Cables

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,

I am seeking all diplomatic cables sent from the Australian High Commission in Sri Lanka to the Department in Canberra since September 2013 that refer to:

- "Illegal maritime arrivals", "illegal migrants" or "unauthorized maritime arrivals". This may include references to the numbers of arrivals, processes of return or court cases brought to Sri Lankan courts to charge those that leave illegally. Please also include any cables that reference the International Organisation for Migration.

- "Operation Sovereign Borders"

- "People smuggling". This may include references to arrests, court cases brought to Sri Lankan courts or development programs conducted in the coastal regions of the country. Please also include any cables that refer to the operations of the AFP or Department of Home Affairs to combat people smuggling.

- "Zero Chance" or other communications campaigns.

- Visits by ministers (Immigration, Home Affairs).

Many thanks in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Elias Ross

FOI, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL

FOI Reference: LEX2731

File Number: 20/28662

 

Dear Mr Ross

 

Re: Freedom of Information (FOI) Request

 

Thank you for your e-mail dated 6 October 2020 in which you seek access
under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 to:

 

“… all diplomatic cables sent from the Australian High Commission in Sri
Lanka to the Department in Canberra since September 2013 that refer to:

- "Illegal maritime arrivals", "illegal migrants" or "unauthorized
maritime arrivals". This may include references to the numbers of
arrivals, processes of return or court cases brought to Sri Lankan courts
to charge those that leave illegally. Please also include any cables that
reference the International Organisation for Migration.

- "Operation Sovereign Borders"

- "People smuggling". This may include references to arrests, court cases
brought to Sri Lankan courts or development programs conducted in the
coastal regions of the country. Please also include any cables that refer
to the operations of the AFP or Department of Home Affairs to combat
people smuggling.

- "Zero Chance" or other communications campaigns.

- Visits by ministers (Immigration, Home Affairs).”

 

This e-mail sets out some information about how your request will be
processed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

 

Searches are now being undertaken in relevant areas of the department for
documents relevant to your request.

 

Scope of request

If it emerges that the scope of your request is unclear or is too large
for processing, the department will contact you to discuss re-scoping the
request.

 

Timeframe for receiving our decision

We received your request on 6 October 2020 and the 30-day statutory period
for processing your request commenced from the day after that date.  You
should therefore expect a decision from us by 5 November 2020. The period
of 30 days may be extended in certain circumstances.  We will advise you
if any extension of time is required.

 

Charges

Please note that the department issues charges for processing FOI
requests.  We will advise you of these charges when we are in a position
to estimate the resources required to process your request.

 

Timing of release

As the subject matter of your request will require DFAT to upload any
documents released to you to the department’s FOI Disclosure Log, we take
this opportunity to advise you that the department’s policy is to upload
documents to the disclosure log on the same day as the documents are
released to you.

 

Exclusion of officials’ names and contact details

It is the department’s policy to withhold the mobile numbers of all
government officials, and the names and contact details of government
officials not in the Senior Executive Service (SES) or equivalent.  If you
require the mobile numbers of all government officials, or the names and
contact details of non-SES officials, please let us know at
[1][DFAT request email] so the decision-maker may consider; otherwise we will
take it that you agree to that information being excluded from the scope
of your request.

 

Personal Information

If we need to consult with other people or organisations regarding your
FOI request, we may need to disclose your personal information (e.g. your
name).  When we consult it may be apparent that you have made a request,
even if we do not disclose your identity.  Please let us know if you have
any concerns in this regard.  The department’s privacy policy is available
at [2]dfat.gov.au/privacy.html.

 

Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to
contact us by return e-mail at [3][DFAT request email].

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Kind regards
Joel

[4]cid:image001.png@01D349A2.74F24380

DFAT FOI Team

Freedom of Information and Privacy Law Section
Legal Division | Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
[5]DFAT.GOV.AU | [6]Twitter | [7]Facebook | [8]Flickr | [9]YouTube

 

This email and any attachments may contain confidential information or
legal advice over which legal professional privilege can be claimed. Such
privilege is not waived and you should ensure that, in your handling of
the advice, you avoid waiving privilege. Please consult the author of the
advice if unsure about appropriate handling.

 

 

 

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FOI, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

2 Attachments

OFFICIAL

FOI Reference: LEX2731

File Number: 20/28662

 

Dear Mr Ross

Please find attached correspondence relating to your FOI request,
reference LEX2731.

Yours sincerely
Joel

[1]cid:image001.png@01D349A2.74F24380

DFAT FOI Team

Freedom of Information and Privacy Law Section
Legal Division | Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
[2]DFAT.GOV.AU | [3]Twitter | [4]Facebook | [5]Flickr | [6]YouTube

 

This email and any attachments may contain confidential information or
legal advice over which legal professional privilege can be claimed. Such
privilege is not waived and you should ensure that, in your handling of
the advice, you avoid waiving privilege. Please consult the author of the
advice if unsure about appropriate handling.

 

 

 

From: FOI
Sent: Wednesday, 7 October 2020 11:11 AM
To: 'Elias Ross' <[FOI #6782 email]>
Subject: Your DFAT FOI request - Acknowledgement - LEX2731 [SEC=OFFICIAL]

 

OFFICIAL

FOI Reference: LEX2731

File Number: 20/28662

 

Dear Mr Ross

 

Re: Freedom of Information (FOI) Request

 

Thank you for your e-mail dated 6 October 2020 in which you seek access
under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 to:

 

“… all diplomatic cables sent from the Australian High Commission in Sri
Lanka to the Department in Canberra since September 2013 that refer to:

- "Illegal maritime arrivals", "illegal migrants" or "unauthorized
maritime arrivals". This may include references to the numbers of
arrivals, processes of return or court cases brought to Sri Lankan courts
to charge those that leave illegally. Please also include any cables that
reference the International Organisation for Migration.

- "Operation Sovereign Borders"

- "People smuggling". This may include references to arrests, court cases
brought to Sri Lankan courts or development programs conducted in the
coastal regions of the country. Please also include any cables that refer
to the operations of the AFP or Department of Home Affairs to combat
people smuggling.

- "Zero Chance" or other communications campaigns.

- Visits by ministers (Immigration, Home Affairs).”

 

This e-mail sets out some information about how your request will be
processed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

 

Searches are now being undertaken in relevant areas of the department for
documents relevant to your request.

 

Scope of request

If it emerges that the scope of your request is unclear or is too large
for processing, the department will contact you to discuss re-scoping the
request.

 

Timeframe for receiving our decision

We received your request on 6 October 2020 and the 30-day statutory period
for processing your request commenced from the day after that date.  You
should therefore expect a decision from us by 5 November 2020. The period
of 30 days may be extended in certain circumstances.  We will advise you
if any extension of time is required.

 

Charges

Please note that the department issues charges for processing FOI
requests.  We will advise you of these charges when we are in a position
to estimate the resources required to process your request.

 

Timing of release

As the subject matter of your request will require DFAT to upload any
documents released to you to the department’s FOI Disclosure Log, we take
this opportunity to advise you that the department’s policy is to upload
documents to the disclosure log on the same day as the documents are
released to you.

 

Exclusion of officials’ names and contact details

It is the department’s policy to withhold the mobile numbers of all
government officials, and the names and contact details of government
officials not in the Senior Executive Service (SES) or equivalent.  If you
require the mobile numbers of all government officials, or the names and
contact details of non-SES officials, please let us know at
[7][DFAT request email] so the decision-maker may consider; otherwise we will
take it that you agree to that information being excluded from the scope
of your request.

 

Personal Information

If we need to consult with other people or organisations regarding your
FOI request, we may need to disclose your personal information (e.g. your
name).  When we consult it may be apparent that you have made a request,
even if we do not disclose your identity.  Please let us know if you have
any concerns in this regard.  The department’s privacy policy is available
at [8]dfat.gov.au/privacy.html.

 

Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to
contact us by return e-mail at [9][DFAT request email].

