Documentation relating to software change required for upcoming federal election

Peter Serwylo made this Freedom of Information request to Australian Electoral Commission

The request was successful.

From: Peter Serwylo

Delivered

Dear Australian Electoral Commission,

This request is about documents pertaining to the Senate vote counting software, and changes that would be required to support the new requirements introduced by the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Act 2016 (No. 25, 2016).

We would like specifications for the changes to support the new legislation, as well as modification requests and project proposals relating to the implementation of these changes. For clarfication, we are _not_ requesting specifications for the software in its state before this amendment, nor the specifications for the entire software after changes were made to support this amendment.

In addition, we are requesting documents relating to acceptance criteria, which will be used to deterime whether the voting software correctly implements the requirements of the new legislation. Such documents may include use cases, checklists for testing the software, and external test cases that are not part of the easy count software used to verify the correctness of the softwares new behaviour.

If the modifications to the counting software required to support the changes in the act are implemented by external suppliers, we would also like any tenders relating to the changes.

Finally, we are requesting communications with relevant government departments about the amendment, for example:
* When you were first made aware of the possibility the software may need to be changed for the upcoming federal election.
* When you were first made aware of the specific changes that would be required to be implemented before the upcoming federal election.
* Any documents pertaining to the estimated time of completion for changing the senate vote counting software.

Yours faithfully,
Tristan McLeay & Peter Serwylo

Link to this

Australian Electoral Commission

Thank you for contacting us.

This is an automatic response from the Australian Electoral Commission to confirm we have received your enquiry.

For more information on enrolling to vote, federal elections or the AEC, visit www.aec.gov.au.

Please do not respond to this email.

Link to this

From: Owen Jones
Australian Electoral Commission


Attachment image001.gif
4K Download

Attachment image003.gif
0K Download

Attachment image002.png
30K Download

Attachment image004.png
0K Download


UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Tristan McLeay and Peter Serwylo

I refer to your email dated 10 June 2016 11:11 AM to the Australian
Electoral Commission (‘AEC’) in which you request (the ‘FOI Request’) for
access to documents relating to software change required for upcoming
federal election under the [1]Freedom of Information Act 1982.

I have taken your request to be for:

documents pertaining to the Senate vote counting software, and changes
that would be required to support the new requirements introduced by the
Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Act 2016 (No. 25, 2016;

documents relating to acceptance criteria, which will be used to determine
whether the voting software correctly implements the requirements of the
new legislation including use cases, checklists for testing the software,
and external test cases that are not part of the easy count software used
to verify the correctness of the softwares new behaviour;

any tenders relating to the changes modifications to the counting software
required to support the changes in the act are implemented by external
suppliers;

communications with relevant government departments about the amendment,
for example:

·             When [the AEC] were first made aware of the possibility the
software may need to be changed for the upcoming federal election.

·             When [the AEC] were first made aware of the specific changes
that would be required to be implemented before the upcoming federal
election.

·             Any documents pertaining to the estimated time of completion
for changing the senate vote counting software.

 

The AEC received your request on 10 June 2016 and the 30 day statutory
period for processing your request commenced from the day after that date.
You should therefore expect a decision from the AEC by 11 July 2016. The
period of 30 days may be extended if we need to consult third parties,
impose a charge or for other reasons. We will advise you if this happens.

You will be notified of any charges in relation to your request as soon as
possible, before we process any requested documents or impose a final
charge.

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may later be
published online on the AEC’s disclosure log at
[2]http://www.aec.gov.au/information-access..., subject to certain
exceptions. (For example, personal information will not be published where
this would be unreasonable.)

The AEC will contact you using the email address that you provided. Please
advise if you would prefer us to use an alternative means of contact. If
you have any questions, please contact me. My contact details appear in my
signature block.

