4 December 2018
Mr J Gothe-Snape BY EMAIL: [FOI #4947 email]
In reply please quote:
Dear Mr Gothe-Snape
Freedom of Information (FOI) request - Access Decision
On 13 November 2018, the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) received a request for
access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(the FOI Act).
The purpose of this letter is to provide you with a decision on your request for access under the
Scope of request
You have requested access to the following documents:
The latest WhatsApp message sent by the Minister of Home Affairs, including who
it was sent to, when it was sent and the content of the message.
Authority to make decision
I am an officer authorised under section 23 of the FOI Act to make decisions in respect of
requests to access documents or to amend or annotate records.
In reaching my decision I referred to the following:
• the terms of your request
• the FOI Act
• Guidelines published by the Office of the Information Commissioner under section 93A
of the FOI Act (the FOI Guidelines)
6 Chan Street Belconnen ACT 2617
PO Box 25 Belconnen ACT 2616 • Telephone: 02 6264 1111 • Fax: 02 6225 6970 • www.homeaffairs.gov.au
Documents in scope of request
Section 4 of the FOI Act provides that:
a document is a document of an agency if … the document is in the possession of
the agency, whether created in the agency or received in the agency;
official document of a Minister or official document of the Minister means a
document that is in the possession of a Minister, or that is in the possession of the
Minister concerned, as the case requires, in his or her capacity as a Minister, being
a document that relates to the affairs of an agency or of a Department of State and,
for the purposes of this definition, a Minister shall be deemed to be in possession
of a document that has passed from his or her possession if he or she is entitled to
access to the document and the document is not a document of an agency.
You are seeking access to information that does not exist for the purposes of the FOI Act.
The application WhatsApp
is not installed on the Minister’s Department issued mobile
As such having regard to your request and the types of documents that may fall within the
scope of your request I am satisfied that all reasonable steps have been taken to locate
any document relevant to your request.
Section 24A of the FOI Act provides that the Department may refuse a request for access
to a document if all reasonable steps have been taken to find the document and the
Department is satisfied that the document does not exist.
I am satisfied that no documents relevant to your request were in the possession of the
Department on 13 November 2018 when your FOI request was received. As such I am
refusing access to the documents requested by you based on the application of section
24A of the FOI Act.
A copy of the FOI Act is available at https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2017C00251.
If you are unable to access the legislation through this website, please contact our office
for a copy.
Your Review Rights
If you disagree with this decision, you have the right to apply for an internal review by the
Department of this decision. Any request for internal review must be provided to the
Department within 30 days of you being notified of the decision. Where possible please
attach reasons why you believe a review of the decision is necessary. The internal review
will be carried out by an officer other than the original decision maker and the Department
must make a review decision within 30 days.
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Applications for review should be sent to:
By email to: [email address]
By mail to:
Freedom of Information Section
Department of Home Affairs
PO Box 25
BELCONNEN ACT 2617
Review by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
You may apply directly to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) for
a review of this decision. You must apply in writing within 60 days of this notice. For further
information about review rights and how to submit a request for a review to the OAIC,
please see Fact Sheet 12 "Freedom of information – Your review rights", available online
Making a Complaint
You may complain to the Australian Information Commissioner about action taken by the
Department in relation to your request.
Your enquiries to the Australian Information Commissioner can be directed to:
Phone 1300 363 992 (local call charge)
Email [email address]
There is no particular form required to make a complaint to the Australian Information
Commissioner. The request should be in writing and should set out the grounds on which
it is considered that the action taken in relation to the request should be investigated and
identify the Department of Home Affairs as the relevant agency.
Contacting the FOI Section
Should you wish to discuss this decision, please do not hesitate to contact the FOI Section
at [Minister for Home Affairs request email].
Authorised Decision Maker
Department of Home Affairs
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