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Kind regards
Joel

[10]cid:image001.png@01D349A2.74F24380

DFAT FOI Team

Freedom of Information and Privacy Law Section
Legal Division | Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
[11]DFAT.GOV.AU | [12]Twitter | [13]Facebook | [14]Flickr | [15]YouTube

 

This email and any attachments may contain confidential information or
legal advice over which legal professional privilege can be claimed. Such
privilege is not waived and you should ensure that, in your handling of
the advice, you avoid waiving privilege. Please consult the author of the
advice if unsure about appropriate handling.

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear FOI,

Thank you for the notice. I would like to revise my request to a much smaller time period as follows:

All diplomatic cables sent from the Australian High Commission in Sri Lanka to the Department in Canberra since January 2018 that refer to:

- "Illegal maritime arrivals", "illegal migrants" or "unauthorized maritime arrivals". This may include references to the numbers of arrivals, processes of return or court cases brought to Sri Lankan courts to charge those that leave illegally. Please also include any cables that reference the International Organisation for Migration.

- "Operation Sovereign Borders"

- "People smuggling". This may include references to arrests, court cases brought to Sri Lankan courts or development programs conducted in the coastal regions of the country. Please also include any cables that refer to the operations of the AFP or Department of Home Affairs to combat people smuggling.

- "Zero Chance" or other communications campaigns.

- Visits by ministers (Immigration, Home Affairs).

Yours sincerely,

Elias Ross

FOI, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL
FOI Reference: LEX2731
File Number: 20/28662

Dear Mr Ross

I can confirm that searches have been completed in line with your revised scope, provided 18 October 2020. Please find attached correspondence relating to charges for your FOI request, reference LEX2731.

Yours sincerely
Joel
DFAT FOI Team
Freedom of Information and Privacy Law Section
Legal Division | Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
DFAT.GOV.AU | Twitter | Facebook | Flickr | YouTube

This email and any attachments may contain confidential information or legal advice over which legal professional privilege can be claimed. Such privilege is not waived and you should ensure that, in your handling of the advice, you avoid waiving privilege. Please consult the author of the advice if unsure about appropriate handling.

show quoted sections

Dear Joel

Thank you for this response. And apologies that is has taken some time to get to this request — I have been trying to determine whether it is possible for me to fulfil this cost. I am a student currently on Centrelink and am wondering whether it would be possible to contend the charge on the basis that it will bring me financial hardship. I am also more that happy to provide a public interest justification for this request if need be.

Many thanks for your consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Elias Ross

Dear FOI,

Just following up my previous mail about the possibility of waiving the fees for this request.

Many thanks

Yours sincerely,

Elias Ross

FOI, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

OFFICIAL
FOI Reference: LEX2731
File Number: 20/28662

Dear Mr Ross

Thank you for your email seeking an update on the possibility of waiving fees for your FOI request, reference LEX2731.

The Director of the Department's Freedom of Information and Privacy Law Section is currently considering your request to waive fees for LEX2731. We will endeavour to have a response to you shortly.

Yours sincerely
Joel

DFAT FOI Team
Freedom of Information and Privacy Law Section
Legal Division | Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
DFAT.GOV.AU | Twitter | Facebook | Flickr | YouTube

This email and any attachments may contain confidential information or legal advice over which legal professional privilege can be claimed. Such privilege is not waived and you should ensure that, in your handling of the advice, you avoid waiving privilege. Please consult the author of the advice if unsure about appropriate handling.

show quoted sections

FOI, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

OFFICIAL
FOI Reference: LEX2731
File Number: 20/28662

Dear Mr Ross

Thank you for your email to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) seeking a reduction of charges issued for your FOI request, reference LEX2731.

The delegate is currently considering your contention of the charge on the basis of financial hardship. To assist with this consideration, DFAT would be most grateful if you could provide a student ID or other documentation to support your contention of financial hardship.

After you have provided this supporting documentation, the department will be in contact again once the delegate has considered your contention to reduce the charge.

