This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Addition of "theology" or "religion" to the list of travel exemption requirements'.

23 September 2020 
Chris F 
In reply please quote: 
FOI Request: 
FA 20/09/00262 
File Number: 
Dear Chris F 
Freedom of Information (FOI) request - Access Decision 
On 4 September 2020, 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 
FOI Act. 

Scope of request 
You have requested access to the following documents: 
* Any documents relating to the addition of "theology" or "religion" to the list of 
Travel exemption requirements for individuals in critical sectors or with critical skills. 

Documents related to the changing of the website below: 
* Any other relevant documents. 

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. 
6 Chan Street Belconnen ACT 2617 
PO Box 25 Belconnen ACT 2616  Telephone: 02 6264 1111  Fax: 02 6225 6970  


Relevant material  
In reaching my decision I referred to the following:  
  the terms of your request 
  the documents relevant to the request 
  the FOI Act 
  Guidelines published by the Office of the Information Commissioner under section 93A 
of the FOI Act (the FOI Guidelines) 
  advice from Departmental officers with responsibility for matters relating to the 
documents to which you sought access 

Documents in scope  
The Department has undertaken reasonable searches in relation to your request, and has 
identified one document falling within the scope of your request. This document was in the 
possession of the Department of 4 September 2020, when your request was received. 

Decision on access 
My decision in relation to the document in the possession of the Department is to release 
one document in part with exempt information deleted. 
5.1  Section 22 of the FOI Act – deletion of exempt material 
I have decided to prepare an edited copy of the document to release to you. The grounds 
upon which the edited copy of this document has been prepared is set out below. 

Reasons for decision 
6.1  Section 34 – Cabinet documents 
Section 34(3) permits exemption of documents to the extent that disclosure would reveal a 
Cabinet deliberation or decision, unless the existence of the deliberation or decision has 
been officially disclosed. Deliberation has been interpreted as active debate or weighing 
up of alternatives, with a view to reaching a decision on a matter. 
I am satisfied that information contained in the document relevant to your request would, if 
disclosed, involve the disclosure of deliberations of the Cabinet. 
I have sought advice from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and note the 
status of this information remains “Cabinet-In-Confidence”.  
I have also had regard to advice contained within the Cabinet Handbook. The paragraphs 
below detail considerations to be taken into account when handling cabinet documents, 
with particular focus on the ‘Confidentiality’ aspect of all Cabinet proceedings and 
28.All attendees are responsible for ensuring that what is considered by the Cabinet, 
when and how it does so, and the decision Cabinet reaches on particular matters 
remains confidential. Ministers and officials should not disclose proposals likely to 
be considered at forthcoming meetings outside Cabinet-approved consultation 
procedures. Nor should they disclose the nature or content of the discussions or 
the views of individual ministers expressed at the meeting itself. 

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29.Obviously general information about what has been decided by the Cabinet is, on 
occasions, released into the public domain by persons authorised to do so. But 
this does not detract from the importance of allowing the Prime Minister or the 
Cabinet itself to decide what is disclosed publicly about any decision they have 

30.Effective Cabinet confidentiality requires the protection of Cabinet deliberations 
not only at the time an issue was current but also in the future. Ministers in 
successive governments have relied on the convention that their views, either 
written or spoken will remain confidential well into the future. It is only with the 
confidence in this convention that ministers can enjoy freedom to explore all policy 
options without the need to temper their comments or views.  

A strong Cabinet system is fundamental to well-informed decision making and policy 
development by the Government. The convention of the collective responsibility of 
Ministers for government decisions is central to the Cabinet system of Government.  
Cabinet is a forum in which Ministers, while working towards a collective position, are able 
to discuss proposals, options and views with complete freedom.  This requires that Cabinet 
deliberations are treated confidentially. 
I have decided that parts of the document are exempt from disclosure under section 34(3) 
of the FOI Act. 
7 Legislation 
A copy of the FOI Act is available at 
If you are unable to access the legislation through this website, please contact our office 
for a copy. 

Your Review Rights 
Internal Review 
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.   
Applications for review should be sent to: 
By email to:  
By mail to: 
Freedom of Information Section 
Department of Home Affairs 
PO Box 25 
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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) 
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 
A Smith – Position number: 60008295 
Authorised Decision Maker 
Department of Home Affairs 
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