Expenditure on legal fees for employment and FOI matters, 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2018

Megan Parolin made this Freedom of Information request to State Revenue Office Victoria

The request was successful.

From: Megan Parolin

Delivered

Dear State Revenue Office Victoria,

Could you please provide copies of all information in the SRO's possession which refers or relate to expenditure, authorised or otherwise, including information detailing:

1. The SRO's total payments made to private law firms for employment related matters in the 2015/2016 financial year.
2. The total payments made to private law firms by Department of Treasury and Finance on behalf of the SRO for employment related matters in the 2015/2016 financial year.
3. The SRO's total payments made to private law firms for employment related matters in the 2016/2017 financial year.
4. The total payments made to private law firms by Department of Treasury and Finance on behalf of the SRO for employment related matters in the 2016/2017 financial year.
5. The SRO's total payments made to private law firms for employment related matters in the 2017/2018 financial year.
6. The total payments made to private law firms by Department of Treasury and Finance on behalf of the SRO for employment related matters in the 2017/2018 financial year.
7. The SRO's total payments made to private law firms in order to defend its freedom of information decisions in the 2015/2016 financial year.
8. The SRO's total payments made to private law firms in order to defend its freedom of information decisions in the 2016/2017 financial year.
9. The SRO's total payments made to private law firms in order to defend its freedom of information decisions in the 2017/2018 financial year.

In this request, 'employment related matters' means
a WorkCover claim
an action commenced at the Fair Work Commission by a current or former employee
an action commenced at the Supreme Court of Victoria by a current or former employee
an action commenced at the Federal Circuit Court by a current or former employee
an action commenced at the Federal Court by a current or former employee
a complaint lodged to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commision by a current or former employee
any misconduct review or investigation commenced by the SRO or on its behalf
any review or investigation of a bullying or discrimination complaint commenced by the SRO or on its behalf.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Yours faithfully,

Megan Parolin

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From: Megan Parolin


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[Subject only] Fwd: Fw: Freedom of Information request - Expenditure on legal fees for employment and FOI matters, 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2018 [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED, DLM=For-Official-Use-Only]

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From: Megan Parolin


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Hi Sue
Thanks for your email. I should have stated in my application that this
FOI request is an amendment of the one submitted to the SRO on 29 March
2018. Your reference for that request was FOL/18/1375, acknowledgement of
that request including payment was provided by you on 5 April 2018. On 20
April 2018 you had indicated that request was not valid as it was not
clear enough according to section 17(2) of the FOI Act. That payment has
not been refunded. These terms should enable you to locate the requested
documents. 
As the terms of the request have changed, could you please return all
documents that relate to that request that are currently in your
possession (and are no longer within the scope of the FOI request) to the
appropriate person. 
Thanks for your assistance in this matter.
Kind regards 
Megan
On 26 Jul. 2018 12:23 pm, "FOI" <[1][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]> wrote:

Dear Megan

The SRO has not been able to identify a payment from you for the
statutory application fee, which from 1 July 2018 is $28.90. If paid,
could you please provide details and evidence of the payment. Without
that, the request is not validly made.

Kind regards

Sue Kaufmann
Senior Policy Specialist
Freedom of Information Inbox
Policy & Legislation

Phone        +61 3 9628 0228
Email        [2][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]

[3]sro.vic.gov.au

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From: FOI
State Revenue Office Victoria


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Dear Megan

Thank you for this explanation. However, as this request covers a very
different topic from FOL-18-1375, I will need to treat it as a fresh
request.

In this instance,  I agree that the 2017-18 application fee paid for
FOL-18-1375 to this request can be applied to the new request, and the
difference between the 2017-18 fee ($28.40) and the 2018-19 fee ($28.90)
can be waived. However, for this to be done, you will first need to
withdraw your "1375" Request, so that that file can be closed.

Kind regards

Sue Kaufmann
Senior Policy Specialist
Freedom of Information Inbox
Policy & Legislation

Phone        +61 3 9628 0228
Email        [State Revenue Office Victoria request email]

sro.vic.gov.au

From:        Megan Parolin <[email address]>
To:        FOI <[State Revenue Office Victoria request email]>
Cc:        [FOI #4706 email]
Date:        27/07/2018 05:59 PM
Subject:        Re: Fw: Freedom of Information request - Expenditure on
legal fees for employment and FOI matters, 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2018
[SEC=UNCLASSIFIED, DLM=For-Official-Use-Only]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Sue

Thanks for your email. I should have stated in my application that this
FOI request is an amendment of the one submitted to the SRO on 29 March
2018. Your reference for that request was FOL/18/1375, acknowledgement of
that request including payment was provided by you on 5 April 2018. On 20
April 2018 you had indicated that request was not valid as it was not
clear enough according to section 17(2) of the FOI Act. That payment has
not been refunded. These terms should enable you to locate the requested
documents. 

As the terms of the request have changed, could you please return all
documents that relate to that request that are currently in your
possession (and are no longer within the scope of the FOI request) to the
appropriate person. 

Thanks for your assistance in this matter.

Kind regards 

Megan

On 26 Jul. 2018 12:23 pm, "FOI" <[1][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]> wrote:
Dear Megan
The SRO has not been able to identify a payment from you for the statutory
application fee, which from 1 July 2018 is $28.90. If paid, could you
please provide details and evidence of the payment. Without that, the
request is not validly made.
Kind regards

Sue Kaufmann
Senior Policy Specialist
Freedom of Information Inbox
Policy & Legislation
Phone        +61 3 9628 0228
Email        [2][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]

[3]sro.vic.gov.au

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Megan Parolin


Attachment noname.gif
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Hi Sue
Can you please provide the legislative, case law or policy basis for your
proposal to treat my application as a fresh request? In the meantime, I
regard my request to have been validly made to you on 27 July 2018.
Kind regards
Megan 

On Wed., 1 Aug. 2018, 3:42 pm FOI, <[1][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]> wrote:

Dear Megan

Thank you for this explanation. However, as this request covers a very
different topic from FOL-18-1375, I will need to treat it as a fresh
request.

In this instance,  I agree that the 2017-18 application fee paid for
FOL-18-1375 to this request can be applied to the new request, and the
difference between the 2017-18 fee ($28.40) and the 2018-19 fee ($28.90)
can be waived. However, for this to be done, you will first need to
withdraw your "1375" Request, so that that file can be closed.

Kind regards

Sue Kaufmann
Senior Policy Specialist
Freedom of Information Inbox
Policy & Legislation

Phone        +61 3 9628 0228
Email        [2][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]

[3]sro.vic.gov.au

From:        Megan Parolin <[4][email address]>
To:        FOI <[5][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]>
Cc:        [6][FOI #4706 email]
Date:        27/07/2018 05:59 PM
Subject:        Re: Fw: Freedom of Information request - Expenditure on
legal fees for employment and FOI matters, 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2018
[SEC=UNCLASSIFIED, DLM=For-Official-Use-Only]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Sue

Thanks for your email. I should have stated in my application that this
FOI request is an amendment of the one submitted to the SRO on 29 March
2018. Your reference for that request was FOL/18/1375, acknowledgement
of that request including payment was provided by you on 5 April 2018.
On 20 April 2018 you had indicated that request was not valid as it was
not clear enough according to section 17(2) of the FOI Act. That payment
has not been refunded. These terms should enable you to locate the
requested documents. 

As the terms of the request have changed, could you please return all
documents that relate to that request that are currently in your
possession (and are no longer within the scope of the FOI request) to
the appropriate person. 

Thanks for your assistance in this matter.

Kind regards 

Megan

On 26 Jul. 2018 12:23 pm, "FOI" <[7][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]> wrote:
Dear Megan
The SRO has not been able to identify a payment from you for the
statutory application fee, which from 1 July 2018 is $28.90. If paid,
could you please provide details and evidence of the payment. Without
that, the request is not validly made.
Kind regards

Sue Kaufmann
Senior Policy Specialist
Freedom of Information Inbox
Policy & Legislation
Phone        +61 3 9628 0228
Email        [8][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]

[9]sro.vic.gov.au

show quoted sections

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From: Megan Parolin


Attachment attachment.gif
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[Subject only] Fwd: Fw: Freedom of Information request - Expenditure on legal fees for employment and FOI matters, 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2018 [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED, DLM=For-Official-Use-Only]

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From: Megan Parolin


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Hi Sue

With respect, this is not Schrodinger's FOI request, in that it cannot be
held both invalid and valid but suspended at the same time.

