This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Vaccine Exemptions'.

If not delivered return to PO Box 7820 Canberra BC ACT 2610 
6 May 2019 
Our reference:  LEX 43631 
Ms Alissa Pattrick  
Only by email: 
Dear Ms Pattrick  
Decision – Freedom of Information Request (FOI) 
I refer to your revised request, received by the Department of Human Services (department
on 17 April 2019, for access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI 
). You requested access to:  
‘Please provide all AEFI [Adverse Events Following Immunisation] reported to AEMS 
[Adverse Event Management System] but not transferred to DAEN [Database of 
Adverse Event Notifications] within the past 5 years.’ 
My decision 

I have decided to refuse access to your request for documents under section 24A of the FOI 
Act. The documents you have requested do not exist within the department’s possession.  
I am satisfied that all reasonable steps have been taken to find the requested documents 
within the department and that the documents do not exist with the department’s possession.   
Please see Attachment A for reasons for my decision.  
Further information 
I have been informed that the Adverse Event Management System and the Database of 
Adverse Event Notifications is maintained by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). 
The TGA is part of the Department of Health. Accordingly, it is open to you lodge an FOI 
request directly with the Department of Health by contacting:  
You can ask for a review of our decision 
If you disagree with any part of the decision you can ask for a review. There are two ways 
you can do this. You can ask for an internal review from within the department, or an external 
review by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. You do not have to pay for 
reviews of decisions. See Attachment B for more information about how to arrange a 
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Further assistance 
If you have any questions please email   
Yours sincerely 
Authorised FOI Decision Maker 
Freedom of Information Team 
Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division  
Department of Human Services 
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Department of Human Services 

If not delivered return to PO Box 7820 Canberra BC ACT 2610 
Attachment A 
Your request 
On 6 April 2019, you made a request for access to documents under the FOI Act:  
‘Can I please have a copy of: 

Any complaints/feedback/correspondence to the department from licensed 
medical professionals regarding the short and long term health outcomes of 
their patients in regards to immunisation and the removal of vaccine 

Any correspondence to the department in relation to licensed medical 
professionals having their ability to write valid vaccine exemptions removed  

Any internal discussion in relation to the above 
To assist the Department, I specifically exclude: 

Duplicates of documents (I only require 1 copy of each document) 
Where possible, I would prefer that this information is provided in it's original format - 
that is to say, either in Microsoft Word or HTML (where received online or via email). I 
ask that you do not use PDFs wherever possible as it makes it difficult to read the 

Please deal with this request informally or in accordance with your Administrative 
Access scheme if practicable. If this isn't practical, please consider it a formal 
application under the Freedom of Information Act.’ 
On 15 April 2019 the department informally consulted with you via email to clarify your 
request. You were invited to revise your request.  
On 17 April 2019 you revised your request to: 
‘Please provide all AEFI reported to AEMS but not transferred to DAEN within the 
past 5 years.’ 

What I took into account 
In reaching my decision I took into account: 
  your original request dated 6 April 2019; 
  your revised request dated 17 April 2019;  
  consultations with departmental officers about: 
o  the nature of the requested documents; 
o  the department's operating environment and functions; 
  guidelines issued by the Australian Information Commissioner under section 93A of 
the FOI Act (Guidelines); and 
  the FOI Act.  
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Reasons for my decisions 
I am authorised to make decisions under section 23(1) of the FOI Act. 
Section 24A of the FOI Act  
Sub-section 24A of the FOI Act provides that: 
(1)  An agency or Minister may refuse a request for access to a document if:  
(a)  all reasonable steps have been taken to find the document; and  
(b)  the agency or Minister is satisfied that the document:  
(i) is in the agency's or Minister's possession but cannot be found; or  
(ii) does not exist.  
In searching for the requested documents, the department’s Health and Aged Care 
Programmes Division was consulted because responsibilities relating to the Australian 
Immunisation Register sit within that Division.  
As a result of this consultation, I was advised that adverse vaccination events are not 
recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register. Further, and as noted above, I was 
advised that the Adverse Event Management System and the Database of Adverse Event 
Notifications is maintained by the TGA. Accordingly, no documents falling within the scope of 
your request were found within the department’s possession.  
In light of the above, I am satisfied that all reasonable steps have been taken to find the 
requested documents within the department and that the documents do not exist within the 
department’s possession.   
Section 16 of the FOI Act – Transfer of requests  
Sub-section 16 of the FOI Act provides that:  
(1)  Where a request is made to an agency for access to a document and: 
(a)  the document is not in the possession of that agency but is, to the 
knowledge of that agency, in the possession of another agency; or 
(b)  the subject-matter of the document is more closely connected with the 
functions of another agency than with those of the agency to which the 
request is made; 
the agency to which the request is made may, with the agreement of the other 
agency, transfer the request to the other agency. 
I have not transferred your request to the Department of Health.  
Regrettably, I was unable to have your request transferred because of the processing time 
that remained.  
As noted above, you can lodge an FOI request directly with the Department of Health.  
I have decided to refuse access to your request for documents under section 24A of the FOI 
Act, because the documents you have requested do not exist within the department’s 
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Department of Human Services 

