Australia's Worst White-Collar Crime

Phillip Sweeney made this Freedom of Information request to Commonwealth Ombudsman

The request was successful.

From: Phillip Sweeney

Delivered

Dear Commonwealth Ombudsman,

I am lodging a request pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

The document I seek is a document which includes on its cover page the words

"Australia's Worst White-Collar Crime How the Commonwealth Ombudsman can prove the Fraud that has been covered-up by other Commonwealth Agencies"

The search period is from 10 December 2014 inclusive

Yours faithfully,

Phillip Sweeney

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From: Ombudsman North
Commonwealth Ombudsman


Attachment 201501071358.pdf
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Dear Mr Sweeney

 

I attach correspondence in response to your email of 21 December 2014 in
which you requested a copy of a document from this office.

 

The original correspondence has been sent to you by post.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Gregory Parkhurst

Senior Investigation Officer | FOI Co-ordinator | Operations North

Commonwealth Ombudsman

Ph: 1300 362 072 | Fax: 02 6276 0123

email: [1][CO request email]

 

Influencing agencies to treat people fairly through our investigations of
their administration

 

Please note that I do not work on Fridays

 

 

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Locutus Sum left an annotation ()

This application from Mr Sweeney is one of a series. Does it represent an honorable use of Right to Know? Do the other requests represent honourable uses of Right to Know? I do not think so. In my opinion the applicant, Mr Sweeney, makes a use for the Right to Know website that is worthy of condemnation. The purpose of the Right to Know site is simple. It is to make it easy for a person to make an application under the Commonwealth of Australia Freedom of Information Act. It is a technical vehicle. It is not a blog. It is not a soap box. It is not a place to publish your own political tract when you do not want to make your own website. It is not a place to make serious allegations on whether a person is a criminal and to make it possible for Right to Know to be sued for defamation. It is not a place to write your letters and ideas and political opinions to government departments. A person should use her personal email account for this purpose.

At school a person with this behaviour should write:
The purpose of Right to Know is simple. It is a place to lodge an FOI application.
The purpose of Right to Know is simple. It is a place to lodge an FOI application.
The purpose of Right to Know is simple. It is a place to lodge an FOI application.
The purpose of Right to Know is simple. It is a place to lodge an FOI application.
Got it?

Why do I say that the use by Mr Sweeney is dishonourable? At the beginning we can look to the person. On the user page, Mr Sweeney first makes his soap box. "I am investigating Australia's Worst White-Collar Crime ..." Really? For non-politics Mr Sweeney could write, "I have an interest in the Elders IXL Superannuation Fund (END OF STATEMENT)". But it is not enough. Mr Sweeney must make a political rant. "Public servant cover up!!!" "Worst crime !!!". Mr Sweeney has a right to his political opinion. Let him write it somewhere else.

Next, there is a repeated request to 14 agencies for a single same document. This is a very good idea if a person does not know which agency has a document. It is also a very good idea if a person does not know if there is such a document and is interesting to find out. Here are the links to the requests of Mr Sweeney for the first document:

https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/a...
https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/a...
https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/a...
https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/a...
https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/a...
https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/a...
https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/a...
https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/a...
https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/a...
https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/a...
https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/a...
https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/a...
https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/a...

Has Mr Sweeney made 14 requests because he does not know the agency that has the document or because the document might not exist. No. Mr Sweeney does not need to have a copy of the document because Mr Sweeney wrote the document himself! This a person can see from the request to the Ombudsman (https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/a... .

Why do I suggest that this is a dishonourable use of Right to Know? It is because the requests are carefully created to get maximum publicity for Mr Sweeney and his allegations about what he wishes to call the "worst" white collar crime.

I should say it clearly that I do not think it is always dishonourable for a person to request a document she wrote herself. Maybe she has lost the original. Maybe she is unsure whether the version of the document in her own hand is the same that the agency has. So there can be many good reasons to make a Freedom of Information request already when one has a document. But Mr Sweeney's request creates a very serious problem. His document makes strong allegations that some particular persons are criminals and have committed a specific crime. When an agency gives access to a document, the agency is protected from civil liability by sections 90 and 91 of the Freedom of Information Act. When Mr Sweeney's document is published on Right to Know, then Right to Know is not protected at all.

In my opinion, the Ombudsman has made a serious mistake. He should not have given the document to Mr Sweeney. The request from Mr Sweeney should have been refused (by all agencies) for reasons of section 47E(d) of the Act. This section says that a document is conditionally exempt if access could have a substantial adverse effect on the operations of the agency. Mr Sweeney's document (the document he has written) is a complaint about criminal activity. The Australian Information Commissioner has agreed many times that release of documents of this kind could decrease public confidence that complaints will be dealt with confidentially. Maybe you will say, "but Mr Sweeney wrote the document and he wants it himself." It is not relevant to the Act. Who the person is who is the applicant is only relevant if it is a request for "personal information". Mr Sweeney's document is not personal information. It is a criminal complaint. When a criminal complaint is made public by the agency and the author is identified by the agency, it suggests that any complainant name could be published in a similar way. It is not a good approach. The other agencies should have refused the request from Mr Sweeney for the same reason. If Mr Sweeney wanted to publish his allegations about criminals, he could write his own newspaper or blog. It is not the purpose of Right to Know to be Mr Sweeney's spin doctor.