Regards

Owen Jones

Owen Jones | Senior Lawyer

Legal Services Section | Legal and Procurement Branch

Australian Electoral Commission

T: (02) 6271 4528 | F: (02) 6293 7657

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

[3]Australian Electoral Commission logo [4]Australian Electoral
Commission

This email may contain legal advice that is subject to legal professional
privilege. Care should be taken to avoid unintended waiver of that
privilege. The Australian Electoral Commission’s Chief Legal Officer
should be consulted prior to any decision to disclose the existence or
content of any advice contained in this email to a third party.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Peter Serwylo [[FOI #1992 email]]

Sent: Friday, 10 June 2016 11:11 AM

To: FOI requests at AEC

Cc: Federal Election 2016

Subject: Freedom of Information request - Documentation relating to
software change required for upcoming federal election

 

Dear Australian Electoral Commission,

 

This request is about documents pertaining to the Senate vote counting
software, and changes that would be required to support the new
requirements introduced by the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Act 2016
(No. 25, 2016).

 

We would like specifications for the changes to support the new
legislation, as well as modification requests and project proposals
relating to the implementation of these changes. For clarfication, we are
_not_ requesting specifications for the software in its state before this
amendment, nor the specifications for the entire software after changes
were made to support this amendment.

 

In addition, we are requesting documents relating to acceptance criteria,
which will be used to deterime whether the voting software correctly
implements the requirements of the new legislation. Such documents may
include use cases, checklists for testing the software, and external test
cases that are not part of the easy count software used to verify the
correctness of the softwares new behaviour.

 

If the modifications to the counting software required to support the
changes in the act are implemented by external suppliers, we would also
like any tenders relating to the changes.

 

Finally, we are requesting communications with relevant government
departments about the amendment, for example:

  * When you were first made aware of the possibility the software may
need to be changed for the upcoming federal election.

  * When you were first made aware of the specific changes that would be
required to be implemented before the upcoming federal election.

  * Any documents pertaining to the estimated time of completion for
changing the senate vote counting software.

 

Yours faithfully,

Tristan McLeay & Peter Serwylo

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:

[5][FOI #1992 email]

 

Is [6][AEC request email] the wrong address for Freedom of Information
requests to Australian Electoral Commission? If so, please contact us
using this form:

[7]https://www.righttoknow.org.au/change_re...

 

This request has been made by an individual using Right to Know. This
message and any reply that you make will be published on the internet.
More information on how Right to Know works can be found at:

[8]https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/offi...

 

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

 

 

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Owen Jones
Australian Electoral Commission


Attachment image001.gif
4K Download

Attachment image006.gif
0K Download

Attachment image005.png
30K Download

Attachment image007.png
0K Download

Attachment image008.png
30K Download

Attachment 20160623 LS5638 Leter to T McLeay and P Serwylo Practical Refusal Consultation.pdf
1.2M Download View as HTML


UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Tristan McLeay and Peter Serwylo

I refer to your email dated 10 June 2016 11:11 AM to the Australian
Electoral Commission (‘AEC’) in which you request (the ‘FOI Request’) for
access to documents relating to software change required for upcoming
federal election under the [1]Freedom of Information Act 1982.

I enclose a scanned copy of a letter dated 23 June 2016 to you from Paul
Pirani, Chief Legal Officer of the AEC notifying you of a practical
refusal reason that applies to your request and inviting you to consider
how you wish to address this matter.

Regards

Owen Jones

Owen Jones | Senior Lawyer

Legal Services Section | Legal and Procurement Branch

Australian Electoral Commission

T: (02) 6271 4528 | F: (02) 6293 7657

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

[2]Australian Electoral Commission logo [3]Australian Electoral
Commission

This email may contain legal advice that is subject to legal professional
privilege. Care should be taken to avoid unintended waiver of that
privilege. The Australian Electoral Commission’s Chief Legal Officer
should be consulted prior to any decision to disclose the existence or
content of any advice contained in this email to a third party.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

UNCLASSIFIED

From: Owen Jones
Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2016 10:44 AM
To: [FOI #1992 email]
Cc: INFO <[AEC request email]>; Legal Services - NO
<[email address]>
Subject: Your FOI Request LS5638 [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
Importance: High

 

UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Tristan McLeay and Peter Serwylo

I refer to your email dated 10 June 2016 11:11 AM to the Australian
Electoral Commission (‘AEC’) in which you request (the ‘FOI Request’) for
access to documents relating to software change required for upcoming
federal election under the [4]Freedom of Information Act 1982.

