Executive Management Board Minutes

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Department of Veterans' Affairs should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Department of Veterans' Affairs,

Also three years ago I requested copy of Executive Management Board minutes from the Department, which the Department refused in full - a decision which is still in IC Review.

Yet I note a recent decision (LEX 47408) had such minutes released to someone else https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/8...

So even though Veterans' Affairs is still holding my prior request in constant delay, it appears Executive Management Board minutes can indeed be released and are not as previously claimed exempt in full because of operational matters.

My new FOI request is for copy of all Executive Management Board minutes of 2021.

Yours faithfully,

Julie

Dear Department of Veterans' Affairs,

Normally I would have received an acknowledgment by now so thought I'd remind in case it got entered wrong in LEX by the Department.

Yours faithfully,

Julie

INFORMATION.LAW, Department of Veterans' Affairs

LEX 47881

Dear Julie

I refer to your request, received by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
(the department) on 11 February 2022, for access under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) made on the following terms:

 

“Also three years ago I requested copy of Executive Management Board
minutes from the Department, which the Department refused  in full - a
decision which is still in IC Review.

 

Yet I note a recent decision (LEX 47408) had such minutes released to
someone else
[1]https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/8...

 

So even though Veterans' Affairs is still holding my prior request in
constant delay, it appears Executive Management Board minutes  can indeed
be released and are not as  previously claimed exempt in full because of
operational matters.

 

My new FOI request is for copy of all Executive Management Board minutes
of 2021.”

Your request was received by the department on 11 February 2022 and the
30 day statutory period for processing your request commenced from the day
after that date. The period of 30 days may be extended if we need to
consult third parties or for other reasons permitted under the FOI Act. We
will advise you if this happens.

 

Apologies

 

Apologies for the delay in you receiving this acknowledgment email. We
previously attempted to send an acknowledgement letter to you at your
advised electronic address on 14 February 2022. However, the Right to Know
server rejected the email for unknown reasons.

 

Clarification Required

We note your reference to a matter currently before the Office of the
Australian Information Commissioner (IC) in the request above. We would be
grateful if you could please provide the relevant IC review number, so
that we can make some further enquiries.

 

Your address

 

The FOI Act requires that you provide us with an address that we can send
notices to. You have advised your electronic address is
[2][FOI #8405 email]. Unless you tell us
otherwise, we will send all notices and correspondence to this address.

 

Disclosure log

 

Information released under the FOI Act may be published on a disclosure
log on our website, subject to certain exceptions. These exceptions
include where publication of personal, business, professional or
commercial information would be unreasonable.

 

Exclusion of employee details

 

To the extent the department has documents in its possession that fall
within the scope of your request, we will treat the names, signatures,
position titles and direct contact details of Commonwealth employees as
irrelevant in accordance with section 22 of the FOI Act, unless you tell
us otherwise by 4 March 2022

 

Further assistance

 

If you have any questions about your request, please email
[3][email address].

Yours sincerely

Llewellyn (Position Number 62329531)
Information Access Officer
Information Law Section
Legal Services and Audit Branch
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
e [4][email address]

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/8...
2. mailto:[FOI #8405 email]
3. mailto:[email address]
4. mailto:[email address]

Dear INFORMATION.LAW,

The Information Commissioner has previously written guidance that an FOI agency cannot rely on presumptions of agreement that material is irrelevant, and I do not consent to the names and position titles of Commonwealth officials as being irrelevant to the scope of my request.

The FOI request that I had previously made in 2018 is available on Right to Know https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/d...

Unlike the s 55G substitution of refused in full decisions, made exactly 1,210 days later by Veterans, for similar request for minutes of the DVA Audit and Risk Committee (LEX 46678 - FOI 25066 - MR19/00027) on 4 February this year (requested in 2018), and the DVA Risk and Fraud Committee (LEX 46722 FOI 25068 MR19/00027) on 31 January this year (requested in 2018), the earlier 31 August 2018 request for copy of the Executive Board Minutes still has not received such a substituted decision - despite partial and full access being given to papers and minutes of the Executive Management Board of late 2019 been given here on Right to Know (contrary to the assertion made in the access refusal decision I received that any access to such papers and minutes 'would significantly reduce the quality, clarity or frankness of discussions between Board members and ultimately, the advice and recommendations that arise from these meetings... [and the] potential detriment to the public interest of release of the documents outweighs the factors in favour of access... [because it would] jeopardise the reporting of this information and its full disclosure at the Board’s meetings'.

Such an claim is nonsensical when the Department has released in full and in part such minutes and papers of the Executive Management Board to others.

Yours sincerely,

Julie

INFORMATION.ACCESS, Department of Veterans' Affairs

Dear Julie

 

Freedom of Information Request: LEX 47881

 

I refer to your request for access to documents held by the Department of
Veterans’ Affairs (Department) under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(FOI Act). Your request was received by the Department on 11 February 2022
and was made in the following terms:

 

My new FOI request is for copy of all Executive Management Board minutes
of 2021

 

In accordance with section 15(5)(b) of the FOI Act, the due date for a
decision on your request is 14 March 2022.

 

When the processing period may be extended or suspended

 

Due to a delay in receiving a copy of the documents from the relevant
business area, and to the complex nature of the documents you are seeking,
I am seeking your agreement to a 30 day extension of time under [1]section
15AA of the FOI Act.

 

If you are agreeable, this would make the new decision date for your
request 13 April 2022.

 

Please advise no later than COB on Friday 11 March 2022 if you agree to
the extension of time.

 

If you do not agree to the section 15AA extension of time, the department
may apply to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)
for an extension of time under section 15AB of the FOi Act.

 

Further information on FOI processing can be found at the website on the
OAIC website at [2]https://www.oaic.gov.au/.

 

Contacting us about your request

 

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

 

If you have any questions, please contact me using the following details:

 

Post:            Information Law Section, Legal Services & Audit Branch

GPO Box 9998 CANBERRA ACT 2601

Facsimile:    (02) 6289 6337

Email:           [3][email address]

 

Kind Regards

 

Jasmine (Position Number 62329540)

Information Access Officer

Information Access Unit

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

e [4][email address]

 

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewd...
2. https://www.oaic.gov.au/
3. mailto:[email address]
4. mailto:[email address]

Dear INFORMATION.ACCESS,

I would need more information than you have provided to determine whether this was appropriate, especially as you have stated one reason is due to a situation of your own making.

Yours sincerely,

Julie

Dear INFORMATION.ACCESS,

Despite having requested information to help assist you, Veterans Affairs did not respond.

These ambit s 15AA claims are difficult enough without the rudeness of failing to engage in clarifying your reasons for seeking them (beyond intentional gaming to create artificial barriers to access).

Ciao,

Julie

Eoin McMahon,

6 Attachments

Dear Applicant and FOI Contact Officer,

 

Please see attached decision regarding the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
application for an extension of time to process FOI request LEX 47881.

Kind regards,

 

 

[1][IMG]   Eoin McMahon  |  Review Adviser

Investigations and Compliance

Freedom of Information
Regulatory Group

Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner

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

+61 2 9284 9716  | 
[3][email address]
[7]Subscribe [8]Subscribe to
[4]Facebook | [5]LinkedIn | [6]Twitter |   icon Information
Matters

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. https://www.oaic.gov.au/
2. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
3. mailto:[email address]
4. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
5. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
6. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
8. https://www.oaic.gov.au/updates/sign-up/

Dear Eoin McMahon,

I would like a copy of the s 15AB application, given it is unclear from your letter of the proper basis on which you were satisfied.

Ciao,

Julie

Eoin McMahon,

1 Attachment

Dear Julie

Please find attached a copy of the Department of Veterans' Affairs application form as requested.

Kind regards,

Eoin McMahon | Review Adviser
Investigations and Compliance
Freedom of Information Regulatory Group
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001 | oaic.gov.au
+61 2 9284 9716 | [email address]

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Dear Eoin McMahon,

As you wrote in your letter approving Veterans Affairs s 15AB EoT:

'Whilst the Department has requested an extension of time until 13 April 2022, I have decided to grant the Department an extension of time under s 15AB(2) of the FOI Act to 28 March 2022.'

Both the EoT period you approved, and the much long EoT period Veterans Affairs sought, are now both long expired.

Having ignoring my warning to you at the time that your EoT decision would not result in a decision being made, regardless of such approval, as Veterans Affairs has shown time and again with respect to such s 15AB applications that it has no intention to act in good faith, can I ask you to clarify why you continue to approve such s 15AB applications from Veterans Affairs despite this persistent pattern of egregious behaviour from them?

Section 15AB was never intended to be used as a de facto barrier to access, and yet delegates such as yourself at the OAIC continually enable Veterans Affairs to use them intentionally in this unethical manner, contrary to the objectives of the Freedom of Information Act.

Ciao,

Julie

Dear INFORMATION.LAW,

Decision was required to be provided on 28 March 2022. Yet despite receiving the benefit of an EoT from the OAIC, this decision is deemed and nearing a month overdue.

Such persistent abuse of EoTs and other unethical barriers to access point to the entrenched pattern of abuse by Veterans Affairs towards veterans and the public.

Ciao,

Julie

Eoin McMahon,

1 Attachment

Dear Julie,

Thank you for your email.

The decision to grant the Department of Veterans' Affairs (the Department) was made on the information before the OAIC. At the time of the decision, this included the Department's application for an extension of time lodged with the OAIC on 14 March 2022 (a copy of which was provided to you on 25 April 2022).

As noted in the OAIC's decision letter of 19 April 2022 (re-attached for your convenience), the Department was afforded until 28 March 2022 to provide you with a decision on your FOI request. If the Department has not provided you with a decision, you may wish to seek Information Commissioner review (details of which are provided in the attached decision letter).

I note that your review rights in respect of the OAIC's decision are noted on page 3 of the attached decision letter.

I hope this information is of assistance.

Kind regards,

Eoin McMahon | Review Adviser
Investigations and Compliance
Freedom of Information Regulatory Group
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001 | oaic.gov.au
+61 2 9284 9716 | [email address]

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Verity Pane left an annotation ()

Quite the cop out from the OAIC, especially as they are well aware DVA has consistently exceeded such s 15AB extensions it has obtained.

The three blind monkeys act is very popular at the OAIC Julie - you should expect much more of the same from them.

Dear Eoin McMahon,

If, as you say, 'The decision to grant the Department of Veterans' Affairs (the Department) was made on the information before the OAIC' then that would include the OAIC's knowledge of Veterans' Affairs extensive history of abusing s 15AB, only to ignore due dates and letting decisions go deemed (even after successive extensions).

So again, why does the OAIC continue to approve Veterans Affairs applications that provide no evidence of anything they claim (claims that frequently turn out to be misleading or knowingly untrue), without doing anything other than reaching for the approved stamp?

The only question the OAIC appears to ask itself is 'does this story sound good' on a blind faith basis, not caring if it is true or not. The OAIC takes no action even if it has evidence before it of such abuse, raising the question of why the OAIC is nothing more that an expensive press release machine, devoid of anything of substance.

Ciao,

Julie