Documents related to the exercise of powers under s89K of the Freedom Of Information Act by the OAIC over the period 2015 - 2019

Richard Smith made this Freedom of Information request to Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

The request was successful.

From: Richard Smith

Delivered

Dear Office of the Australian Information Commissioner,

Section 89K of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 provides that the Information Commissioner may make a vexatious applicant declaration in relation to a person.

A vexatious applicant declaration has the effect that some or all of that person's FOI Access Requests and application for Internal Review of decisions can be refused by the agency if made without the written permission of the Information Commissioner.

The right to seek information held by the Government of the Commonwealth by a citizen of Australia is a fundamental right which strengthens Australia's democracy and open society.

The exercise of a power to restrict a person's fundamental rights by the Government of the Commonwealth should undertaken only after the gravest of consideration of the facts and be rarely used, save only as a last resort.

Accordingly, I hereby request the following Government Information documents which I consider to be of great public importance:

a) Documents describing the total number of specific persons against whom the OAIC has issued a vexatious applicant declaration in each of the financial years 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019;

b) Documents describing the number of vexatious applicant declarations issued on behalf of all Government agencies in each of the financial years 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019;

c) Documents describing the number of vexatious applicant declarations issued on behalf of all Ministers in each of the financial years 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019;

d) Documents describing the number of vexatious applicant declarations issued on the OAIC's initiative in each of the financial years 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019;

e) Documents describing the number of occasions where the OAIC has retracted or cancelled a vexatious applicant declaration in effect against a person in each of the financial years 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019; and

f) Documents describing the duration of time where any vexatious applicant declaration made by the OAIC against a specific person has been in effect in each of the financial years 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019.

For the avoidance of doubt, the following information falls outside the scope of my request:

i) Any personal details of persons subject to a vexatious applicant declaration;
ii) Duplicate or multiple vexatious applicant declarations made by the OIAC against the same specific person in a specific financial year; and
iii) Any specifics of each occasion, including reasons used by the OAIC to decide to issue any vexatious applicant declarations.

I am, in essence, simply requesting the summary statistics of how many people have had their basic right to request information held by the Commonwealth restricted by the application of s89K of the FOI Act.

If this can be answered as informal request, please do so.

Otherwise, please proceed with this as a formal request under the Freedom of Information principles & framework, i.e. the Freedom of Information Act 1982 & other associated guidelines and regulations.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Smith

Link to this

From: Megan McKenna
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner


Attachment image001.jpg
2K Download

Attachment image002.png
0K Download

Attachment image003.png
0K Download

Attachment image004.png
0K Download

Attachment image005.png
0K Download


Dear Mr Smith

 

I refer to your request for access to documents received by the Office of
the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) on 7 November 2019.

 

Scope of your request

In your email you seek access to the following:

Accordingly, I hereby request the following Government Information
documents which I consider to be of great public importance:

 

a) Documents describing the total number of specific persons against whom
the OAIC has issued a vexatious applicant declaration in each of the
financial years 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019;

 

b) Documents describing the number of vexatious applicant declarations
issued on behalf of all Government agencies in each of the financial years
2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019;

 

c) Documents describing the number of vexatious applicant declarations
issued on behalf of all Ministers in each of the financial years
2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019;

 

d) Documents describing the number of vexatious applicant declarations
issued on the OAIC's initiative in each of the financial years 2015-2016,
2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019;

 

e) Documents describing the number of occasions where the OAIC has
retracted or cancelled a vexatious applicant declaration in effect against
a person in each of the financial years 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018,
2018-2019; and

 

f) Documents describing the duration of time where any vexatious applicant
declaration made by the OAIC against a specific person has been in effect
in each of the financial years 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019.

 

Administrative Access

 

I note that you have stated that the request may be processed informally,
through administrative access.

 

I have spoken to the relevant line area who have confirmed that all the
information relating to vexatious applicant declarations made by the
Information Commissioner can be found at:

 

[1]https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...

 

Each 89K declaration made by the Information Commissioner is published on
the OAIC’s website, and if a declaration is varied then the updated
declaration will reference this fact.

 

Next steps

 

Can you please confirm by 18 November 2019 whether the information
provided for in the linked OAIC website satisfies your request.

 

If not, can you please confirm whether you would like the OAIC to process
your request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth).

 

Kind regards

 

[2][IMG]   Megan McKenna |  FOI Officer/Paralegal

Legal Services

Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner

GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001  |
 [3]oaic.gov.au

+61 2 8231 4292  | 
[4][email address]
[5][IMG] | [6][IMG] | [7][IMG] |   [8]Subscribe to Information
Matters

 

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...
2. https://www.oaic.gov.au/
3. http://www.oaic.gov.au/
4. mailto:[email address]
5. http://www.facebook.com/OAICgov
6. https://www.linkedin.com/company/office-...
7. https://twitter.com/OAICgov
8. https://www.oaic.gov.au/media-and-speech...

Link to this

From: Richard Smith

Delivered

Dear Ms McKenna,

Thank you for your reply of 11 November.

It is wonderful that the OAIC can so helpfully and easily point to the information relating to its operations in such a quick timeframe and that it is available and open with its operations.

I have reviewed the information posted on the OAIC's website in regards to 89K declarations and can confirm that this satisfies the scope of my request for government information.

Therefore in light of your assistance and cooperation I believe you have answered my questions satisfactorily without any further action on your part.

Your efforts in addressing my FOI request would serve as a good example of best practice to other agencies who don't appear to value open communication and professionalism as much as you do.

It is a credit to you and your organisation.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Smith

Link to this

Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner only: