review of my decision under Part VI of the FOI Act. 
An internal review will be conducted, to the extent possible, by an officer of the OAIC who 
was not involved in or consulted in the making of my decision. If you wish to apply for an 
internal review, you must do so in writing within 30 days. There is no application fee for 
internal review. 
If you wish to apply for an internal review, please mark your application for the attention of 
the FOI Coordinator and state the grounds on which you consider that my decision should be 
Further Review 
You have the right to seek review of this decision by the Information Commissioner and the 
Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). 
You may apply to the Information Commissioner for a review of my decision (IC review). If 
you wish to apply for IC review, you must do so in writing within 60 days. Your application 
must provide an address (which can be an email address or fax number) that we can send 
notices to, and include a copy of this letter. A request for IC review can be made in relation to 
my decision, or an internal review decision.  
It is the Information Commissioner’s view that it will usually not be in the interests of the 
administration of the FOI Act to conduct an IC review of a decision, or an internal review 
decision, made by the agency that the Information Commissioner heads: the OAIC. For this 
reason, if you make an application for IC review of my decision, it is likely that the 
Information Commissioner will decide (under s 54W(b) of the FOI Act) not to undertake an IC 
review on the basis that it is desirable that my decision be considered by the AAT. 
Section 57A of the FOI Act provides that, before you can apply to the AAT for review of an FOI 
decision, you must first have applied for IC review. 
Applications for internal review or IC review can be submitted to: 
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner 
GPO Box 5218 
Alternatively, you can submit your application by email to, or by fax on 
02 9284 9666. 


Accessing your information 
If you would like access to the information that we hold about you, please 
contact More information is available on the Access our 
page on our website. 
Disclosure log 
Section 11C of the FOI Act requires agencies to publish online documents released to 
members of the public within 10 days of release, except if they contain personal or business 
information that it would be unreasonable to publish.  
The documents I have decided to release to you do not contain business or personal 
information that would be unreasonable to publish. As a result, the documents will be 
published on our disclosure log shortly after being released to you. 


Appendix A: Schedule of documents – Freedom of Information request no FOIREQ18/00140 
Document no. 
Decision on access 

7 September 2018 
Email providing 
Release in part 
extension decision to the 
Department of Veterans’ 

7 September 2018 
15AB decision letter to 
Release in part 
Department of Veterans’ 

25 September 2018 
Email chain in relation to 
Release in part 

14 September 2018 
File note (MR18/00607) 
Release in full 

27 September 2018 
File note (MR18/00607) 
Release in full 
1300 363 992 
T +61 2 9284 9749 
GPO Box 5218 
F +61 2 9284 9666 
Sydney NSW 2001 
ABN 85 249 230 937 

27 September 2018 
File note (MR18/00607) 
Release in full 

28 September 2018 
Acknowledgement of 
Release in part 
receipt of decision 

28 September 2018 
Email chain in relation to 
Release in full