Documents relating to the waiver of Bob Day's Commonwealth debts

Mark Newton made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Finance

The request was refused by Department of Finance.

From: Mark Newton

Delivered

Dear Department of Finance,

Under the terms of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), certain conditions must be met prior to the waiver of a debt owed to the Commonwealth.

A description of the process is laid-out by the Department here: https://www.finance.gov.au/resource-mana...
In addition to the general guidelines outlined in that document, Commonwealth debt waiver is regulated by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, and the Rules made under the Act by legislative instrument in 2014.

Last week, Special Minister of State Scott Ryan MP announced that Mr. Bob Day's debts accumulated as a result of unlawfully sitting as a Senator since February 2016 would be waived.

I require disclosure of the following documents:

1. The "Application for a Waiver of Debt owed to the Government" form submitted by Mr. Day, or any other correspondence from Mr. Day or his agents which serve the purpose of an application for waiver of debt,

2. The report of the advisory committee which considered the appropriateness of the Minister's authorisation authorisation for debt waiver, pursuant to sections 24(2) and 24(3) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (Federal Register of Legislation F2017L00203),

3. The names and positions held of the advisory committee's members,

4. Submissions from affected non-corporate Commonwealth Entities (NCEs) to the advisory committee established in (2) above, and/or provided to Mr. Day,

5. Minutes, notes, or other annotations which show that the relevant Minister received the advisory committee's report and considered it,

6. Records which indicate the amount of time elapsed between the application in (1) above and the Minister's decision; and

7. Notification from the decision maker to Mr. Day

Yours faithfully,

Mark Newton

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance

Thank you for your email to the Freedom of Information Team at the
Department of Finance.  An officer will respond to your email shortly.  In
the meantime, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact
the FOI Team on (02) 6215 1783.

Regards,

 

 

FOI Officer, Legal Services Branch

Business Enabling Services

Department of Finance

T: 02 6215 1783 E: [1][Finance request email]

A: One Canberra Avenue, Forrest ACT 2603

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance

Thank you for your email, which has been forwarded to the Department’s FOI
Team for their consideration. A member of the FOI Team will respond to
your email in the next couple of days.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI Coordinator

 

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance


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UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Mr Newton,

 

Freedom of Information Requests

Thank you for your emails to the Special Minister of State and the
Department of Finance (Finance) requesting access to certain documents
under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). On 30 May 2017, you
were advised that the FOI request 17/79 had been transferred to Finance.

 

The purpose of this email is to streamline the processing of your related
FOI requests, in particular:

 

Original Request (FOI 17/79)

… Please disclose any documents which quantify debts in each of those four
categories, debts in any other categories which you have waived but not
identified in your published statement, and total debt …

 

Subsequent Request (FOI 17/82)

1. The "Application for a Waiver of Debt owed to the Government" form
submitted by Mr. Day, or any other correspondence from Mr. Day or his
agents which serve the purpose of an application for waiver of debt,

 

2. The report of the advisory committee which considered the
appropriateness of the Minister's authorisation authorisation for debt
waiver, pursuant to sections 24(2) and 24(3) of the Public Governance,
Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (Federal Register of Legislation
F2017L00203),

 

3. The names and positions held of the advisory committee's members,

 

4. Submissions from affected non-corporate Commonwealth Entities (NCEs) to
the advisory committee established in (2) above, and/or provided to Mr.
Day,

 

5. Minutes, notes, or other annotations which show that the relevant
Minister received the advisory committee's report and considered it,

 

6. Records which indicate the amount of time elapsed between the
application in (1) above and the Minister's decision; and

 

7. Notification from the decision maker to Mr. Day …

 

Way Forward

It appears that the documents you are seeking under FOI 17/79 are
substantially the same as the documents requested under FOI 17/82 and can
be processed together. On that basis, please confirm that you are happy to
withdraw FOI 17/79.  

 

If you have any questions, my preference is to discuss by phone. Please do
not hesitate to contact the FOI Team on the details below.

 

Kind regards,

FOI Officer

 

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01D20F6A.7457D930

 

FOI Officer, Legal and Assurance Branch

Business Enabling Services

Department of Finance

T: 02 6215 1783 E: [2][Finance request email]

A: One Canberra Avenue, Forrest ACT 2603

 

 

UNCLASSIFIED

 

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance


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UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Mr Newton,

 

Freedom of Information Requests

Thank you for your emails to the Special Minister of State and the
Department of Finance (Finance) requesting access to certain documents
under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). On 30 May 2017, you
were advised that the FOI request 17/79 had been transferred to Finance.

 

The purpose of this email is to streamline the processing of your related
FOI requests, in particular:

 

Original Request (FOI 17/79)

… Please disclose any documents which quantify debts in each of those four
categories, debts in any other categories which you have waived but not
identified in your published statement, and total debt …

 

Subsequent Request (FOI 17/82)

1. The "Application for a Waiver of Debt owed to the Government" form
submitted by Mr. Day, or any other correspondence from Mr. Day or his
agents which serve the purpose of an application for waiver of debt,

 

2. The report of the advisory committee which considered the
appropriateness of the Minister's authorisation authorisation for debt
waiver, pursuant to sections 24(2) and 24(3) of the Public Governance,
Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (Federal Register of Legislation
F2017L00203),

 

3. The names and positions held of the advisory committee's members,

 

4. Submissions from affected non-corporate Commonwealth Entities (NCEs) to
the advisory committee established in (2) above, and/or provided to Mr.
Day,

 

5. Minutes, notes, or other annotations which show that the relevant
Minister received the advisory committee's report and considered it,

 

6. Records which indicate the amount of time elapsed between the
application in (1) above and the Minister's decision; and

 

7. Notification from the decision maker to Mr. Day …

 

Way Forward

It appears that the documents you are seeking under FOI 17/79 are
substantially the same as the documents requested under FOI 17/82 and can
be processed together. On that basis, please confirm that you are happy to
withdraw FOI 17/79.  

 

If you have any questions, my preference is to discuss by phone. Please do
not hesitate to contact the FOI Team on the details below.

 

Kind regards,

FOI Officer

 

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01D20F6A.7457D930

 

FOI Officer, Legal and Assurance Branch

Business Enabling Services

Department of Finance

T: 02 6215 1783 E: [2][Finance request email]

A: One Canberra Avenue, Forrest ACT 2603

 

 

UNCLASSIFIED

 

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From: Mark Newton

Delivered

Dear FOI Officer,

To the extent that the documents requested in FOI 17/82 include enumeration of the monetary amounts and categories requested in FOI 17/79, then yes, they are substantially similar.

On that basis, I'm happy to withdraw FOI 17/79.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Newton

Link to this

From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance

Thank you for your email, which has been forwarded to the Department’s FOI
Team for their consideration. A member of the FOI Team will respond to
your email in the next couple of days.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI Coordinator

 

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance

UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Mr Newton,

Thank you for your email below. Finance has now closed your FOI 17/79 request. An acknowledgement of your FOI 17/82 request will be provided shortly.

Should you wish to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact the FOI Team on the details below.

Kind regards,
FOI Officer

FOI Officer, Legal and Assurance Branch
Business Enabling Services
Department of Finance
T: 02 6215 1783 E: [Finance request email]
A: One Canberra Avenue, Forrest ACT 2603

UNCLASSIFIED

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance


Attachment image003.jpg
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UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Mr Newton

 

Freedom of Information Request – FOI 17/82

Thank you for your email to the Department of Finance (Finance) requesting
access to the following under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI
Act).

 

Last week, Special Minister of State Scott Ryan MP announced that Mr. Bob
Day's debts accumulated as a result of unlawfully sitting as a Senator
since February 2016 would be waived.

 

I require disclosure of the following documents:

 

1. The "Application for a Waiver of Debt owed to the Government" form
submitted by Mr. Day, or any other correspondence from Mr. Day or his
agents which serve the purpose of an application for waiver of debt,

2. The report of the advisory committee which considered the
appropriateness of the Minister's authorisation for debt waiver, pursuant
to sections 24(2) and 24(3) of the Public Governance, Performance and
Accountability Rule 2014 (Federal Register of Legislation F2017L00203),

3. The names and positions held of the advisory committee's members,

4. Submissions from affected non-corporate Commonwealth Entities (NCEs) to
the advisory committee established in (2) above, and/or provided to Mr.
Day,

5. Minutes, notes, or other annotations which show that the relevant
Minister received the advisory committee's report and considered it,

6. Records which indicate the amount of time elapsed between the
application in (1) above and the Minister's decision; and

7. Notification from the decision maker to Mr. Day

 

The statutory period for processing your request commences from the day
after Finance received your request.  Your request was received by Finance
on 29 May 2017. The processing period may be extended if we need to
consult third parties, impose a charge or for other reasons.  We will
advise you if this happens.

 

Liability to pay a charge

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.

 

Publication

As required by the FOI Act, any documents provided to you under the FOI
Act will be published on our [1]disclosure log, unless an exemption
applies or the documents are characterised as containing personal
information.  Documents will be published within one working day after
they are released to you.

 

Policy to exclude junior officer contact details

Finance has adopted a policy to generally exclude from any documents
released under FOI, the names and contact details of junior staff (non-SES
officers) and staff employed under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act
1984 (adviser level and below). Finance’s preference is to reach agreement
with FOI applicants to exclude these details from the scope of the
request. Where there is no objection, the names and contact details of
junior officers are redacted under section 22 of the FOI Act, on the basis
that these details are irrelevant to the request. 

 

Please contact the FOI Team on the below contact details if you wish to
discuss your request.

 

Kind regards,

FOI Officer

 

 

[2]cid:image001.jpg@01D20F6A.7457D930

 

FOI Officer, Legal Services Branch

Business Enabling Services

Department of Finance

T: 02 6215 1783 E: [3][Finance request email]

A: One Canberra Avenue, Forrest ACT 2603

 

UNCLASSIFIED

 

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3. mailto:[Finance request email]

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance


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Attachment FOI 17 82 Charges Notice.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Mr Newton,

 

Please find attached a charges letter in regards to your FOI request
17/82.

 

Please contact the FOI team if you have any questions.

 

Kind regards,

FOI Officer

 

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01D20F6A.7457D930

 

FOI Officer, Legal and Assurance Branch

Business Enabling Services

Department of Finance

T: 02 6215 1783 E: [2][Finance request email]

A: One Canberra Avenue, Forrest ACT 2603

 

UNCLASSIFIED

 

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From: Mark Newton

Delivered

Dear FOI Officer,

I request waiver of the charges associated with this request pursuant to subsections 29(5)(a) and 29(5)(b) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

With respect to 29(5)(b): Considerable public interest has been generated by the waiver of Mr. Day's debts, contrasted against the behavior of the Government in relation to the waiver of far more trivial (and often incorrectly calculated) debts asserted against Centrelink Newstart and Disability Support Payment recipients. Media articles and social media discussions have already progressed as a result of these circumstances, and the resulting public debate should be grounded in the facts I am seeking in this application, rather than conjecture and supposition.

It is an OBVIOUS matter of public interest if the Government is allegedly driving unemployed people to suicide by garnishing Centrelink payments that are already below the official poverty line while simultaneously forgiving hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt owed by a wealthy property developer, who only incurred the debt in the first place because he was ineligible to be a Senator on account of his receipt of yet more hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of commercial rent payments for his office.

With respect to 29(5)(a): I am not a wealthy property property developer, and I am not in a position to pay hundreds of dollars for factual data to settle the aforementioned debate.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Newton

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance

Thank you for your email, which has been forwarded to the Department’s FOI
Team for their consideration. A member of the FOI Team will respond to
your email in the next couple of days.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI Coordinator

 

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance


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Attachment FOI 17 82 Charges Contention Decision 10 July 2017.docx.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Mr Newton,

 

Please find attached a decision in response to your contention of charges
(FOI request 17/82).

 

Please contact the FOI team if you have any questions.

 

Kind regards,

FOI Officer

 

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01D20F6A.7457D930

 

FOI Officer, Legal and Assurance Branch

Business Enabling Services

Department of Finance

T: 02 6215 1783 E: [2][Finance request email]

A: One Canberra Avenue, Forrest ACT 2603

UNCLASSIFIED

 

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From: Mark Newton

Delivered

Dear FOI Requests,

With the imposition of these charges, I am unable to proceed with this request.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Newton

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance

Thank you for your email, which has been forwarded to the Department’s FOI
Team for their consideration. A member of the FOI Team will respond to
your email in the next couple of days.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI Coordinator

 

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance

Thank you for your email to the Freedom of Information Team at the
Department of Finance.  An officer will respond to your email shortly.  In
the meantime, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact
the FOI Team on (02) 6215 1783.

Regards,

 

 

FOI Officer, Legal Services Branch

Business Enabling Services

Department of Finance

T: 02 6215 1783 E: [1][Finance request email]

A: One Canberra Avenue, Forrest ACT 2603

References

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1. mailto:[Finance request email]

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