If not delivered return to PO Box 7820 Canberra BC ACT 2610 
Attachment B 

Asking for a full explanation of a freedom of information (FOI) decision 

Before you ask for a formal review of a FOI decision, you can contact us to discuss your 
request. We will explain the decision to you. This gives you a chance to correct 
Asking for a formal review of an FOI decision 
If you still believe a decision is incorrect, the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act
gives you the right to apply for a review of the decision. Under sections 54 and 54L of the 
FOI Act, you can apply for a review of an FOI decision by: 
1.  an Internal Review Officer in the Department of Human Services (the department); 
2.  the Australian Information Commissioner. 
Note 1: There are no fees for these reviews. 
Applying for an internal review by an Internal Review Officer 
If you apply for internal review, a different decision maker to the departmental delegate who 
made the original decision will carry out the review. The Internal Review Officer will consider 
all aspects of the original decision and decide whether it should change. An application for 
internal review must be: 
  made in writing 
  made within 30 days of receiving this letter 
  sent to the address at the top of the first page of this letter. 
Note 2: You do not need to fill in a form. However, it is a good idea to set out any relevant 
submissions you would like the Internal Review Officer to further consider, and your reasons 
for disagreeing with the decision.  
Applying for external review by the Australian Information Commissioner 
If you do not agree with the original decision or the internal review decision, you can ask the 
Australian Information Commissioner to review the decision.  
If you do not receive a decision from an Internal Review Officer in the department within 30 
days of applying, you can ask the Australian Information Commissioner for a review of the 
original FOI decision.  
You will have 60 days to apply in writing for a review by the Australian Information 
You can lodge your application
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Australian Information Commissioner 
GPO Box 5218 
Note 3: The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner generally prefers FOI 
applicants to seek internal review before applying for external review by the Australian 
Information Commissioner. 
  If you are applying online, the application form the 'Merits Review Form' is available 
  If you have one, you should include with your application a copy of the Department of 
Human Services' decision on your FOI request  
  Include your contact details 
  Set out your reasons for objecting to the department's decision. 
Complaints to the Australian Information Commissioner and Commonwealth 

Australian Information Commissioner 
You may complain to the Australian Information Commissioner concerning action taken by 
an agency in the exercise of powers or the performance of functions under the FOI Act, 
There is no fee for making a complaint. A complaint to the Australian Information 
Commissioner must be made in writing. The Australian Information Commissioner's contact 
details are: 
Telephone:      1300 363 992 
Commonwealth Ombudsman 
You may also complain to the Commonwealth Ombudsman concerning action taken by an 
agency in the exercise of powers or the performance of functions under the FOI Act. There is 
no fee for making a complaint. A complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman may be 
made in person, by telephone or in writing. The Commonwealth Ombudsman's contact 
details are: 
Phone:             1300 362 072 
The Commonwealth Ombudsman generally prefers applicants to seek review before 
complaining about a decision. 
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Department of Human Services