We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Julie please sign in and let everyone know.

Executive Management Board Minutes

We're waiting for Julie to read recent responses and update the status.

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

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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

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5. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
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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

INFORMATION.ACCESS, Department of Veterans' Affairs

2 Attachments

Good morning / afternoon Julie

 

Please find attached the decision letter and EMB minutes as per your FOI
request dated 11 February 2022.

 

Regards

 

Joshua

Position number: 62336363

A/Assistant Director

Information Access Unit

Client Access and Rehabilitation Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

 

Julie left an annotation ()

What is going on at Veterans? Again the unusual claim by the department here that this decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs is not able to have an internal review:

'If you are dissatisfied with my decision you may apply for Information Commissioner Review of the decision through the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). In accordance with section 54E(b) of the FOI Act, internal review is not available as the Department did not finalise your FOI request within the prescribed statutory timeframe.'

Again, as the deemed decision has been substituted that is no longer true. s 54E(b) only applies so long as the decision is deemed, but as soon as that deemed decision is replaced, there is no longer a deemed decision.

As long as you apply for internal review within 30 days of the date of this substituting decision, you are within your rights to have an internal review dealt with by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Dear Department of Veterans' 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 Veterans' Affairs's handling of my FOI request 'Executive Management Board Minutes'.

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

What is going on at Veterans? Again the unusual claim by the department here that this decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs is not able to have an internal review:

'If you are dissatisfied with my decision you may apply for Information Commissioner Review of the decision through the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). In accordance with section 54E(b) of the FOI Act, internal review is not available as the Department did not finalise your FOI request within the prescribed statutory timeframe.'

Again, as the deemed decision has been substituted that is no longer true. s 54E(b) only applies so long as the decision is deemed, but as soon as that deemed decision is replaced, there is no longer a deemed decision. This decision was not made by the Secretary of the Department of Veterans' Affairs, but by a delegate of the Secretary.

As long as internal review request occurs within 30 days of the date of this substituting decision, I are am within my rights to have an internal review dealt with by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Ciao

Julie

INFORMATION.ACCESS, Department of Veterans' Affairs

1 Attachment

Dear Julie

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (the department) has received your
request for internal review of the Department’s decision Executive
Management Board Minutes under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI
Act). Your internal review request reads as follows:

I am writing to request an internal review of Department of Veterans'
Affairs's handling of my FOI request 'Executive Management Board Minutes'.

 

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

 

What is going on at Veterans? Again the unusual claim by the department
here that this decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs is not able
to have an internal review:

 

'If you are dissatisfied with my decision you may apply for Information
Commissioner Review of the decision through the Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner (OAIC). In accordance with section 54E(b) of the
FOI Act, internal review is not available as the Department did not
finalise your FOI request within the prescribed statutory timeframe.'

 

Again, as the deemed decision has been substituted that is no longer true.
s 54E(b) only applies so long as the decision is deemed, but as soon as
that deemed decision is replaced, there is no longer a deemed decision.
This decision was not made by the Secretary of the Department of Veterans'
Affairs, but by a delegate of the Secretary.

 

As long as internal review request occurs within 30 days of the date of
this substituting decision, I are am within my rights to have an internal
review dealt with by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

Your request for internal review was received by the department on 16
July 2022 and the 30 day statutory period for processing your request
commenced from the day after that date.

 

Where possible, your request for internal review will be handled by an FOI
officer authorised decision-maker who was not involved in the original
decision.

 

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
[1][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.

 

Further assistance

 

If you have any questions about your request, please email
[2][DVA request email]

 

Yours sincerely

Arthur

Position Number 62210944

Information Access Officer

Information Access Unit              

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Email: [3][email address]

 

[4]cid:image001.png@01D4D4DC.79DB5D20

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[FOI #8405 email]
2. mailto:[DVA request email]
3. mailto:[email address]

INFORMATION.ACCESS, Department of Veterans' Affairs

Dear Julie,

 

I write to inform you that your internal review request LEX 50833 which
requested a review of LEX 47881 is an invalid request and will not be
processed by the department.

 

The primary decision was made outside the statutory time frame and was not
brought back into time with a s15AC extension of time from the OAIC,
therefore, there is no internal review pathway available to you for this
request.

 

Please see Part 9 of the FOI guidelines. Specifically paragraph 9.10 in
the link below.

 

[1]https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...

 

In accordance with section 15AC of the FOI Act, the principal officer of
the Department is taken to have made a decision personally refusing to
give access to the documents on the last day of the initial decision
period. Even where a decision has not been issued within the prescribed
timeframe, the Department retains an obligation to process and finalise
the FOI request. I would like to apologise for the delay in issuing the
original decision to you and any inconvenience it may have caused.

 

You can lodge an Information Commissioner review via the following
pathways:

 

OAIC review

Under section 54L of the FOI Act, you may apply to the OAIC to review my
decision. An application for review by OAIC must be made in writing within
60 days of the date of this letter, and be lodged in one of the following
ways:

 

Online: www.oaic.gov.au

Post: Director of FOI Dispute Resolution

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001

Facsimile: (02) 9284 9666

Phone: 1300 363 992

Email: [email address]

 

More information about your review rights under the FOI Act is available
in Fact Sheet 12 published by the OAIC:
https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...

