We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Phillip Sweeney please sign in and let everyone know.

Ban on Australian Citizens Leaving Australia

We're waiting for Phillip Sweeney to read recent responses and update the status.

Phillip Sweeney

Dear Department of Health,

The Minister for Health, The Hon Greg Hunt MP, has imposed a ban on Australian citizens leaving Australia based on "medical advice".

The document or documents I seek are copies of the medical advice provided to the Minister that would justify such a decision when no other country in the world has imposed such a restriction on the free movement its own citizens.

Yours faithfully,

Phillip Sweeney

FOI, Department of Health

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sweeney

 

I am writing to notify you that on 20 October 2020, the Department of
Health (department) received your request for access to documents under
the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (the Act) as follows:

 

Copies of the medical advice provided to the Minister that would justify
such a decision when no other country in the world has imposed such a
restriction on the free movement its own citizens.

 

Unless you advise otherwise, duplicate documents and Commonwealth employee
names and contact details below Senior Executive Service level and mobile
telephone numbers of all staff will be excluded from the scope of your
request under subparagraph 22(1)(a)(ii) of the Act.

 

Request for extension of time

 

The department is actively processing your request and is aiming to
finalise it as quickly as possible. However, the department is currently
experiencing an increased workload to manage and respond to the
coronavirus pandemic, with a large amount of resources being diverted to
do so. The content of your request means that any documents that exist
would sit with the line area who has responsibility for the department’s
continued response to the coronavirus.

 

On this basis, the department is seeking an extension of 30 calendar days,
with a decision to be provided to you no later than COB 19 December 2020.

 

Refining the scope of your request

 

The department has reviewed your request and have concluded that a large
number of documents would likely be captured by the broad scope of your
request. The documents captured would stretch across multiple divisions
within the department, and include a large volume of files and folders.
Each of these areas need to identify, locate and examine documents
relevant to your broad request. The department is of the view that the
processing of your request, in its current form, would be a substantial
and unreasonable diversion of the department’s resources, leading to a
‘practical refusal’ decision being made under section 24AA of the FOI Act.

 

We are seeking to work with you to refine the scope of your request. In
doing so, you may wish to consider refining the scope as follows:

·         Specify the information or particular documents to which you
seek access i.e. are you seeking access to briefings provided to the
Minister, Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advice,
epidemiology reports, Chief Human Biosecurity Officer (CHBO) advice

·         Specify a particular timeframe/period for the documents you are
seeking i.e. the overseas travel ban has been in place since 18 March 2020
and continues to be in force – please consider providing a suitable date
range for searches to be conducted that does not stretch across the period
of February to October 2020

 

Next steps

 

Could you please advise the department by COB 9 November 2020 if you
agree to the request for extension of time? We would also be grateful if
you could respond in writing confirming any amendments you would like to
make to the scope of your request. If you do not respond with your
instructions by the specified date, the department will to proceed to a
formal practical refusal consultation process under section 24AB of the
FOI Act.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI Unit

 

FOI and Legislation Support Section

[1]cid:image003.png@01D51610.1D98D220

Legal and Assurance Division |  Corporate Operations Group

Legal Advice and Legislation Branch

Australian Government Department of Health

T: 02 6289 1666 | E: [2][Health request email] 

GPO Box 9848, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia

 

The Department of Health acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of
Australia and their continued connection to land, sea and community. We
pay our respects to all Elders past and present. 

 

If you receive this email in error, please delete it and contact the
sender immediately.

 

show quoted sections

Phillip Sweeney

Dear FOI,

I agree to the extension of time as requested

The scope of the request can be narrowed to briefings provided to the Minister from 1 February 2020 to 20 March 2012 related to COVID-19 and any advice produced by the Chief Human Biosecurity Officer (CHBO) during the same period.

Yours sincerely,

Phillip Sweeney

FOI, Department of Health

Dear Mr Sweeney

Thank you for your email and for your agreement to extending the time frame for this request. The department is currently liaising with the relevant business areas regarding the revised scope of your request as follows:

... briefings provided to the Minister from 1 February 2020 to 20 March 2012 related to COVID-19 and any advice produced by the Chief Human Biosecurity Officer (CHBO) during the same period.

Can you please confirm that your revised scope is still in the context of medical advice related to the travel ban as provided in the original scope of your request?

As such, the department would interpret your revised scope as follows:

In relation to the COVID-19 travel ban:

1. Briefings containing medical advice provided to the Minister
2. Medical advice from the CHBO provided to the Minister

If you do not advise otherwise, the department will continue processing your request on the basis of the interpretation provided above.

Kind regards

FOI Unit – FOI and Legislation Support Section

Legal and Assurance Division |  Corporate Operations Group
Legal Advice and Legislation Branch
Australian Government Department of Health
T: 02 6289 1666 | E: [Health request email] 
GPO Box 9848, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia

The Department of Health acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Australia and their continued connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to all Elders past and present. 

If you receive this email in error, please delete it and contact the sender immediately.

show quoted sections

Phillip Sweeney

Dear FOI,

Yes, that is OK by me

Yours sincerely,

Phillip Sweeney

FOI, Department of Health

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sweeney

 

I refer to previous correspondence of 12 November 2020 in relation to your
Freedom of Information request to the Department of Health (department).

 

The relevant line area has conducted searches for documents within scope
of your revised request as follows:

 

In relation to the COVID-19 travel ban:

1. Briefings containing medical advice provided to the Minister

2. Medical advice from the CHBO provided to the Minister

 

from 1 February 2020 to 20 March 2020

 

The department can advise there are no documents within the refined scope
of your request. This means the above scope would result in the department
providing you a ‘no documents’ decision under section 24A of the FOI Act.

