Documents appointing officers to administer departments of State of the Commonwealth since Scott Morrisons term

Waiting for an internal review by Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General of their handling of this request.

Dear Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General,

1. I request each of the documents since and including 24 August 2018 to the date that your process this request that appoint officers to administer departments of State of the Commonwealth.

I respectfully bring to your attention the longstanding precedent used by Australian Courts to identify "matters of an administrative nature" (which your office is obliged to accept FoI request for) by distinguishing them from "legislative and judicial actions", and since my request relates to matters of administering your duties under our constitution, it is therefore in scope of my request.

See R Creyke and J McMillan, Control of Government Action: Text, Cases & Commentary (2005), [2.4.25]. and https://www.alrc.gov.au/publication/for-...

2. On 17 August 2022 the following statement was published (https://www.gg.gov.au/about-governor-gen...) and attributed to the Governor-General: "The Governor-General had no reason to believe that appointments would not be communicated."

Given that, on at least 4 (that we know of) occasions spanning more than a year, additional secret appointments were carried out, the fact that all these were being kept secret would have been increasingly obvious to any reasonable office-bearer performing their duties with diligence: I thus additionally request whatever documentation that may exist justifying the above "no reason" statement of the Governor-General.

Yours faithfully,

C Drake

(Shared) FOI & IPS Mailbox, Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General

1 Attachment

Dear C Drake

 

RE:  Application under the Freedom of Information Act 1982

 

I refer to your email of 20 August 2022 to the Office of the Official
Secretary to the Governor-General, in which you make a request under the
Commonwealth Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).

 

The Office acknowledges receipt of your request and will respond to you
within 30 days in accordance with the Act.

 

Kind Regards

 

[1]Crown &  
Wattle - Gold
Freedom of Information Contact Officer
Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General
W: [2]www.gg.gov.au

Do you know someone who could be considered for an award in
the Australian honours system? [3]Click here to nominate.

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear (Shared) FOI & IPS Mailbox,

I further draw your attention to the irrelevance of the "Kline v Official Secretary to the Governor General [2013] HCA 52 (6 December 2013)" decision to my case owing to the fact that my request is not for ceremonial documents or anything to do with "Order of Australia" awards, and indeed, the decision clearly explains the historical purpose and accepted meaning of the "administrative nature" wording in the act, which (as I pointed out earlier) is to exclude JUDICIAL documents (which were once part of the Attorney-General's role). To quote the decision:

"There is obviously very good reason for governments not imposing requirements which would interfere with the independence of the judiciary and the proper administration of justice. It would not be appropriate for freedom of information legislation to be the vehicle for obtaining access, where this was otherwise unavailable, to court documents filed by parties to litigation. Nor would it be appropriate for this legislation to operate in any way as a substitute or supplement for discovery procedures presently administered by the courts."

I respectfully request that in answering my FoI request, you take into account the fact that I am not seeking material that was intended by the act to be excluded, and that the fierce interest of the Australian People in the transparent functioning of our democracy would benefit from disclosure of the documents I request, while refusal to disclose them may seriously and adversely affect the very function of Democracy in Australia: how can we be expected to cast informed votes for politicians, when they have free reign to do as they like in secret behind our back, with support from the one individual put in place to deter exactly that kind of misbehavior?

Please grant my request, rather than try to find an excuse to deny it!

Yours sincerely,

C Drake

(Shared) FOI & IPS Mailbox, Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General

2 Attachments

Dear C Drake

 

Reference: FOI2022104

 

Please find attached the response to your Freedom of Information request.

 

Kind Regards

 

[1]Crown &  
Wattle - Gold
Freedom of Information Contact Officer
Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General
W: [2]www.gg.gov.au

Do you know someone who could be considered for an award in
the Australian honours system? [3]Click here to nominate.

 

 

 

 

From: (Shared) FOI & IPS Mailbox
Sent: Monday, 29 August 2022 2:39 PM
To: C Drake <[FOI #9291 email]>
Cc: (Shared) FOI & IPS Mailbox <[Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General request email]>
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information request - Documents appointing
officers to administer departments of State of the Commonwealth since
Scott Morrisons term [SEC=OFFICIAL]

 

Dear C Drake

 

RE:  Application under the Freedom of Information Act 1982

 

I refer to your email of 20 August 2022 to the Office of the Official
Secretary to the Governor-General, in which you make a request under the
Commonwealth Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).

 

The Office acknowledges receipt of your request and will respond to you
within 30 days in accordance with the Act.

 

Kind Regards

 

[4]Crown &  
Wattle - Gold
Freedom of Information Contact Officer
Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General
W: [5]www.gg.gov.au

Do you know someone who could be considered for an award in
the Australian honours system? [6]Click here to nominate.

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General's handling of my FOI request 'Documents appointing officers to administer departments of State of the Commonwealth since Scott Morrisons term'.

My request was improperly handled, not adequately considered, and improperly refused.

Note that in my request I specifically identified the high-court practice relevant to the status of the documents I request. This information was completely ignored by Mr Barnes, who elected to copy and paste the template-reply he used for the previous (not related to me) request of a similar nature, which falsely claims a different high-court outcome (Kline) applies to my request.

Prior to receiving this refusal, I supplied additional information highlighting why Kline does NOT in fact apply to my request, and further, how Kline in fact *supports* my request. This information was also ignored by Mr Barnes. Also ignored by Mr Barnes was the intent and purpose of the FoI act in general, including (and not limited to) 11B Public interest exemptions — factors part 3(b), and while Mr Barnes doesn't of course say so, it's opaquely clear that government embarrassment is the true motive for his refusal decision - a factor that is NOT allowed under the FoI.

While Kline is not applicable here (this is not a request for anything award or honorary related), that decision, in keeping with and supporting the one I already supplied, clearly explains what documents are to be considered "exempt", based on the purpose of the introduction of that language in the first place. I am NOT requesting Judicial documents. Accordingly, there is no legal justification for the refusal provided.

11B-3(b) *clearly* applies in this instance. Australians were and are expected to cast votes in elections based on their knowledge and understanding of the character and nature of the personalities they're expected to vote for. Withholding critical information of the nature that my FoI request relates to amounts to nothing less than *serous* interference with, and manipulation of, the Australian electoral system.

There is NO relevant precedent that supports the withholding of the documents I request.
There IS high-court practice relevant to my request that does support the release of these documents .
There IS provision in the FoI act that permits you to release these documents.

Do the right thing by the Crown, by me, and by the Australian people: release these documents.