Documents used as basis for decision

Nick Green made this Freedom of Information request to Commonwealth Ombudsman

The request was refused by Commonwealth Ombudsman.

From: Nick Green

Delivered

Dear Commonwealth Ombudsman,

I made a complaint to the Postal Industry Ombudsman in May. They recently terminated the complaint on the basis of:

a) a response from Australia Post; and
b) an unpublished Australia Post policy relating to package deliveries.

I have repeatedly asked to see both of these documents and been denied.

It hardly seems reasonable for the Ombudsman's Office to make decisions about complaints on the basis of documents which are withheld from complainants and my only recourse is to make this FOI request.

Yours faithfully,

Nick Green

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From: Ombudsman North
Commonwealth Ombudsman


Attachment 20150908171918349.pdf
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Dear Mr Green

 

I attach correspondence in relation to your request of 25 August 2015
under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Gregory Parkhurst

Senior Investigation Officer | FOI Co-ordinator | Operations North

Commonwealth Ombudsman

Ph: 1300 362 072 | Fax: 02 6276 0123

email: [1][CO request email]

 

Influencing agencies to treat people fairly through our investigations of
their administration

 

 

 

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1. mailto:[CO request email]

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From: Nick Green

Delivered

Dear Commonwealth Ombudsman,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Commonwealth Ombudsman's handling of my FOI request 'Documents used as basis for decision'.

You have improperly attempted to transfer my FOI request to Australia Post.

I have requested all documents YOU have in relation to the complaint I lodged with YOUR office that YOU used to make YOUR decision. Just in case my use of capitals didn't get the message across, this is all about you.

The matter has become further complicated because one of your officers initially claimed verbally on the telephone on August 13 to have received a copy of a particular policy document from Australia Post and explained in detail what it said and how that applied to my complaint. I emailed your office confirming the advice I had received. On August 21 I received an email from her erroneously claiming, amongst other things, that she hadn't given that advice.

Either she acted properly in the first instance in seeking and receiving a copy of this relevant policy document so she could make a proper decision regarding the complaint, and is now improperly lieing about it. Or she acted improperly in the first instance both in not acquiring this relevant policy document and then again in lieing about that.

Only by complying with my simple, reasonable and lawful FOI request can we clear this and other questions up.

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...

Yours faithfully,

Nick Green

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From: Ombudsman North
Commonwealth Ombudsman

Dear Mr Green

I acknowledge receipt of your email below.

I understand that you are seeking internal review of my decision to transfer your Freedom of Information request to Australia Post, under s 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act).

I wish to advise that the FOI Act does not provide for review of a decision to transfer a request to another agency. For this reason, it is not possible to have my decision reviewed.

If you are dissatisfied with Australia Post's decision on your request, it would be open to you to request Australia Post to conduct an internal review of that decision.

Yours sincerely

Gregory Parkhurst
FOI Co-ordinator | Operations North
Commonwealth Ombudsman
Ph: 1300 362 072 | Fax: 02 6276 0123
email: [CO request email]

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From: Nick Green

Delivered

Dear Ombudsman North,

I find it very curious that you would direct me to request a review of your decision to Australia Post. The correct agency to refer me to is the Federal Information Commissioner.

I trust that by bringing this to your attention it ensures you never repeat this mistake with others.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Green

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Locutus Sum left an annotation ()

Applicant: I think that something has gone wrong with the process of request here, or else something is missing or there has been a misunderstanding. In the initial request, you have not asked for any documents or said exactly what you want from the Commonwealth Ombudsman. You have complained about something that looks unfair to you but you have not asked for something specific.

Later, you say "I have requested all documents YOU have in relation to the
complaint I lodged with YOUR office that YOU used to make YOUR
decision. Just in case my use of capitals didn't get the message
across, this is all about you." But that is not correct as a person can see when they read the original request.

The FOI officer is correct to say that a decision to tranfer a request under s 16 of the Act is not a reviewable decision. It is not a reviewable decision (in terms of the review structure under the Act) because a decision to transfer a request is not a decision to refuse you access to documents. You must wait for a decision to be made before you get a right to ask for a review.

Instead of asking for a review, I would like to suggest that you send a request to the Commonwealth Ombudsman through Right to Know on a new request page. Maybe ...

Dear Commonwealth Ombudsman,

I made a complaint to the Postal Industry Ombudsman in May. They
recently terminated the complaint on the basis of:

a) a response from Australia Post; and
b) an unpublished Australia Post policy relating to package
deliveries.

I have repeatedly asked to see both of these documents and been
denied.

I understand that the Postal Industry Ombudsman is a function of the Commonwealth Ombudsman. I request under the FOI Act a copy of the document(s) that you received from Australia Post that you relied on to reach your decision to terminate my complaint.

Yours ...

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Nick Green left an annotation ()

Thanks for the suggestion Locutus. I really can't see that would make any difference because there has been no misunderstanding. The purpose and nature of my initial request was crystal clear.

I've also lodged a complaint with the OAIC. They rejected it. I've asked how to appeal that - because otherwise government agencies wanting to hide documents need only wrongly transfer the request to another department - and not heard anything back from them.

Since then Aus Post has responded by producing a policy document which has nothing at all to do with package delivery. They had previously produced this document and I had already made that point with them. This doc was part of my complaint to the Postal Industry Ombudsman.

What you're not seeing is the bigger picture. Australia Post gets a crazy amount of complaints about package deliveries and always claim that whatever problem occurred was in accordance with policy. But when pressed they neve produce it. It either doesn't exist or doesn't say what they claim it does.

So this is actually the Postal Industry Ombudsman and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner both corruptly protecting Australia Post.

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Nick Green left an annotation ()

Alarming development.

Both the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal have said that a government department can erroneously transfer an FOI request to another department to circumvent the FOI Act.

There's no capacity for anyone to review a decision to transfer. They regard that as a decision not having been made at all, ergo there is nothing to review.

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