December 2005 incursion by protesters into Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap

Culley Palmer made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Defence

Department of Defence did not have the information requested.

From: Culley Palmer

Delivered

Dear Department of Defence,

I hereby request access, under the
Freedom of Information Act 1982, to:

1. Copies of any communications between the Department of Defence and any other Government Departments, Agencies or individuals, regarding the December 2005 incursion of protesters into Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap;

2. Copies of all briefings, communications, forms, reports or notes regarding the December 2005 incursion of protesters into Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap.

For reference, the protest / incursion of December 2005 to which this request pertains is documented here:
http://nautilus.org/publications/books/a...

I request that all costs for all aspects of the processing of this request be waived on the grounds that the release of this information is in the public interest.

Regards,

Culley Palmer

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From: FOI
Department of Defence

UNCLASSIFIED

Good morning

Thank you for your email.

Your email has been forwarded for further consideration/action.

Regards

FOI Operations
[email address]
02 6266 2200

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From: Stinson, Theresa MRS
Department of Defence

UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Mr Palmer

1. I refer to your request dated 12 December 2011, in which you
sought access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(FOI Act). In particular, you sought:

1. Copies of any communications between the Department of Defence and
any other Government Departments, Agencies or individuals, regarding the
December 2005 incursion of protesters into Joint Defence Facility Pine
Gap;

2. Copies of all briefings, communications, forms, reports or notes
regarding the December 2005 incursion of protesters into Joint Defence
Facility Pine Gap.

For reference, the protest / incursion of December 2005 to which this
request pertains is documented here:
http://nautilus.org/publications/books/a...
facilities/pine-gap/pine-gap-protests/incursion-09-12-2005/

Scope of Request

2. Upon receipt of your request, our office undertook inquiries
with three Groups within Defence in relation to the documents you are
seeking. Some preliminary searches were undertaken and one area advised
that there are 7 file parts relating to this matter, while another area
advised that they expect to hold in excess of 700 pages of documents
that may fall within the terms of your request.

3. As a result of those inquiries our office has determined that
the scope of your request, in its current form, is considered too broad
to be processed and would therefore attract a practical refusal under
section 24AA of the FOI Act.

4. Further, a request for any/all documents concerning a particular
subject will likely attract refusal under section 24AA of the FOI Act
because, with few exceptions, it would simply not be possible for the
decision maker to certify that he or she has identified every copy of
every single document in the Department's possession, which falls within
the scope of the request, without conducting a search of every hard copy
file and all individuals electronic communication records in the
Department of Defence. It is considered that the workload involved in
conscientiously attempting to do so would involve a substantial and
unreasonable diversion of resources of the agency.

5. Further, it is not the department's policy to undertake searches
of Defence backup tapes to answer an FOI request.

Practical Refusal Reason

6. Taking the above into consideration, under section 24AA of the
FOI Act and for the purposes of section 24 of the FOI Act, Defence
considers that a "practical refusal reason" exists in relation to your
FOI request. Specifically, Defence considers that the work involved in
processing the request in its current form, would substantially and
unreasonably divert the resources of Defence from its other operations.
In particular, a very significant amount of resources would have to be
diverted from other Defence activities to identify, locate and collate
the documents within Defence, and to decide whether to grant, refuse or
defer access to the large number of documents to which your request
relates, or to grant access to edited copies of such documents,
including resources that would have to be used to examine the documents,
or to consult with any person or body in relation to the request, and to
make copies, or edited copies, of the documents, and to notify any
interim or final decision on the request.

7. This diversion would constitute a significant drain on the
resources of the areas involved and would have an unreasonable,
substantial and adverse effect on the ability of those areas to conduct
their normal business.

Consultation

8. Consequently, in accordance with section 24AB of the FOI Act,
Defence is required to consult with you advising of the intention to
refuse access to your request in its current form.

9. In accordance with paragraph 24AB(2)(c) of the FOI Act, I am the
nominated person with whom you should contact with a view of agreeing to
one of the following options:

a. withdraw your request;
b. revise your request; or
c. indicate that you do not wish to revise your
request;

10. You should note that, in accordance with section 24AB(9) of the
FOI Act, Defence is only required to undertake the above consultation
process once, and that you are required to contact me within 14 days of
receipt of this notice. Should you require further time to respond,
please contact me or [email address] by 11 February 2015 to
discuss.

Action required

11. If you do not contact me or [email address] by 11
February 2015, or an additional period of time is not agreed, your
request will be withdrawn.

Further correspondence

12. Unless advised to the contrary, our office will use your email
address [FOI #861 email] to contact you.

Point of contact details

13. A link to the FOI Act is below along with my contact details.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions in
relation to this matter.

Regards

Theresa Stinson
Assistant Director - Media Case Management FOI Ministerial and Executive
Coordination & Communication Division

Building F065
Level 2-012
Gallipoli Barracks
ENOGGERA QLD 4051

Ph: (07) 3332 6359

Alternative email: [email address]

Website:http://www.defence.gov.au/foi/index.htm
Privacy Statement:http://www.defence.gov.au/FOI/privacy.asp

FOI Act: http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2014C0...
FOI Guidelines:
http://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-inform...
uidelines/

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From: Culley Palmer

Delivered

Dear Theresa Stinson,

Thank you for your email in response to my FOI request. I note the Department has determined that a "practical refusal reason" exists for the request.

I wish to revise the scope of my request and proceed with it as a request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

I wish to limit the scope of the request in the following ways:

1) exclude all duplicates
2) exclude drafts
3) exclude the personal information of the individuals concerned
4) exclude documents which can reasonably assumed to be already in the public domain (ie news articles forwarded in Defence email systems)

Would you please advise me as to the practicality of proceeding with my request with these revisions?

Additionally, perhaps you could reveal which three Groups within Defence were searched for documents; and which area retained 7 file parts, and which area estimated over 700 pages of documents - as this will assist me in this consultation process.

I look forward to your reply.

Regards,

Culley Palmer

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From: Stinson, Theresa MRS
Department of Defence

UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Mr Culley,

Thank you for your email below. While it is noted that you have
attempted to revise the scope of your request, unfortunately, the
practical refusal reason still exists. As it stands, all identified
documents would need to be reviewed by an accredited decision maker for
them to determine and subsequently remove duplicates, drafts, personal
information & publicly available information.

In order to move forward with your request could you please provide more
information about the documents that you are seeking. For instance, is
there a particular aspect that you would like to focus your request on?

My contact details are below, and I would encourage you to contact me to
discuss further.

Kind regards

Theresa Stinson
AD-MCM
FOI
MECC Division
Ph: (07) 3332 6359

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From: Culley Palmer

Delivered

Dear Theresa Stinson,

Thank you for your email.

Could I please have all emails sent to and from the (then) Minister for Defence regarding the December 2005 incursion of protesters into Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap.

For ease of processing, I wish to exclude any duplicates and drafts, and also the personal information of the individuals concerned.

If you need to discuss the matter further, please do not hesitate to reply by email.

Regards,

Culley Palmer

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Culley Palmer left an annotation ()

I note the Department of Defence completely ignored my query about which groups within Defence hold which numbers of documents. Would it be worth asking again? (for example - if this happened in another FOI request)

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From: Stinson, Theresa MRS
Department of Defence


Attachment 217 1415 Decision letter 2.pdf
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Attachment 06 FOI Rights of Review InternalExternal alias.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon,
 
Please find attached the decision relating to FOI 217/14/15, along with a
copy of your rights of review.
 
Kind regards
 
Theresa Stinson
Assistant Director - Media Case Management FOI
Ministerial and Executive Coordination & Communication Division
 
Building F065
Level 2-012
Gallipoli Barracks
ENOGGERA   QLD   4051
 
Ph: (07) 3332 6359
 
Alternative email: [1][email address]
 
Website:[2]http://www.defence.gov.au/foi/index.htm
Privacy Statement:[3]http://www.defence.gov.au/FOI/privacy.asp
 
FOI Act: [4]http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2014C0...
FOI Guidelines:
[5]http://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-inform...
 

IMPORTANT: This email remains the property of the Department of Defence
and is subject to the jurisdiction of section 70 of the Crimes Act 1914.
If you have received this email in error, you are requested to contact the
sender and delete the email.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.defence.gov.au/foi/index.htm
3. http://www.defence.gov.au/FOI/privacy.asp
http://www.defence.gov.au/FOI/privacy.asp
4. http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2014C0...
5. http://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-inform...

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From: Culley Palmer

Delivered

Dear Department of Defence,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department of Defence's handling of my FOI request 'December 2005 incursion by protesters into Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap'.