Yours sincerely
Joel

DFAT FOI Team
Freedom of Information and Privacy Law Section
Legal Division | Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
DFAT.GOV.AU | Twitter | Facebook | Flickr | YouTube

This email and any attachments may contain confidential information or legal advice over which legal professional privilege can be claimed. Such privilege is not waived and you should ensure that, in your handling of the advice, you avoid waiving privilege. Please consult the author of the advice if unsure about appropriate handling.

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Dear Joel,

I sent an email to the dfat foi email address with the subject FOI Reference: LEX2731, File Number: 20/28662. It includes a confirmation of enrolment. The sender email address begins with ohfriedmann...

Yours sincerely,

Elias Ross

FOI, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

OFFICIAL
FOI Reference: LEX2731
File Number: 20/28662

Dear Mr Ross

Thank you for sending through your confirmation of enrolment. This documentation will be provided to the delegate and the department will communicate a decision on the reduction or waiver of charges to you later this week.

Yours sincerely
Joel

DFAT FOI Team
Freedom of Information and Privacy Law Section
Legal Division | Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
DFAT.GOV.AU | Twitter | Facebook | Flickr | YouTube

This email and any attachments may contain confidential information or legal advice over which legal professional privilege can be claimed. Such privilege is not waived and you should ensure that, in your handling of the advice, you avoid waiving privilege. Please consult the author of the advice if unsure about appropriate handling.

show quoted sections

FOI, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL
FOI Reference: LEX2731
File Number: 20/28662

Dear Mr Ross

Please find attached correspondence relating to your request to reduce or waive charges for your FOI request, reference LEX2731.

Yours sincerely
Joel

DFAT FOI Team
Freedom of Information and Privacy Law Section
Legal Division | Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
DFAT.GOV.AU | Twitter | Facebook | Flickr | YouTube

This email and any attachments may contain confidential information or legal advice over which legal professional privilege can be claimed. Such privilege is not waived and you should ensure that, in your handling of the advice, you avoid waiving privilege. Please consult the author of the advice if unsure about appropriate handling.

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Dear Joel,

I have just sent through an email with the subject 'Friedmann FOI Ref: LEX2731' to pay these charges. Many thanks for your help

Yours sincerely,

Elias Ross

FOI, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

OFFICIAL
FOI Reference: LEX2731
File Number: 20/28662

Dear Mr Ross

I can confirm that the department has received the email referred to below. Once your payment has been processed and confirmed, the clock will restart on this matter and we will re-commence processing of your request. There are currently 12 days left on the clock for this matter.

Noting the approaching Christmas holiday period and the APS Christmas Shutdown (25 December-4 January), we would like to take this opportunity to request your agreement to an extension of the statutory processing time for your request under section 15AA of the FOI Act. The sought extension length is for 30 days.

We would be grateful if you could please confirm whether you agree to this extension by return email ahead of the Christmas Shutdown period.

Yours sincerely
Joel

DFAT FOI Team
Freedom of Information and Privacy Law Section
Legal Division | Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
DFAT.GOV.AU | Twitter | Facebook | Flickr | YouTube

This email and any attachments may contain confidential information or legal advice over which legal professional privilege can be claimed. Such privilege is not waived and you should ensure that, in your handling of the advice, you avoid waiving privilege. Please consult the author of the advice if unsure about appropriate handling.

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Dear Joel,

Not a problem. Thanks and best wishes for the holidays.

Yours sincerely,

Elias Ross

FOI, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

OFFICIAL
FOI Reference: LEX2731
File Number: 20/28662

Dear Mr Ross

Please find a receipt attached to the department's email sent to you earlier today. As the deposit has been paid, the department will now re-commence processing your request. The new due date is 1 February 2021.

Yours sincerely
Joel

DFAT FOI Team
Freedom of Information and Privacy Law Section
Legal Division | Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
DFAT.GOV.AU | Twitter | Facebook | Flickr | YouTube

This email and any attachments may contain confidential information or legal advice over which legal professional privilege can be claimed. Such privilege is not waived and you should ensure that, in your handling of the advice, you avoid waiving privilege. Please consult the author of the advice if unsure about appropriate handling.

show quoted sections