I have taken your request to be for:

documents pertaining to the Senate vote counting software, and changes
that would be required to support the new requirements introduced by the
Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Act 2016 (No. 25, 2016;

documents relating to acceptance criteria, which will be used to determine
whether the voting software correctly implements the requirements of the
new legislation including use cases, checklists for testing the software,
and external test cases that are not part of the easy count software used
to verify the correctness of the softwares new behaviour;

any tenders relating to the changes modifications to the counting software
required to support the changes in the act are implemented by external
suppliers;

communications with relevant government departments about the amendment,
for example:

·             When [the AEC] were first made aware of the possibility the
software may need to be changed for the upcoming federal election.

·             When [the AEC] were first made aware of the specific changes
that would be required to be implemented before the upcoming federal
election.

·             Any documents pertaining to the estimated time of completion
for changing the senate vote counting software.

 

The AEC received your request on 10 June 2016 and the 30 day statutory
period for processing your request commenced from the day after that date.
You should therefore expect a decision from the AEC by 11 July 2016. The
period of 30 days may be extended if we need to consult third parties,
impose a charge or for other reasons. We will advise you if this happens.

You will be notified of any charges in relation to your request as soon as
possible, before we process any requested documents or impose a final
charge.

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may later be
published online on the AEC’s disclosure log at
[5]http://www.aec.gov.au/information-access..., subject to certain
exceptions. (For example, personal information will not be published where
this would be unreasonable.)

The AEC will contact you using the email address that you provided. Please
advise if you would prefer us to use an alternative means of contact. If
you have any questions, please contact me. My contact details appear in my
signature block.

Regards

Owen Jones

Owen Jones | Senior Lawyer

Legal Services Section | Legal and Procurement Branch

Australian Electoral Commission

T: (02) 6271 4528 | F: (02) 6293 7657

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

[6]Australian Electoral Commission logo [7]Australian Electoral
Commission

This email may contain legal advice that is subject to legal professional
privilege. Care should be taken to avoid unintended waiver of that
privilege. The Australian Electoral Commission’s Chief Legal Officer
should be consulted prior to any decision to disclose the existence or
content of any advice contained in this email to a third party.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Peter Serwylo [[FOI #1992 email]]

Sent: Friday, 10 June 2016 11:11 AM

To: FOI requests at AEC

Cc: Federal Election 2016

Subject: Freedom of Information request - Documentation relating to
software change required for upcoming federal election

 

Dear Australian Electoral Commission,

 

This request is about documents pertaining to the Senate vote counting
software, and changes that would be required to support the new
requirements introduced by the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Act 2016
(No. 25, 2016).

 

We would like specifications for the changes to support the new
legislation, as well as modification requests and project proposals
relating to the implementation of these changes. For clarfication, we are
_not_ requesting specifications for the software in its state before this
amendment, nor the specifications for the entire software after changes
were made to support this amendment.

 

In addition, we are requesting documents relating to acceptance criteria,
which will be used to deterime whether the voting software correctly
implements the requirements of the new legislation. Such documents may
include use cases, checklists for testing the software, and external test
cases that are not part of the easy count software used to verify the
correctness of the softwares new behaviour.

 

If the modifications to the counting software required to support the
changes in the act are implemented by external suppliers, we would also
like any tenders relating to the changes.

 

Finally, we are requesting communications with relevant government
departments about the amendment, for example:

  * When you were first made aware of the possibility the software may
need to be changed for the upcoming federal election.

  * When you were first made aware of the specific changes that would be
required to be implemented before the upcoming federal election.

  * Any documents pertaining to the estimated time of completion for
changing the senate vote counting software.

 

Yours faithfully,

Tristan McLeay & Peter Serwylo

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:

[8][FOI #1992 email]

 

Is [9][AEC request email] the wrong address for Freedom of Information
requests to Australian Electoral Commission? If so, please contact us
using this form:

[10]https://www.righttoknow.org.au/change_re...

 

This request has been made by an individual using Right to Know. This
message and any reply that you make will be published on the internet.
More information on how Right to Know works can be found at:

[11]https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/offi...

 

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

 

 

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Peter Serwylo

Delivered

Dear Owen Jones,

Thanks for your timely response, especially during this busy election time.

We want to know whether changes to EasyCount were rushed to satisfy the legislative changes.

To that effect, we would like to refine our request to:
* A project plan which outlines the timeline for changes to EasyCount with regards to the recent legislative changes.
* A document specifying that the changes were completed on time.

Yours sincerely,

Tristan McLea and Peter Serwylo

Link to this

From: Owen Jones
Australian Electoral Commission


Attachment image001.gif
4K Download

Attachment image003.gif
0K Download

Attachment image002.png
30K Download

Attachment image004.png
0K Download

Attachment LS5638 Attachment A to Email to T McLeay and P Serwylo notifying decision.docx
68K Download View as HTML

Attachment LS5638 Released Document No.1.pdf
1.1M Download View as HTML


                UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Tristan McLeay and Peter Serwylo

I refer to your email dated 10 June 2016 11:11 AM to the Australian
Electoral Commission (‘AEC’) in which you request (your ‘FOI Request’)
access under the [1]Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the ‘FOI Act’)
access to information about changes to the EasyCount Senate software. I
also refer to your email of 4 July 2016 10:23 AM to the AEC in which you
refined your FOI Request in response to Mr Pirani’s letter of 23 June 2016
notifying you of a practical refusal reason that applied to your FOI
Request.

2                    I am writing today to give you a decision about
access to documents that you requested in your refined FOI Request.

Summary

3                    I, Owen Jones, Senior Lawyer of the AEC, am an
officer authorised under section 23(1) of the FOI Act to make decisions in
relation to FOI requests.

4                    Specifically your refined FOI Request sought access
to:

·        A project plan which outlines the timeline for changes to
EasyCount with regards to the recent legislative changes.

·        A document specifying that the changes were completed on time.

5                    I identified one document that fell within the scope
of your request.

6                    I did this by directing inquiries for the whereabouts
of relevant documents to the AEC’s Senate Reform Program which was the
business owner for the changes to EasyCount with regards to the recent
legislative changes.

7                    The schedule of retrieved documents in Attachment A
provides a description of that document which fell within the scope of
your request and the access decision for that document.

8                    With regard to the documents you requested (set out
in Attachment A), I have decided to grant access to the one document that
was retrieved. There will be no charges applied to your FOI Request.

9                    More information, including my reasons for my
decision, is set out below.

10                 The processing period for the FOI Request was extended
to allow for the time taken in consulting you regarding the practical
refusal reason as explained in Mr Pirani’s letter to you dated 23 June
2016.

DECISION AND REASONS FOR DECISION

Decision

11                 With regard to the document identified in Attachment A,
I have decided: to grant access in full to that documents

Material taken into account

2                    I have taken the following material into account in
making my decision:

(a)        your email of 4 July 2016 10:23 AM to the AEC in which you
refined your FOI Request;

(a)        the content of the documents that fall within the scope of the
refined FOI Request;

(b)        the FOI Act, specifically sections 3, 3A and 47;

(c)        the guidelines (‘[2]FOI Guidelines’] issued by the Australian
Information Commissioner under section 93A of the FOI Act, 1.9 – 1.11,
1.13 – 1.17, 5.11 – 5.20, 5.33, 5.34, and 5.181 – 5.191; and.

(d)        [3]Cordover and Australian Electoral Commission (Freedom of
information) [2015] AATA 956 (‘Cordover’s Case’).

Reasons

12                 Attachment A indicates each document to which access is
given. My reasons for giving access are stated below.

Exemption – Documents disclosing trade secrets or commercially valuable
information

13                 With respect to Document No. 1, I found that:

(a)        Document No. 1 does not itself contain exempt material.

(b)        There is nothing in Document No. 1 that disclosure of that
document under the FOI Act would disclose trade secrets.

(c)        There is nothing in Document No. 1 that disclosure of that
document under the FOI Act would disclose information having a commercial
value that would be, or could reasonably be expected to be, destroyed or
diminished if the information were disclosed.

14                 Under paragraph 47(1)(a) of the FOI Act, a document is
an exempt document if it its disclosure under this Act would disclose
trade secrets.

15                 The source code of the EasyCount Software was held to
be an undisclosed trade secret by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
(‘AAT’) see: Cordover’s Case.