I asked you what legislation, case law or policy provides justification
for your statement that "as this request covers a very different topic
from FOL-18-1375, I will need to treat it as a fresh request". As you are
unable to provide any justification for this proposed course of action, I
confirm my understanding that a valid request was made to you on 27 July
2018 and am looking forward to receiving the requested information in a
timely manner.
I again request the return of documents that were collected in connection
to 1375 (that you told me that was unable to be processed because it was
not clear enough to identify any documents) to their authors.

Many thanks

Megan
On 2 August 2018 at 09:47, FOI <[1][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]> wrote:

Dear Megan

The two requests are entirely different.

If you wish to have the fee for "1375" applied to your request on
Expenditure, it will be necessary for you to withdraw your "1375"
request. If you wish to keep that request open (it is currently
suspended), it will be necessary to pay the application fee for your
Expenditure request.
Kind regards

Sue Kaufmann
Senior Policy Specialist
Freedom of Information Inbox
Policy & Legislation

Phone        +61 3 9628 0228
Email        [2][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]

[3]sro.vic.gov.au

From:        Megan Parolin <[4][email address]>
To:        FOI <[5][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]>
Cc:        [6][FOI #4706 email]
Date:        01/08/2018 03:49 PM
Subject:        Re: Fw: Freedom of Information request - Expenditure on
legal fees for employment and FOI matters, 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2018
[SEC=UNCLASSIFIED, DLM=For-Official-Use-Only]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Sue

Can you please provide the legislative, case law or policy basis for
your proposal to treat my application as a fresh request? In the
meantime, I regard my request to have been validly made to you on 27
July 2018.

Kind regards

Megan 
On Wed., 1 Aug. 2018, 3:42 pm FOI, <[7][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]> wrote:
Dear Megan
Thank you for this explanation. However, as this request covers a very
different topic from FOL-18-1375, I will need to treat it as a fresh
request.
In this instance,  I agree that the 2017-18 application fee paid for
FOL-18-1375 to this request can be applied to the new request, and the
difference between the 2017-18 fee ($28.40) and the 2018-19 fee ($28.90)
can be waived. However, for this to be done, you will first need to
withdraw your "1375" Request, so that that file can be closed.
Kind regards

Sue Kaufmann
Senior Policy Specialist
Freedom of Information Inbox
Policy & Legislation
Phone        +61 3 9628 0228
Email        [8][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]

[9]sro.vic.gov.au

From:        Megan Parolin <[10][email address]>
To:        FOI <[11][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]>
Cc:        [12][FOI #4706 email]
Date:        27/07/2018 05:59 PM
Subject:        Re: Fw: Freedom of Information request - Expenditure on
legal fees for employment and FOI matters, 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2018
[SEC=UNCLASSIFIED, DLM=For-Official-Use-Only]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Sue

Thanks for your email. I should have stated in my application that this
FOI request is an amendment of the one submitted to the SRO on 29 March
2018. Your reference for that request was FOL/18/1375, acknowledgement
of that request including payment was provided by you on 5 April 2018.
On 20 April 2018 you had indicated that request was not valid as it was
not clear enough according to section 17(2) of the FOI Act. That payment
has not been refunded. These terms should enable you to locate the
requested documents. 

As the terms of the request have changed, could you please return all
documents that relate to that request that are currently in your
possession (and are no longer within the scope of the FOI request) to
the appropriate person. 

Thanks for your assistance in this matter.

Kind regards 

Megan

On 26 Jul. 2018 12:23 pm, "FOI" <[13][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]> wrote:
Dear Megan

The SRO has not been able to identify a payment from you for the
statutory application fee, which from 1 July 2018 is $28.90. If paid,
could you please provide details and evidence of the payment. Without
that, the request is not validly made.

Kind regards

Sue Kaufmann
Senior Policy Specialist
Freedom of Information Inbox
Policy & Legislation
Phone        +61 3 9628 0228
Email        [14][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]

[15]sro.vic.gov.au

show quoted sections

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From: Megan Parolin


Attachment noname.gif
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[Subject only] Fwd: Fw: Freedom of Information request - Expenditure on legal fees for employment and FOI matters, 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2018 [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED, DLM=For-Official-Use-Only]

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From: Megan Parolin


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Hi Sue

Whilst I acknowledge that you have not used the word "invalid" or "valid"
in your correspondence with me on the matter, I note the following:

1. 'request' is defined in section 5 as 'a request made in accordance with
section 17'
2. relevantly to the present circumstances, section 17(2) states 'A
request shall provide such information concerning the document as is
reasonably necessary to enable a responsible officer of the agency, or the
Minister, as the case may be, to identify the document'
3. Therefore a request is not a 'request'/valid request if it does not
comply with section 17(2) of the FOI Act.
4. Your letter in respect of this request dated 20 April 2018 at paragraph
2 paraphrases section 17(2) and then states immediately afterward 'the
terms of your Request currently are not adequate for that purpose'.
Paragraph 16 states, 'Please note that the statutory 30 day
decision-period will not commence until all of the issues I have
outlined... have been resolved in accordane with section 17(2) of the FOI
Act'.
5. The FOI Commissioner's FAQ's states
([1]https://foicommissioner.vic.gov.au/frequ...
If the Minister or agency considers the request is too vague or unclear,
they will contact the applicant to give them an opportunity to provide
further information to clarify their request. Once a request is
sufficiently clear to enable the Minister or agency to identify the
documents, it will become a valid request.

The Minister or agency has 30 days to respond to the request after the day
it was received. Please note, the 30 days starts from the date the agency
receives a valid request, and payment of the application fee (if
required). The 30 days does not start on the date the applicant sends the
request to the agency.

Despite you having never used the words valid or invalid, the FOI
Commissioner's FAQ appears to support my view that the request as provided
to you on the 29 March 2018 was not a request, not a 'valid for
consultation request' and not a request 'open (but currently suspended)'.
As such, my position remains that there is nothing for me to 'withdraw',
but for the purposes of receiving the documents I requested on 19 July
(effective request from 27 July), I don't mind if you continue to maintain
that there was a request that you will now treat as withdrawn and for the
payment to be applied to this request as a new request. Thank you for
waiving the 50c fee increase.
As you can probably tell from our correspondence over a number of FOI
requests to date, I am very interested in the operation of the FOI Act. So
whilst in a pragmatic sense the point is moot, could you still please let
me know what legal authority supports the proposition that when making a
further attempt to make a valid request, the further attempt must relate
to the same documents as originally requested? It does not seem to be
supported by, for example, section 17(4) of the FOI Act.

Thanks and kind regards

Megan
On 2 August 2018 at 17:03, FOI <[2][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]> wrote:

Dear Megan

To be clear, in my correspondence to you on this matter I have
consistently indicated that I sought clarification from you under
section 17(2), and have never stated that the request was invalid. The
request was validly made for consultation to be undertaken under s
17(2).

I am prepared to take your request for the documents to be returned to
their authors as indicating that you wish to withdraw your request for
access to the documents itemised in your request "1375".  

Please note that an FOI application fee is non-refundable. However, in
this instance, taking "1375" to be withdrawn, I agree to the application
fee being applied to your new request, and for the small difference
between the fee payable in 2017-18 and 2018-19 to be waived. I am also
prepared, in this instance, to treat your new request on employment and
FOI-related expenditure to have been paid on 27 July 2018.

Kind regards
Sue Kaufmann
Senior Policy Specialist
Freedom of Information Inbox
Policy & Legislation

Phone        +61 3 9628 0228
Email        [3][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]

[4]sro.vic.gov.au

From:        Megan Parolin <[5][email address]>
To:        FOI <[6][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]>
Cc:        [7][FOI #4706 email]
Date:        02/08/2018 03:25 PM

Subject:        Re: Fw: Freedom of Information request - Expenditure on
legal fees for employment and FOI matters, 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2018
[SEC=UNCLASSIFIED, DLM=For-Official-Use-Only]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Sue
With respect, this is not Schrodinger's FOI request, in that it cannot
be held both invalid and valid but suspended at the same time.