 

 

Brett (Position Number 62258141)

Assistant Director

Information Access Unit

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

 

“DVA is committed to supporting veterans and their families.  We all
deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect.  We ask that you treat us
the same way”. 

 

DVA has arrangements in place for staff to work at home as much as
possible to contribute to the Nation’s agenda to minimise social
interaction and support social distancing. To assist us it would be
appreciated if you could communicate with me via email using this address
[email address]

 

 

 

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...

Dear INFORMATION.ACCESS,

A deemed decision is different from a deemed decision substituted by a decision, and your intentional misrepresentation does not change the specific words of the Freedom of Information Act.

The wording of s 54B is "within 30 days ... after the day the decision is notified to the applicant". A deemed decision is not notified to an applicant, it is a state of affairs deemed to exist on failure of an foi agency to provide a decision.

To confirm this, it is evidenced by the log of communications on this Right to Know page for this FOI that at no time did DVA notify me that the decision was ever deemed. The only notices given by DVA were on 25 February, 10 March, 1 July (notice of decision), 22 July (acknowledgment of internal review) and 1 August 2022 (where you claim the internal review was invalid, even though it was acknowledged as a valid internal review by DVA on 22 July).

An applicant is only notified of a decision by an foi agency once it makes a decision that replaces the deeming.

And while you claim the Guidelines (which are not a legal instrument and cannot substitute for the words of the Act) state this, Paragraph 9.10 of Guidelines does not state what you claim (which is that a notified decision that replaces the affirmed assumption cannot be internal reviewed if it is not given an extension of time under s 15AC).

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 1982 - SECT 54B

Internal review--application for review
(1) An application for internal review must be in writing and must be made:
(a) within 30 days, or such further period as the agency allows, after the day the decision is notified to the applicant for internal review (the internal review applicant ); or

As the internal review request complied with s 54B and was valid, DVA does not have the power to refuse to make internal review decision, and as DVA has failed to provide an internal review decision within the period specified by s 54C, it is now a deemed affirmation by virtue of s 54D.

Veterans Affairs is still obligated to replace that deeming by an actual internal review decision.

Ciao

Julie

Dear INFORMATION.ACCESS,

I apply for copy of the LEX reports/entries for LEX 47881 and LEX 50833 under the Freedom of Information Act as a preparatory step required to be taken, before seeking correction.

Ciao

Julie

INFORMATION.ACCESS, Department of Veterans' Affairs

1 Attachment

Dear Julie

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (the department) has received your
request for access to information under the Freedom of Information Act
1982 (FOI Act). I note you have requested access to the following:

I apply for copy of the LEX reports/entries for LEX 47881 and LEX 50833
under the Freedom of Information Act as a preparatory step required to be
taken, before seeking correction.

 

Your request was received by the department on 1 August 2022 and the
ordinary 30 day statutory period for processing your request commenced
from the day after that date.

 

 

Charges

 

The department will advise you if a charge is payable to process your
request and the amount of any such charge as soon as practicable. No
charge is payable for providing a person with their own personal
information.

 

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
[1][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.

 

 

Further assistance

 

If you have any questions about your request, please email
[2][DVA request email]

 

Yours sincerely

Arthur

Position Number 62210944

Information Access Officer

Information Access Unit              

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Email: [3][email address]

 

[4]cid:image001.png@01D4D4DC.79DB5D20

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[FOI #8405 email]
2. mailto:[DVA request email]
3. mailto:[email address]

INFORMATION.ACCESS, Department of Veterans' Affairs

3 Attachments

Good morning Julie,

 

Please see the attached decision letter and documents requested.

 

Regards

 

Brett (Position Number 62258141)

Assistant Director

Information Access Unit

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

 

“DVA is committed to supporting veterans and their families.  We all
deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect.  We ask that you treat us
the same way”. 

 

DVA has arrangements in place for staff to work at home as much as
possible to contribute to the Nation’s agenda to minimise social
interaction and support social distancing. To assist us it would be
appreciated if you could communicate with me via email using this address
[email address]

 

 

 

Dear INFORMATION.ACCESS,

Why are Chantal Tipene and Molly Campbell, who are employees of Sparke Helmore and not the Department of Veterans' Affairs, performing delegate functions in LEX 47881 record?

And why is DVA including QA in the foi processing time limit, when such QA is not supposed to be included in the processing time limit.

Ciao

Julie

Julie left an annotation ()

Commissioner review

INFORMATION.ACCESS, Department of Veterans' Affairs

3 Attachments

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INFORMATION.ACCESS, Department of Veterans' Affairs

3 Attachments

You have received a secure message from the Department of Veterans'
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accessible on a computer or mobile android device after this timeframe. If
you are concerned that this link has been compromised, please contact the
Department on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372) to confirm the validity of the
link and this secure message.
[2]Help
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Department of Veterans' Affairs

Please use this validation code to complete your registration: 919766

Note: This code will expire in 30 minutes.

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Julie please sign in and let everyone know.