Documents relating to the decision making process which resulted in the Department of Home Affair's adopting as it's Vision the phrase "A secure Australia that is prosperous, open and united"

Richard Smith made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Home Affairs

The request was successful.

From: Richard Smith

Delivered

Dear Department of Home Affairs,

The Department of Home Affairs has adopted as it's Vision Statement the phrase "A secure Australia that is prosperous, open and united".

It is legislation that sets out the functions and powers of the Commonwealth.

The public and citizens of Australia expect that the administration of the laws of Australia by the Commonwealth, its public servants and Departments are carried out to the highest levels of fairness, transparency and equality.

The voluntary adoption of a specific Vision Statement by a Commonwealth Department could appear to be a focusing and potential narrowing or an imposition of restrictions onto the Department's legislated responsibility to carry out a broad, impartial and just application of the law.

Agencies of the Commonwealth should apply the laws of Australia in a non-political and neutral way, as contemplated by the legislation, rather than on the basis of simplistic three word slogans.

One could even categorise such a simple three word slogan such as "prosperous, open and united" as resembling a political policy.

Furthermore and interestingly, the word "prosperous" does not appear at all in the Migration Act 1958.

The word "secure" only appears in the Migration Act 1958 in the context of securing electronic equipment inside an education provider for visa inspection (s268CP) or securing assets by freezing to secure a potential future debt (s267).

The word "open" only appears in the Migration Act 1958 in the context of opening goods for inspection (s245F and s252G).

Finally word "united" only appears in the Migration Act 1958 in the context of the "United Nations".

So it is of interest to see where from where these Departmental aims originated.

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

a) Documents detailing the Department's process for the development, refinement, consideration and selection of option for the current Vision Statement; and

b) Documents detailing the decision making to adopt the final version of the Vision Statement, namely "A secure Australia that is prosperous, open and united", including meeting agendas, meeting minutes and emails.

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

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From: FOI
Department of Home Affairs

For-Official-Use-Only

In reply please quote:
FOI Request: FA 19/10/01662
File Number: OBJ2019/56434

Dear Mr Smith

Acknowledgement of Freedom of Information Access request

I refer to your correspondence received on 25 October 2019 seeking access to documents held by the Department of Home Affairs (the Department of Home Affairs) under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act).

You have requested access to the following:
The Department of Home Affairs has adopted as its Vision Statement the phrase "A secure Australia that is prosperous, open and united".
It is legislation that sets out the functions and powers of the Commonwealth.
The public and citizens of Australia expect that the administration of the laws of Australia by the Commonwealth, its public servants and Departments are carried out to the highest levels of fairness, transparency and equality.
The voluntary adoption of a specific Vision Statement by a Commonwealth Department could appear to be a focusing and potential narrowing or an imposition of restrictions onto the Department's legislated responsibility to carry out a broad, impartial and just application of the law.
Agencies of the Commonwealth should apply the laws of Australia in a non-political and neutral way, as contemplated by the legislation, rather than on the basis of simplistic three word slogans.
One could even categorise such a simple three word slogan such as "prosperous, open and united" as resembling a political policy.
Furthermore and interestingly, the word "prosperous" does not appear at all in the Migration Act 1958.
The word "secure" only appears in the Migration Act 1958 in the context of securing electronic equipment inside an education provider for visa inspection (s268CP) or securing assets by freezing to secure a potential future debt (s267).
The word "open" only appears in the Migration Act 1958 in the context of opening goods for inspection (s245F and s252G).
Finally word "united" only appears in the Migration Act 1958 in the context of the "United Nations".
So it is of interest to see where from where these Departmental aims originated.

Accordingly, I hereby request the following Government Information documents which I consider to be of great public importance:
a) Documents detailing the Department's process for the development, refinement, consideration and selection of option for the current Vision Statement; and
b) Documents detailing the decision making to adopt the final version of the Vision Statement, namely "A secure Australia that is prosperous, open and united", including meeting agendas, meeting minutes and emails.

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.

Your request was received by the Department of Home Affairs on 25 October 2019 and has been allocated FOI request number FA 19/10/01662. Please include your FOI request number in all correspondence with the Freedom of Information Section.

Timeframe for receiving your decision
The statutory timeframe for processing a request is 30 days from the date upon which your application was received by the Department of Home Affairs.