I refer to the Department's refusal letter in which it is revealed that searches were undertaken in a number of groups within Defence. The letter further states the Department used the following search terms to locate documents relevant to my request:

"searching for ‘Pine Gap’ and then filtering with the term ‘incursion’."

and

"Searches were undertaken of the DMPLS database using the keywords ‘Pine Gap’ and “Pine
Gap Incursion’"

I suggest that while the term 'incursion' was one provided by myself, quoted from the research page I linked to for reference, it is probably not a term that is likely to be used by the Department of Defence in either emails or internal record keeping.

I therefore contend that the searches undertaken by the Department used search terms that were too narrow to adequately identify documents fitting within the scope of the request. Search terms should be used which match the Department of Defence's own language; both that used within correspondence and internal record keeping. I suggest, at the very least, the following search terms should be used: "protest", "trespass", "incident", "break-in", "demonstration" to refine the many documents relating to the incident in question.

I also note the Department has advised that "personnel associated with this matter from 2005 are no longer
employed by Defence and as such could not be contacted for input." I draw the department's attention to the FOI Guidelines:

3.55 of the FOI Guidelines [1] state (in part):
"Agencies are responsible for managing and storing their records in a way that facilitates finding them for the purposes of an FOI request."

It would therefore be unacceptable that the staff involved with the incident to which my request refers no longer working with Defence, form part of a reason for inaccessibility of documents.

I trust you will consider each contention raised as part of the Internal Review[2].

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/d...

Regards,

Culley Palmer

[1]
http://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-inform...

[2] 9.33 of the FOI Guidelines
http://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-inform...

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Culley Palmer left an annotation ()

Thanks to Ben Fairless. I made use of your correspondence here:

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

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From: Tulloch, Karen MRS
Department of Defence

UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Mr Palmer,

 

1.    I refer to your email below, dated 19 February 2015, in which you
advised that you are seeking internal review under section 54 of the
Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), of the decision by Ms Andrea
Sansom dated 16 February 2015, in relation to your FOI request seeking
access to documents summarised as:

 

 ' …all emails sent to and from the (then) Minister for Defence regarding
the December 2005 incursion of protesters into Joint Defence Facility Pine
Gap.

 

For ease of processing, I wish to exclude any duplicates and drafts, and
also the personal information of the individuals concerned.' 

 

2.    The purpose of this email is to advise that your request for
internal review has been forwarded to the authorised decision maker, Mr
Damien Chifley, Acting Assistant Secretary Ministerial Information
Management.  Mr Chifley will be advising you of the outcome of your
review.  The statutory date which you are required to receive your
decision will be Saturday 21 March 2015, which is 30 days from the date in
which the Department received your request for internal review.  As the
date for your decision falls on a Saturday, you will therefore receive
your decision on the next business day which will be Monday 23 March 2015.

 

3.    Paragraph 3.124 of the Guidelines issued by the Office of the
Australian Information Commissioner, states 'the processing period refers
to calendar days, not business (working) days. This will include any
public holidays that fall within the processing period.[1][44] If the last
day for notifying a decision falls on a Saturday, Sunday or a public
holiday, the timeframe will expire on the first day following which is
none of those days.'

 

4.    In the meantime, do not hesitate to contact our office if you have
any questions.

 

Regards,

 

Karen

Karen Tulloch

FOI Review Team 

Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication Division

Department of Defence

CP1-6-008 | PO Box 7910 | Campbell Park  CANBERRA BC  ACT  2610

Phone:  (02) 626 62200 

E-mail   [2][email address]

Please note that I work part time and am not in the office on Fridays

 
 
 

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From: Phillips, Neil MR
Department of Defence


Attachment Letter to Mr Palmer dated 20 Mar 15.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Mr McKinnon 
 
         I refer to your application on 19 February 2015 for internal
review, under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), of the
decision by Ms Andrea Sansom, Acting Director Freedom of
Information, to refuse you access to 'all emails to and from the (then)
Minister for Defence regarding the December 2005 incursion of protesters
into Joint Facility Pine Gap'.
 
2.     Please find attached a copy of the decision letter from Mr Damien
Chifley, Acting Assistant Secretary Freedom of Information and Information
Management, advising of the outcome of your internal review.  
 
3.     If you have any questions relating to the decision, please do not
hesitate to contact me.
 
Regards
 
Neil  

___________________________________________________________

 

Neil Phillips 
Special Adviser Freedom of Information 

Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication Division

Department of Defence  

CP1-6-029, Campbell Park Offices 

CANBERRA BC ACT 2610
Ph:      02 6266 3664     Fax:  02 6266 2112       
Email: [1][email address]

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Department of Defence only: