Decisions about publishing on the FOI Disclosure Log

Evelyn Doyle made this Freedom of Information request to Attorney-General's Department

The request was partially successful.

From: Evelyn Doyle

Delivered

Dear Attorney-General's Department (AGD)

I would like to request under the Freedom of Information Act any document (hard copy or digital) which outlines the reasons why the Attorney-General's Department no longer publishes links on the FOI disclosure log preferring instead for interested parties to contact the department for copies.

I would also like to request documents in relation to previous decisions made about publishing on the Log since its inception.

By way of background, I wrote to the department about this matter in November 2018 and part of the response outlined the department's consistency with the Act as below:

"14.5 A disclosure log lists information that has been released in response to an FOI access request for documents held by the agency or minister.
Three options for publishing information are specified in section 11C(3):

- making the information available for downloading from the agency’s or minister’s website,
- linking to another website where the information can be downloaded, or
- giving details of how the information may be obtained."

While AGD is consistent with the Act, as the agency with portfolio responsibility for FOI I hoped the AGD might act as a model citizen in regard to publishing links to documents on the Log especially as it is expedient for both the department and interested parties.

I look forward to receiving the documents and thank you in advance for your assistance.

Yours sincerely,

Evelyn Doyle

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From: FOI Requests
Attorney-General's Department

UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Ms Doyle

Freedom of Information Request FOI19/016

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

Documents (hard copy or digital) which outline the reasons why the Attorney-General's Department no longer publishes links on the FOI disclosure log preferring instead for interested parties to contact the department for copies.

Documents in relation to previous decisions made about publishing on the Log since its inception.

If you disagree with this interpretation of your request, please let me know in writing as soon as possible.

The department received your request on 15 January 2019 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 14 February 2019. However, the period of 30 days may be extended if the department needs to consult third parties or for other reasons. We will advise you if this happens.

Where the documents within the scope of an FOI request include the personal information of junior officers of the department or other government agencies, the department’s practice is to not disclose that information (eg, names, contact details). The names and contact details of senior officers will generally be disclosed.

Please note that, with some exceptions (such as personal information), documents released under the FOI Act may later be published online on the department’s disclosure log http://www.ag.gov.au/RightsAndProtection....

If you have any questions, please contact the FOI unit by telephone on (02) 6141 6666 or by email [AGD request email].

Yours sincerely
FOI Case Officer

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From: Evelyn Doyle

Delivered

Dear FOI Officer

Thank you for your response and I am looking forward to receiving the response on the 14 February.

Thank you also for your advice my request may later be published online on the FOI disclosure log. I would be happy for all AGD releases to be published online with a link to documents.

Thanks in advance.

Yours sincerely,

Evelyn Doyle

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From: FOI Requests
Attorney-General's Department


Attachment FOI19016 Decision Letter.pdf
1.0M Download View as HTML

Attachment Review Rights FOI 19016 Attachment A.pdf
36K Download View as HTML

Attachment Schedule of Documents FOI 19016 Attachment B.pdf
52K Download View as HTML

Attachment Statement of Reasons FOI 19016 Attachment C.pdf
48K Download View as HTML

Attachment Documents FOI19 016 Attachment D.pdf
398K Download View as HTML


UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Ms Doyle

 

Freedom of Information Request FOI19/016

 

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

 

The purpose of this email is to provide you with a decision in response to
that request. 

 

Please find attached:

- Decision letter

- Review rights – Attachment A

- Schedule of documents – Attachment B

- Statement of reasons – Attachment C

- Documents – Attachment D

 

If you have any questions, please contact the FOI unit by telephone on
(02) 6141 6666 or by email [1][AGD request email].

 

Yours sincerely

FOI Case Officer

 

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When you make a request for documents or an inquiry about privacy matters,
the Attorney-General’s Department will only collect your personal
information where it is reasonably necessary for, or directly related to,
our functions under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 or the Privacy Act
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we can contact you about your request under the Freedom of Information Act
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References

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JS left an annotation ()

A benefit flowing from the RTK site : Not as much redaction in the documents released as part of this FOI application.

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

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Evelyn Doyle left an annotation ()

Thank you JS, for the referral to an earlier FOI request covering similar ground.

It is interesting to note fewer redactions, on reading the detail can't say how they justify a s.47C deletion -completely unnecessary. Demonstrates how random some of these decisions are and how applicants rely totally on goodwill and commonsense of the moving chairs of decision makers. For some agencies it is not about the spirit of FOI but rather a battle of wills and a culture of gaming the system.

Also 47C redactions (deliberative processes) in this case would be more applicable to work in progress rather than material which aided in a decision made in 2013. Decision making processes should be transparent especially many years later. Agencies like the AFP and others have no problem with linking to PDF documents. I suspect because of technological advances since 2013 AGD don't want to diminish earlier decisions and face questions about WACG guidelines.

Thanks again.
Evelyn

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