Exclusion of non-SES staff personal details and SES telephone contact details
The Department of Home Affair’s policy is to exclude the personal details of staff not in the Senior Executive Service (SES), as well as the direct contact details of SES staff, contained in documents that fall within scope of an FOI request. If you require personal details of non-SES officers, or direct contact details of SES staff, please inform us so the decision maker may consider your request. Otherwise we will take it that you agree to that information being excluded from the scope of your request.

Publication of document
Where documents are released to you in response to your request, the Department of Home Affairs may be required to publish these documents on its website within 10 working days in accordance with section 11C of the FOI Act. Publication will not be required where the documents contain personal or business affairs information.

Contacting the FOI Section
Should you wish to discuss your request you may contact the FOI Section at [DIBP request email].

Kind regards

FOI Officer
Freedom of Information & Records Management Branch | Data Division
Department of Home Affairs
Email: [email address]
Website: www.homeaffairs.gov.au

For-Official-Use-Only

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From: Richard Smith

Delivered

Dear FOI Officer,

RE: FOI Request: FA 19/10/01662

Thank you for your reply of 29 October.

Regarding the Department's usual policy of excluding personal contact details of staff, while I recognise that this is a restriction to release of FOI documents over and above the requirements set out in the Act, on consideration of the Government Information subject to this request, I do not object to the Department's adherence to its internal policy.

I will however raise an objection, if the reason for not releasing any documents identified to be in the scope of my request for Government Information solely rests on the fact that they contain names and contact details of public service staff.

I look forward to receiving your response.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Smith

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From: FOI
Department of Home Affairs

UNCLASSIFIED

Good morning

I refer to your request received on 25 October 2019 for access to documents under the FOI Act.

The current due date for your request is 24 November 2019. Due to the number of requests currently being processed by our office, we will not be able to finalise your request by the original due date.

The Department seeks your agreement under section 15AA of the FOI Act to extend the timeframe for the processing of your request by 30 days. This would extend the due date for your request to Tuesday 24 December 2019.

If you wish to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact me on the details below.

With kind regards
Freedom of Information Section
FOI, Privacy and Records Management Branch
Data Division | Corporate and Enabling Group
Department of Home Affairs
E: [DIBP request email]

UNCLASSIFIED

Important Notice: The content of this email is intended only for use by the individual or entity to whom it is addressed. If you have received this email by mistake, please advise the sender and delete the message and attachments immediately. This email, including attachments, may contain confidential, sensitive, legally privileged and/or copyright information.

Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of this information by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited. The Department of Home Affairs and ABF respect your privacy and have obligations under the Privacy Act 1988.

Unsolicited commercial emails MUST NOT be sent to the originator of this email.

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From: Richard Smith

Delivered

Dear Freedom of Information Section,

Thank you for your email of 22 Nov 2019.

I have no objection to the Department being provided with an extension of time as requested for processing of my request for Government Information.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Smith

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From: FOI
Department of Home Affairs

UNCLASSIFIED

Thank you Mr Smith. The new statutory due date for your request is 24 December 2019.

With kind regards
Freedom of Information Section
FOI, Privacy and Records Management Branch
Data Division | Corporate and Enabling Group
Department of Home Affairs
E: [DIBP request email]

UNCLASSIFIED

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From: Richard Smith

Delivered

Dear Freedom of Information Section,

Thank you for your confirmation of the new due date of 24th December for my request for Government Information.

Upon consideration of this date, being 24th December, I would propose that the Department take a further extension of time until 13th January 2020, considering the time of year and in the spirit of Christmas to come.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Smith

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From: FOI
Department of Home Affairs

UNCLASSIFIED

Good morning Mr Smith

Thank you for your email below. Section 15AA of the FOI Act provides for the Department and the applicant to agree to an extension of time of no more than 30 days, which takes us to 24 December 2019.

Your offer to extend further to 13 January 2010 is appreciated, but unfortunately the FOI Act does not provide for us to make that agreement.

The Department will endeavour to finalise your request on or before 24 December 2019 to comply with statutory timeframes in this request.

With kind regards
Freedom of Information Section
FOI, Privacy and Records Management Branch
Data Division | Corporate and Enabling Group
Department of Home Affairs
E: [DIBP request email]

UNCLASSIFIED

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From: Richard Smith

Delivered

Dear Freedom of Information Section,

RE: FOI Request: FA 19/10/01662
File Number: OBJ2019/56434

Happy New Year.

Could you please provide an update on my request for Government Information?

