AICmr numbers (decisions) not available publicly

Currently waiting for a response from Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, they should respond promptly and normally no later than (details).

Dear Office of the Australian Information Commissioner,

Please treat this request administratively if possible, otherwise treat it as an FOI request.

The OAIC refers people to Austlii for decisions that are made by the Information Commissioner. Each request on Austlii for the OAIC has an AICmr number associated with it (for example, “[2022] AICmr 63”).

During a routine search of Austlii I found that a number of AICmr numbers appear to be missing from Austlii.

To assist the OAIC, examples of decisions from Austlii that I can’t find include but are not limited to:
[2022] AICmr 60
[2022] AICmr 59
[2022] AICmr 33

This was from a 5 minute search, I’m sure there are more.

I’m seeking information (or documents) that:
1. Discuss or explain why an AICmr number may not be allocated to a decision.
2. Discuss why, if an AICmr number has been allocated to a decision, that decision may not be published on Austlii, and if so where it would be published.
3. Are policies or procedures on the publication of decisions on Austlii, including the process that is used to publish those decisions and any approval processes required for a decision to be published.
4. Are any policies or procedures on the removal of decisions from Austlii, including approval processes and steps required to remove a decision from Austlii.
5. Are any requests to remove decisions that have already been published on Austlii, and all documents that relate to each of those requests.

I am happy to exclude as irrelevant:
1. Duplicates of documents (for example, duplicate emails or email chains).
2. All phone numbers, both landline and mobile.
3. The portion of all email addresses before the domain (for example, for the email address “[email address]” I am happy for you to exclude “jane.smith” but do not exclude “oaic.gov.au”).
4. Names of OAIC staff below SES level *unless* the position of the staff member is not defined in the document (for example, if an email contains “John Smith” and their position “Senior Lawyer” then I am happy for “John Smith” to be redacted. If “Senior Lawyer” is not contained in the document then I do not consent to it being redacted).
5. The names of individuals not part of the OAIC. Please note the rules at part 2 and 3 apply to individuals not part of the OAIC. I do not consent to the removal of position descriptions, organisation names, or domain names of non-OAIC entities.

I consider this request to be in the public interest as it may disclose a breach (inadvertently or intentionally) of the Freedom of Information Act, and public access to decisions of a decision making body are inherently integral to our legal system. My understanding of the FOI Act is that “The Information Commissioner must publish a decision on an IC review to members of the public generally.”

In addition to providing suggested documents, any information the OAIC line areas are willing to provide that alleviates the concerns that decisions are not correctly being published correctly.

I look forward to your response.

Yours faithfully,

Ben Fairless

OAIC - Legal, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

5 Attachments

Our reference: FOIREQ22/00296

 

Dear Ben Fairless

 

Freedom of Information request

 

I refer to your request for access to documents made under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOI Act).

You FOI request was received by the Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner (OAIC) on 16 September 2022. This means that a decision on
your FOI request is currently due on 17 October 2022.

Scope of your request

Your FOI request was made in the following terms:

              I’m seeking information (or documents) that:

 1. Discuss or explain why an AICmr number may not be allocated to a
decision.
 2. Discuss why, if an AICmr number has been allocated to a decision, that
decision may not be published on Austlii, and if so where it would be
published.
 3. Are policies or procedures on the publication of decisions on Austlii,
including the process that is used to publish those decisions and any
approval processes required for a decision to be published.
 4. Are any policies or procedures on the removal of decisions from
Austlii, including approval processes and steps required to remove a
decision from Austlii.
 5. Are any requests to remove decisions that have already been published
on Austlii, and all documents that relate to each of those requests.

I am happy to exclude as irrelevant:

 1. Duplicates of documents (for example, duplicate emails or email
chains).
 2. All phone numbers, both landline and mobile.
 3. The portion of all email addresses before the domain (for example, for
the email address [1][email address] I am happy for you to
exclude “jane.smith” but do not exclude “oaic.gov.au”).
 4. Names of OAIC staff below SES level *unless* the position of the staff
member is not defined in the document (for example, if an email
contains “John Smith” and their position “Senior Lawyer” then I am
happy for “John Smith” to be redacted. If “Senior Lawyer” is not
contained in the document then I do not consent to it being redacted).
 5. The names of individuals not part of the OAIC. Please note the rules
at part 2 and 3 apply to individuals not part of the OAIC. I do not
consent to the removal of position descriptions, organisation names,
or domain names of non-OAIC entities.

In addition to providing suggested documents, any information the OAIC
line areas are willing to provide that alleviates the concerns that
decisions are not correctly being published correctly.

 

After internal discussion with OAIC line areas, the Legal Services team
has been advised to process your request as an FOI request for documents
within the above scope.

 

In order to process your request as efficiently as possible, I will
exclude duplicates and early parts of email streams that are captured in
later email streams from the scope of this request, unless you advise me
otherwise.

 

We will not identify you as the FOI applicant during any consultation
process, unless we seek your permission. However, documents that are
within the scope of your request that we may need to consult third parties
about may contain your personal information.

Timeframes for dealing with your request

Section 15 of the FOI Act requires the OAIC to process your request no
later than 30 days after the day we receive it. However, section 15(6) of
the FOI Act allows us a further 30 days in situations where we need to
consult with third parties about certain information, such as business
documents or documents affecting their personal privacy.

The current decision due date for your request is 17 October 2022. We will
advise you if this timeframe is otherwise extended.

Disclosure Log

Documents released under the FOI Act may be published online on our
disclosure log, unless they contain personal or business information that
would be unreasonable to publish.

If you would like to discuss your FOI request, please contact me on my
contact details set out below.

Kind regards

 

Molly

 

[2]O A I C logo   Molly Cooke | Lawyer

Legal Services

Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner

GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001  |
 [3]oaic.gov.au

+61 2 9942 4296  |
[4][email address]
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