Documents not available for download from your FOI log or reasoning
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 FOI Department,
It has been noticed, that in some occasions, there are documents on your Freedom Of Information Disclosure Log where you have put the most redundant text next to FOI disclosures—the equivalent of “if you would like access to these documents, please email/contact us for access”.
Any person reviewing the information on that site would of course be after the documents. It is puzzling that, on some occasions, you have made the documents available and others not.
I believe this is not in the spirit of the FOI act section 11C, and thus I request—under the Freedom of Information Act 1982—copies of the following documents:
All documents as is (that is, redacted or unredacted) from all previously made decisions on your department's FOI log that are currently not available for download direct from the website.
My preferred method of delivery for this information is for it to be placed on your department's Freedom of Information disclosure log web page as per part A) of 11C of the FOI Act.
Should this request be successful you can put a simple list of the documents that were made available from the request, or whatever is most expedient, on the log.
I apologise for my pessimism, but past FOI experiences have led me to believe this request may elicit a response similar to “this request would divert too many resources of your department to complete”. Should you be thinking this, you have nobody to blame but yourselves—your department made this metaphorical bed.
Should you be seriously considering a practical refusal, my alternative request is for any documents that your department holds relating to the decision to include text on your freedom of information disclosure log similar to "contact us for access to this document".
In addition I request the total of the number of times any member of the public has asked for access to each said non-website published successful for documents on the FOI disclosure log other than the original successful applicant.
I do accept there is a very remote possibility there is a “Good Reason” for these not being available, and I hope these are contained within the documents provided as I cannot foresee any.
In the interests of expediency, I am willing to consider Administrative Access to said documents, should the document be provided within 30 days ( plus any public holidays in-between) of the sending of this email. After this time - the FOI Act applies as normal in all instances and any requests for extension will be denied without a supplied very good reason.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Please find attached the charges letter in relation to this request.
DFAT FOI Team.
I contend the charge - I reject it in its entirety.
You are attempting to charge me, a tax paying member of the public to provide access to documents which have already been decided upon.
I don't regularly make a habit of individually funding what are core functions of the FOI act.
As a Director I will draw your attention to how best to interpret the FOI Act I quoted earlier -
"ACTS INTERPRETATION ACT 1901 - SECT 15AA
Interpretation best achieving Act's purpose or object
In interpreting a provision of an Act, the interpretation that would best achieve the purpose or object of the Act (whether or not that purpose or object is expressly stated in the Act) is to be preferred to each other interpretation."
in short there needs to be a very good reason for why the documents are not already available for download on the website. I'm not seeing any here.
I do not believe there should be any charges to me so that you best comply with the law.
I also dispute this on public interest grounds, these general FOIs have already been granted as decidedly in some form of the public interest of each individual decision to warrant their delivery to the original applicant - I am merely asking that you provide the same to the rest of the public and myself via your website.
If your internal infrastructure for hosting websites proves inadequate for the task and you are not resourced to provide it I grant that you you that you can upload it directly through right to know via the link at the bottom of this email up to 100mb per file or if necessary even through other govt infrastructure designed for collaboration - govteams.gov.au. righttoknow.org.au is greatly preferred as a secondary mechanism.
I also contend that waiver of the charge would enhance the agency-client
relationship with the greater public.
Please also note in the FOI guidelines guiding principle 4.4 - you're meant to also assess the total overall charges to *the commonwealth*. this includes not only your agency, but also should I request an internal review (I have prior) or an IC review (I have prior, and have succeeded in the majority of cases - and I *will* do so should you insist this frivolous charge go ahead.
The OAIC is desparately underfunded and underresourced and I do not wish to impose on them at all - but if you force me to I will, and I am patient and they are very friendly.
Look I'm sure there's more but I'm going to leave it there as I think there's enough for you to go on.