Yours sincerely,

Richard Smith

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From: FOI
Department of Home Affairs

UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Mr Smith,

Thank you for your email enquiring about the progress of your FOI request. Apologies for the late reply.

Please be advised that the Department is currently processing a large number of FOI requests. Our staff are working hard and the Department is committed to processing your request as quickly as possible.

A number of documents have been identified as falling within the scope of your request and a FOI Officer is currently reviewing those documents. A decision on access will be made on your request and you will be notified of this as soon as possible.

Kind regards

FOI Officer
Freedom of Information (FOI) Section | FOI and Records Management Branch
Data Management Division | Corporate and Enabling Group
Department of Home Affairs
E: [DIBP request email]

UNCLASSIFIED

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From: Richard Smith

Delivered

Dear Department of Home Affairs,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department of Home Affairs's handling of my FOI request 'Documents relating to the decision making process which resulted in the Department of Home Affair's adopting as it's Vision the phrase "A secure Australia that is prosperous, open and united"'.

The due date for a response to my request for Government Information was 24th December 2019.

As of today, I have received no response, apart from an acknowledgement that the Department has not yet provided a response and are still working on it.

The Department has failed to respond in the timeframe required by law, with a response not provided some 66 days beyond the due date.

Last year I indicated that I was amenable to agreeing to an additional extension to allow for the Christmas/New Year break, but the Department declined this offer to extend the deadline by agreement, insisting that the due date remain 24th December.

I have been more than patient, with only one follow up in January, however the delay extending past two months is not reasonable, particularly with recent media reports mentioning that the OAIC has reported that it appeared that some Commonwealth agencies and departments were using delay as a conscious tactic.

However, due to the nature of the scope of my request, I do not believe that the delay in processing my request is intentional.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/d...

I look forward to hearing from the Department.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Smith

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From: FOI Reviews mailbox
Department of Home Affairs

UNCLASSIFIED

In reply please quote:
FOI request:   FA 19/10/01662
File number:   OBJ2019/56434

Dear Mr Smith

I refer to your request for an internal review of your FOI request FA 19/10/01662, which the Department of Home Affairs received on 27 February 2020.

As you know, the Department did not make a decision on your original FOI request within the original 30-day statutory timeframe for the request or the 60-day timeframe provided following your agreement to an extension under section 15AA of the FOI Act. As a consequence, the Department is deemed to have refused your request for access to documents under section 15AC of the FOI Act.

Section 54E(b) of the FOI Act provides that internal review is not available for requests that are deemed to have been refused under section 15AC of the Act, and accordingly your request for an internal review is invalid. You do, however, have the option of requesting an Information Commissioner (IC) review of the Department's deemed refusal decision.

I will inform the case officer for this request that I have advised you of your right to seek IC review of the deemed refusal decision.

Regards

Claire
FOI Officer, Reviews Team
Freedom of Information
FOI & Records Management Branch | Data Division
Corporate and Enabling Group
Department of Home Affairs
E: [email address]

UNCLASSIFIED

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From: FOI
Department of Home Affairs


Attachment FA 191001662 decision.pdf
280K Download View as HTML

Attachment FA 191001662 documents released.pdf
8.3M Download View as HTML


UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Mr Smith

 

FOI request FA 19/10/01662

 

I refer to your FOI request received on 25 October 2019, seeking access to
the following:

‘Documents detailing the Department's process for the development,
refinement, consideration and selection of option for the current Vision
Statement; and

Documents detailing the decision making to adopt the final version of the
Vision Statement, namely "A secure Australia that is prosperous, open and
united", including meeting agendas, meeting minutes and emails.'

 

The Department has made a decision on this request. Please find attached
the decision record and documents released under the FOI Act.

 

This request has now been closed.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI Officer

Freedom of Information (FOI) Section | FOI and Records Management Branch

Data Management Division  | Corporate and Enabling Group

Department of Home Affairs

E: [1][DIBP request email]

 

 

 

UNCLASSIFIED

 

Important Notice: The content of this email is intended only for use by
the individual or entity to whom it is addressed. If you have received
this email by mistake, please advise the sender and delete the message and
attachments immediately.  This email, including attachments, may contain
confidential, sensitive, legally privileged and/or copyright information.
 

Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of this information
by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited. 
The Department of Home Affairs and ABF respect your privacy and have
obligations under the Privacy Act 1988.  

Unsolicited commercial emails MUST NOT be sent to the originator of this
email.

References

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