I asked you what legislation, case law or policy provides justification
for your statement that "as this request covers a very different topic
from FOL-18-1375, I will need to treat it as a fresh request". As you
are unable to provide any justification for this proposed course of
action, I confirm my understanding that a valid request was made to you
on 27 July 2018 and am looking forward to receiving the requested
information in a timely manner.

I again request the return of documents that were collected in
connection to 1375 (that you told me that was unable to be processed
because it was not clear enough to identify any documents) to their
authors.
Many thanks
Megan

On 2 August 2018 at 09:47, FOI <[8][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]> wrote:
Dear Megan
The two requests are entirely different.
If you wish to have the fee for "1375" applied to your request on
Expenditure, it will be necessary for you to withdraw your "1375"
request. If you wish to keep that request open (it is currently
suspended), it will be necessary to pay the application fee for your
Expenditure request.
Kind regards
Sue Kaufmann
Senior Policy Specialist
Freedom of Information Inbox
Policy & Legislation
Phone        +61 3 9628 0228
Email        [9][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]

[10]sro.vic.gov.au

From:        Megan Parolin <[11][email address]>
To:        FOI <[12][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]>
Cc:        [13][FOI #4706 email]
Date:        01/08/2018 03:49 PM
Subject:        Re: Fw: Freedom of Information request - Expenditure on
legal fees for employment and FOI matters, 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2018
[SEC=UNCLASSIFIED, DLM=For-Official-Use-Only]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Sue

Can you please provide the legislative, case law or policy basis for
your proposal to treat my application as a fresh request? In the
meantime, I regard my request to have been validly made to you on 27
July 2018.

Kind regards

Megan 

On Wed., 1 Aug. 2018, 3:42 pm FOI, <[14][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]> wrote:
Dear Megan

Thank you for this explanation. However, as this request covers a very
different topic from FOL-18-1375, I will need to treat it as a fresh
request.

In this instance,  I agree that the 2017-18 application fee paid for
FOL-18-1375 to this request can be applied to the new request, and the
difference between the 2017-18 fee ($28.40) and the 2018-19 fee ($28.90)
can be waived. However, for this to be done, you will first need to
withdraw your "1375" Request, so that that file can be closed.

Kind regards

Sue Kaufmann
Senior Policy Specialist
Freedom of Information Inbox
Policy & Legislation
Phone        +61 3 9628 0228
Email        [15][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]

[16]sro.vic.gov.au

From:        Megan Parolin <[17][email address]>
To:        FOI <[18][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]>
Cc:        [19][FOI #4706 email]
Date:        27/07/2018 05:59 PM
Subject:        Re: Fw: Freedom of Information request - Expenditure on
legal fees for employment and FOI matters, 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2018
[SEC=UNCLASSIFIED, DLM=For-Official-Use-Only]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Sue

Thanks for your email. I should have stated in my application that this
FOI request is an amendment of the one submitted to the SRO on 29 March
2018. Your reference for that request was FOL/18/1375, acknowledgement
of that request including payment was provided by you on 5 April 2018.
On 20 April 2018 you had indicated that request was not valid as it was
not clear enough according to section 17(2) of the FOI Act. That payment
has not been refunded. These terms should enable you to locate the
requested documents. 

As the terms of the request have changed, could you please return all
documents that relate to that request that are currently in your
possession (and are no longer within the scope of the FOI request) to
the appropriate person. 

Thanks for your assistance in this matter.

Kind regards 

Megan

On 26 Jul. 2018 12:23 pm, "FOI" <[20][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]> wrote:
Dear Megan

The SRO has not been able to identify a payment from you for the
statutory application fee, which from 1 July 2018 is $28.90. If paid,
could you please provide details and evidence of the payment. Without
that, the request is not validly made.

Kind regards

Sue Kaufmann
Senior Policy Specialist
Freedom of Information Inbox
Policy & Legislation
Phone        +61 3 9628 0228
Email        [21][State Revenue Office Victoria request email]

[22]sro.vic.gov.au

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From: Megan Parolin


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[Subject only] Fwd: Fw: Freedom of Information request - Expenditure on legal fees for employment and FOI matters, 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2018 [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED, DLM=For-Official-Use-Only]

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Attachment FOL 18 2650 Released document.pdf
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