Mr Sweeney is not the first person to use Right to Know as a place to shout his political opinion. I have written before about wrong uses of Right to Know:
https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/s...
https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/g...

I doubt it will be the last time this happens but I am disappointing to see it again. I only repeat what I have said elsewhere ... Please Mr Sweeney, respect the purpose of the Right to Know website. When you abuse the purpose of the site, you make a problem for people who want to use the site for the purpose that it is created.

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Phillip Sweeney left an annotation ()

Dear Locutus Sum

"Je Suis Charlie"

There were a number of journalist in Paris recently who died upholding the right of Freedom of Speech.

The Freedom of Speech is the cornerstone of an democracy and the right to have access to documents held by Government Agencies is also a cornerstone to any democracy.

I have a valid reason for making a request for all the documents I have requested. I have sent important documents to Ministers and Government agencies in past only later to be told that they cannot be located.

I am using the title "Australia's Worst White-Collar Crime" because that is the truth. It seems that you have a problem with the truth.

There has been an orchestrated attempt to cover-up this fraud that has left the widows of my former colleagues without their survivorship pensions. This attempted cover-up has been afoot for the last 5 years.

If you had a gun would you shoot me like the assassins of the Journalists of Charlie Habdo because you disagree with my right to seek justice for the widows of my friends and they way I am going about this?

You are claiming that agencies should be allowed to refuse access to document because someone has a "political agenda". Well who is to determine who has a "political agenda"?

Have you not read the FOI Act? A Minister or an agency cannot refuse to release a non-exempt document on a presumption of why a person may be requesting that document.

"Every person" has a "right to know" and they are not required to demonstrate a "need to know".

One of the reasons for the FOI Act is to help identify corruption in the Australian Public Service.

As an Australian citizen I have important legal rights that other Australians have died to protect in several wars.

It would be remiss of me not to exercise these rights such as the right to have access to documents held by Government agencies.

It is said that democracy dies the death of a thousand cuts.

Laplace famously said "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend until death your right to say it."

You may disagree with how I phrase my FOI Requests but will you defend until death, my right to lodge FOI requests?

Yours Sincerely

Phillip Sweeney
{Advocate for the Widows}

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Phillip Sweeney left an annotation ()

Dear Locutus Sum

You have ranted about the fact that someone requests a copy of a document that they themselves have sent a Minister or an agency.

This subject came up in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal last year when three agencies spent well over $100,000 of taxpayers' money in an attempt to deny me from having access to ANY documents held by these agencies, because I was causing "political embarrassment" to these agencies.

In fact I have had an example posted on the disclosure log of the AAT where a Minister lost copies a the Deeds that confirm the entitlement of widows to receive a survivorship pension.

I specifically asked the Minister to put these documents on file for future reference but they still went "missing".

http://www.aat.gov.au/AboutTheAAT/Access...

The Minister involved was later stood down for other reasons (following a corruption investigation in NSW)

Locutus Sum must be under the impression that all Australian Public Servants (and Ministers)are as pure as the drive snow and that corruption is non-existent in the Public Service.

Well I hope to prove Locutus Sum wrong.

I also have spoken.

Yours Sincerely

Phillip Sweeney

{Advocate against Corruption}

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Phillip Sweeney left an annotation ()

Dear Locutus Sum

You have raised a concern that the documents I have requested may be defamatory.

I refer you to Section 25 of the Defamation Act 2005

"It is a defence to the publication of defamatory matter if the defendant proves that the defamatory imputations carried by the matter of which the plaintiff complains are substantially true."

The document that I am alleging to be fraudulent bears the signature of Mr Ken Jarrett, who served a term of imprisonment for dishonest conduct following a major investigation by the former National Crime Authority.

If I refer to Mr Jarrett as a "white-collar criminal" then there is a prison sentence that confirms that statement is "substantially true".

If you have read the document provided by the Commonwealth Ombudsman in the spirit of the FOI Act, then you will see this is a remarkably easy fraud to prove. You just have to count the number of Directors signatures that appear alongside that of the "white-collar criminal" Ken Jarrett.

If fact the wrong party executed the purported Deed of Variation. A "company" is a separate legal person to the Directors of the company who are natural persons.

It is trite law that the correct parties must execute any contract or Deed for it to be legally binding.

Now do you not believe that it is a matter of Public Interest as to why no "Regulator" or Law Enforcement Agency has taken action against such a well known "white-collar criminal" over the last 5 years?

Especially when this is such an easy fraud to prove?

The High Court has confirmed Australians enjoy Freedom of Speech with respect to politicians and employees of government agencies. I am free to level allegations of misconduct against politicians and employees of government agencies.

Those agencies cannot deny me access to information on the basis that I am a critic of that agency and that I might use the information to embarrass that agency.

The FOI Act would be useless legislation if that was the case.

Yours Sincerely

Phillip Sweeney

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Ben Fairless left an annotation ()

Everyone,

Please don't forget about our policy on annotations:
https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/requ...

I will allow the annotations in this request to remain, however please make sure that you limit your comments to helping people make use of Right to Know and Freedom of Information. References to "Freedom of Speech" are not relevant here.

Thanks

Ben
Right to Know Volunteer

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Ben Fairless left an annotation ()

No further annotations will be allowed on this request, and I've hidden annotations made after my post which don't comply with our rules. If you have any questions, please contact us: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/cont...

Ben
Right to Know Volunteer

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