 

Alternative approach to processing your request

 

While the department cannot provide documents within the period 1 February
2020 to 20 March 2020 as per your revised request, the department does
hold a document dated 25 March 2020.

 

On this basis, the department is seeking whether you would like to
withdraw your current request, and instead make a new request in the
following terms:

 

In relation to the COVID-19 travel ban:

1. Briefings containing medical advice provided to the Minister

2. Medical advice from the CHBO provided to the Minister

 

from 1 February 2020 to 25 March 2020

 

Next steps

 

Please advise the FOI Unit of your preferred approach by COB Monday, 7
December 2020. The FOI Unit would be happy to discuss your request further
on (02) 6289 1666 or by email at [1][Health request email].

 

Kind regards

FOI Officer

 

FOI Unit – FOI and Legislation Support Section

[2]cid:image003.png@01D51610.1D98D220

Legal and Assurance Division |  Corporate Operations Group

Legal Advice and Legislation Branch

Australian Government Department of Health

T: 02 6289 1666 | E: [3][Health request email] 

GPO Box 9848, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia

 

The Department of Health acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of
Australia and their continued connection to land, sea and community. We
pay our respects to all Elders past and present. 

 

If you receive this email in error, please delete it and contact the
sender immediately.

 

"Important: This transmission is intended only for the use of the
addressee and may contain confidential or legally privileged information. 
If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any use or
dissemination of this communication is strictly prohibited.  If you
receive this transmission in error please notify the author immediately
and delete all copies of this transmission."

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Health request email]
3. mailto:[Health request email]

FOI, Department of Health

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sweeney

 

I refer to the below correspondence of 3 December 2020 in which the
department discussed an alternative approach to processing your request
(FOI 2041).

 

Please advise the FOI Unit if you agree to the proposed approach by COB
Friday, 11 December 2020.

 

Kind regards

FOI Officer

 

FOI Unit – FOI and Legislation Support Section

[1]cid:image003.png@01D51610.1D98D220

Legal and Assurance Division |  Corporate Operations Group

Legal Advice and Legislation Branch

Australian Government Department of Health

T: 02 6289 1666 | E: [2][Health request email] 

GPO Box 9848, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia

 

The Department of Health acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of
Australia and their continued connection to land, sea and community. We
pay our respects to all Elders past and present. 

 

If you receive this email in error, please delete it and contact the
sender immediately.

 

From: FOI <[email address]>
Sent: Thursday, 3 December 2020 12:21 PM
To: Phillip Sweeney <[FOI #6817 email]>
Cc: FOI <[email address]>
Subject: FOI 2041 - Alternative approach to Processing your request
[SEC=OFFICIAL]

 

Dear Mr Sweeney

 

I refer to previous correspondence of 12 November 2020 in relation to your
Freedom of Information request to the Department of Health (department).

 

The relevant line area has conducted searches for documents within scope
of your revised request as follows:

 

In relation to the COVID-19 travel ban:

1. Briefings containing medical advice provided to the Minister

2. Medical advice from the CHBO provided to the Minister

 

from 1 February 2020 to 20 March 2020

 

The department can advise there are no documents within the refined scope
of your request. This means the above scope would result in the department
providing you a ‘no documents’ decision under section 24A of the FOI Act.

 

Alternative approach to processing your request

 

While the department cannot provide documents within the period 1 February
2020 to 20 March 2020 as per your revised request, the department does
hold a document dated 25 March 2020.

 

On this basis, the department is seeking whether you would like to
withdraw your current request, and instead make a new request in the
following terms:

 

In relation to the COVID-19 travel ban:

1. Briefings containing medical advice provided to the Minister

2. Medical advice from the CHBO provided to the Minister

 

from 1 February 2020 to 25 March 2020

 

Next steps

 

Please advise the FOI Unit of your preferred approach by COB Monday, 7
December 2020. The FOI Unit would be happy to discuss your request further
on (02) 6289 1666 or by email at [3][Health request email].

 

Kind regards

FOI Officer

 

FOI Unit – FOI and Legislation Support Section

[4]cid:image003.png@01D51610.1D98D220

Legal and Assurance Division |  Corporate Operations Group

Legal Advice and Legislation Branch

Australian Government Department of Health

T: 02 6289 1666 | E: [5][Health request email] 

GPO Box 9848, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia

 

The Department of Health acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of
Australia and their continued connection to land, sea and community. We
pay our respects to all Elders past and present. 

 

If you receive this email in error, please delete it and contact the
sender immediately.

 

"Important: This transmission is intended only for the use of the
addressee and may contain confidential or legally privileged information. 
If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any use or
dissemination of this communication is strictly prohibited.  If you
receive this transmission in error please notify the author immediately
and delete all copies of this transmission."

References

Visible links
2. mailto:[Health request email]
3. mailto:[Health request email]
5. mailto:[Health request email]

FOI, Department of Health

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Sweeney

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your Freedom of
Information request to the Department of Health.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI Officer

 

FOI Unit – FOI and Legislation Support Section

[1]cid:image003.png@01D51610.1D98D220

Legal and Assurance Division |  Corporate Operations Group

Legal Advice and Legislation Branch

Australian Government Department of Health

T: 02 6289 1666 | E: [2][Health request email] 

GPO Box 9848, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia

 

The Department of Health acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of
Australia and their continued connection to land, sea and community. We
pay our respects to all Elders past and present. 

 

If you receive this email in error, please delete it and contact the
sender immediately.

 

"Important: This transmission is intended only for the use of the
addressee and may contain confidential or legally privileged information. 
If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any use or
dissemination of this communication is strictly prohibited.  If you
receive this transmission in error please notify the author immediately
and delete all copies of this transmission."

References

Visible links
2. mailto:[Health request email]

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Phillip Sweeney please sign in and let everyone know.