16                 Under paragraph 47(1)(b) of the FOI Act a document or a
copy of that document is an exempt document if it its disclosure under
this Act would disclose information having a commercial value that would
be, or could reasonably be expected to be, destroyed or diminished if the
information were disclosed.

17                 The source code of the EasyCount Software was held to
be information having a commercial value that would be, or could
reasonably be expected to be, destroyed or diminished if the information
were disclosed by the AAT see: Cordover’s Case.

3                    Section 47 of the FOI Act provides:

47  Documents disclosing trade secrets or commercially valuable
information

(1)     A document is an exempt document if its disclosure under this Act
would disclose:

(a)     trade secrets; or

(b)     any other information having a commercial value that would be, or
could reasonably be expected to be, destroyed or diminished if the
information were disclosed.

(2)     Subsection (1) does not have effect in relation to a request by a
person for access to a document:

(a)     by reason only of the inclusion in the document of information
concerning that person in respect of his or her business or professional
affairs; or

(b)     by reason only of the inclusion in the document of information
concerning the business, commercial or financial affairs of an undertaking
where the person making the request is the proprietor of the undertaking
or a person acting on behalf of the proprietor; or

(c)     by reason only of the inclusion in the document of information
concerning the business, commercial or financial affairs of an
organisation where the person making the request is the organisation or a
person acting on behalf of the organisation.

(3)     A reference in this section to an undertaking includes a reference
to an undertaking that is carried on by:

(a)     the Commonwealth or a State; or

(b)     an authority of the Commonwealth or of a State; or

(c)     a Norfolk Island authority; or

(d)     a local government authority.

18                 I turned my mind to whether disclosure of Document
No. 1 would contribute to a mosaic that would lead to the unmasking of the
trade secret in the EasyCount software or the destruction or diminution of
the commercial value of that software. I was unable to conclude that
either adverse consequence would occur it access was given to Document
No. 1.

19                 Accordingly I am satisfied that the document is not
exempt under either paragraph 47A(1)(a) of (b) of the FOI Act.

Your review rights

20                 If you are dissatisfied with my decision, you may apply
for internal review or Information Commissioner review of the decision. We
encourage you to seek internal review as a first step as it may provide a
more rapid resolution of your concerns.

Internal review

21                 Under section 54 of the FOI Act, you may apply in
writing to the AEC for an internal review of my decision. The internal
review application must be made within 30 days of the date of this letter.

22                 Where possible please attach reasons why you believe
review of the decision is necessary. The internal review will be carried
out by another officer within 30 days.

Information Commissioner review

23                 Under section 54L of the FOI Act, you may apply to the
Australian Information Commissioner to review my decision. An application
for review by the Information Commissioner must be made in writing within
60 days of the date of this letter, and be lodged in one of the following
ways:

online:                              
[4]https://forms.business.gov.au/aba/oaic/f...

email:                     [5][email address]

post:                      GPO Box 52189, Sydney NSW 2001

in person:               Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW

24                 More information about Information Commissioner review
is available on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
website. Go to [6]www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-information/foi-reviews.

Questions about this decision

25                 If you wish to discuss this decision, please contact me
using any of the following contact details:

email:                     [email address]

fax:                        02 6293 7657

post:                      Locked bag 4007, Canberra ACT 2601

telephone:              02 6271 4528

Yours sincerely

Owen Jones

Owen Jones | Senior Lawyer

Legal Services Section | Legal and Procurement Branch

Australian Electoral Commission

T: (02) 6271 4528 | F: (02) 6293 7657

Attachments

Attachment A

LS5638 Released Document No. 1.pdf

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

[7]Australian Electoral Commission logo [8]Australian Electoral
Commission

This email may contain legal advice that is subject to legal professional
privilege. Care should be taken to avoid unintended waiver of that
privilege. The Australian Electoral Commission’s Chief Legal Officer
should be consulted prior to any decision to disclose the existence or
content of any advice contained in this email to a third party.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Peter Serwylo

Delivered

Thanks Owen,

We appreciate you sending that document through.

Yours sincerely,

Tristan McLeay and Peter Serwylo

Link to this

Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Australian Electoral Commission only: