Enterprise bargaining - what information is provided to department about employees' votes?

James Smith made this Freedom of Information request to Department of the Environment and Energy

The request was partially successful.

From: James Smith

Delivered

Dear Department of the Environment,

This is request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

I request all documents wherein the outcome of any enterprise bargaining ballots were communicated to the department by the entity who undertook the ballots.

This shall include the YES/NO vote amounts or percentages as well as any additional information related to the vote. For example, a breakdown of the vote by employee location, or APS level.

The scope of this request covers any such documents that were received as a result of EBA offers made to staff under:

Workplace Bargaining Policy 2015
or
Australian Government Public Sector Workplace Bargaining Policy 2014

I thank you in advance for processing this request.

Yours faithfully,

James Smith

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From: FOI Contact Officer
Department of the Environment and Energy

Dear Mr Smith

 

The Department of the Environment and Energy acknowledges receipt of your
request on 26 February 2017.

 

The Department is required to process your request within 30 days after
the day your request was received. This 30 day processing period may be
extended under certain circumstances, for example, where the Department
decides it reasonable to consult with third parties. If the processing
period is extended, you will be informed of the extension and the reasons
for it.

 

As at the date of writing, the statutory deadline for providing a decision
on this request is 28 March 2017.

 

The Department makes two assumptions that affect the scope of your
request. These are set out below.

 

It is the usual practice of the Department:

•                    not to disclose the personal information of junior
officers or the personal contact details of senior officers of the State
or Federal governments (including those of the Department). The names of
senior officers will generally be released. Your request will be processed
on the assumption that you do not intend to capture these details within
its scope.

•                    not to release duplicates of any document captured
within the scope of the request. Further, where two documents fall within
the scope one differs from the other only with respect to minor editorial
changes (such as spelling or grammar corrections), only the later version
of the document  will be treated as within scope.  Your request will be
processed on the assumption that you do not intend to capture duplicates
or documents that the Department considers duplicates (as per the above
explanation) within the scope of your request.

 

Please inform us if you do not agree to your request being processed by
the Department on the above assumptions.

 

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may later be
published online on our disclosure log.

 

We will contact you using the email you provided. Please advise if you
would prefer us to use an alternative means of contact.

 

If you have any questions, please contact the FOI team on (02) 6274 2098.

 

FOI Contact Officer | Climate Change, Science and Corporate Legal
Section |General Counsel Branch
Department of the Environment and Energy
a: GPO Box 787 CANBERRA ACT 2600
t: (02) 6274 2098 
e: [1][Department of the Environment request email]

 

 

 

 

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From: FOI Contact Officer
Department of the Environment and Energy


Attachment FOI 170215 decision on access.pdf
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Attachment FOI 170215 Attachment C Documents for release Redacted.pdf
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Dear Mr Smith

 

Please see attached decision with regards to your FOI request received 26
February 2017.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI Officer

General Counsel Branch
Department of the Environment and Energy
a: GPO Box 787 CANBERRA ACT 2600
t: (02) 6274 2603 
e: [1][Department of the Environment and Energy request email]

 

 

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Department of the Environment and Energy request email]

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From: James Smith

Delivered

Dear FOI Contact Officer,

I request a review of your decision to redact the voting breakdown.

It is quite rich of the department to keep this information to itself, and to have held this information to the sole benefit of the department, during the bargaining process. Was the breakdown of results provided to employees, and to non-departmental bargaining representatives, so they could use the information to support their industrial interests? Or did the department have the upper-hand throughout bargaining by keeping this information to itself?

You say releasing the breakdown could allow employees to identify how individuals voted, yet the Department appears to consider it quite acceptable to keep this information to itself and therefore be in a position to learn of employee's individual votes. What right has the department to identify how ANY individual has voted? This undermines the integrity of the entire ballot process.

Every departmental employee has a right to see this information, and all Australians have a right to scrutinise the management of public sector agencies. Particularly when we are talking integrity, accountability, and ethical decision making processes.

I look forward to the outcome of your review and give notice I will seek a review from the OAIC if the requested information is not provided in your response.

Yours sincerely,

James Smith

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From: FOI Contact Officer
Department of the Environment and Energy

Good afternoon Mr Smith

 

The Department acknowledges your application review of the decision on FOI
request 170215.

 

Please note the statutory deadline for decision on your application is
Monday 1 May 2017.

 

Kind regards

 

 

FOI Officer

General Counsel Branch
Department of the Environment and Energy
a: GPO Box 787 CANBERRA ACT 2600
t: (02) 6274 2603 
e: [1][Department of the Environment and Energy request email]

 

 

 

show quoted sections

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From: FOI Contact Officer
Department of the Environment and Energy


Attachment FOI 170215 IR decision letter.pdf
385K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Smith

 

Please see the attached correspondence.

 

Regards

 

FOI Contact Officer | Climate Change, Science and Corporate Legal
Section |General Counsel Branch
Department of the Environment and Energy
a: GPO Box 787 CANBERRA ACT 2600
t: (02) 6274 2098 
e: [1][Department of the Environment and Energy request email]

 

 

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Department of the Environment and Energy request email]

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Locutus Sum left an annotation ()

This comment I should have made 6 weeks ago; it is prompted by the applicant's request for internal review (https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/e... ) on 31.03.2017.

Before you look at that request, I ask a question: "Do you want the decision about an FOI request to be made by a person who is susceptible to threats, intimidation, or undercurrents of meaning, or do you want the decision to be made by a person who will look at the law and try to understand it and apply it impartially?"

Now when you have a look to the request for internal review, you will see the sentence, "..I look forward to the outcome of your review and give notice I will seek a review from the OAIC if the requested information is not provided in your response." What is the purpose to say "I will seek IC review if the information is not provided"? Is this just helpful information (like "I give notice that one week from today will be Friday 07.04.2017") in case the decision maker has forgotten this interesting, but possibly irrelevant, fact? Or is the purpose of the statement to influence the decision in some way that is not simply an argument about the merits of the original decision?

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From: James Smith

Delivered

Dear FOI Contact Officer,

Thank you for internal review decision.

For your information, I have filed for an application to review your decision with the OAIC.

Yours sincerely,

James Smith

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Department of the Environment and Energy only: