FOI Request for Detail Incident Report 1-2S9SAU

Lawrence Bull made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Immigration and Border Protection

The request was refused by Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

From: Lawrence Bull

Delivered

To the Department of Immigration and Citizenship,

Dear Sir/Madam,

Under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) I request the following document:

Incident Detail Report 1-2S9SAU from the Department's Compliance, Case Management, Detention and Settlement Portal. I also request any documents attached to the detailed report.

Kind Regards,
Lawrence Bull

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From: FOI


Attachment s24AB notice.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Mr Bull

Please see the attached notice.

Regards

Linda Rossiter
Director
FOI and Privacy Policy
Department of Immigration and Citizenship

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Locutus Sum left an annotation ()

The response of the Department of Immigration was completely predictable. More wise was to make different words in the applications. But now for something more practical ...

First, but less important, the idea is very sneaky that two requests make that "the subject matter is substantially the same for the requests" [that is the words used in section 24(2)(b) of the Act] just because they are both about (i) human beings, (ii) refugees, (iii) detention, (iv) incident report. Very greasy. Very silly. But the department can make for a long delay, unfortunately!

Second, is much more important. The Australian Information Commissioner has issued Guidelines under s 93A of the Act to which regard must be had for the purposes of performing a function, or exercising a power, under the FOI Act. In the Guidelines, paragraph 3.62 says "Two or more requests from the same applicant may be treated as a single request where the agency or minister is satisfied that ...". Note that the Guidelines talk about requests from the same applicant. The Information Commissioner does not expect that the Department will try to treat applications from different applicants in this way. Of course, maybe the Information Commissioner did not think about crowdsourcing! Maybe you can make him think of it now.

First step is to request an internal review. Everyone should make the individual requests. If only one or two make the internal review request, then the people who do not make the request will run out of time and maybe the Department will not extend the time. You should say that the Department has misinterpreted the section 24(2)(b). You say that they must have regard to the Guidelines when they make a decision and also say that the Guidelines do not imagine that a Department will use the section 24(2)(b) to oversee applications from more than one applicant.

Rådgivning er gratis. Held og lykke.

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From: Lawrence Bull

Delivered

Dear Ms Rossiter,

Thankyou for your email. I disagree with your assertion that my request can be linked to other requests in accordance with s 24(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth). My request and the others you refer to are not requests by the same person. This is a condition precedent for the application of this section of the act.

The Office of Australian Information Commissioner Guidelines state that the section is relevant: "two or more requests from the same applicant may be treated as a single request where the agency or minister is satisfied that the requests relate to substantially the same document or documents.” (See Guidelines 3.62)

You must have regard to these guidelines in performing a function or exercising a power under the FOI Act (s 93A(2)).

In addition you wrongly conclude that the requests relate to documents the subject matter of which is substantially the same. My request and other requests relate to incident reports involving different individuals, different types of events, and events at different times and places. The subject matter in each case is likely to be unique not substantially the same.

Your reliance on these grounds for any decision to refuse access for the practical refusal reason that processing the request would substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of the agency from its other operations is misplaced.

Based on this I would like to indicate that I will be declining to vary or revise my request further. You estimate that dealing with my request would take three hours and as such this would not substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of the agency from its other operations. In any event there are strong public interest factors, reflected in the objects of the act, in favour of disclosure of the requested document.

I look forward to true determination of my application.

Regards,

Lawrence Bull

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From: FOI

UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Mr Bull

Thank you for your response. I recognise that paragraph 3.62 of the FOI Guidelines refers to a single applicant. It does not, however, preclude the treatment of multiple requests from multiple individuals as the same request. As stated in my notice of 24 June, section 24 the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) does not require the requests to be made from the same applicant. It should also be noted that, even if there was an inconsistency between the FOI Guidelines and the FOI Act, the FOI Act would take precedence over the FOI Guidelines.

These are requests all from a single source, the department’s Compliance, Case Management, Detention and Settlement (CCMDS) portal, and all consist of incident reports and their attachments.

It therefore remains my view that the requests relate to subject matter that is substantially the same for each of the requests. The FOI Act does not require the subject matter to be identical, or for the documents in scope to be the same documents, rather the test employed is that the subject matter is substantially the same. Although the requests were for unique incidents the subject matter, namely ‘incidents in detention’, is substantially the same.

I note your comment that I have estimated that the time required to deal with your request would be three hours. My notice of 24 June advised that, based on the department’s previous experience, assessing incident detail reports and their attachments would take an average of three hours per report. I have not quantified the time required just for your request.

I note also your advice that you do not intend to vary or revise your request further. As stated in my notice of 24 June, I require agreement from each of the applicants in order to accept a position, including that of not wishing to revise the scope of the request. To simplify this process, you may wish to appoint (or nominate yourself as) a representative to take part in consultation with the department. I note that we require that each individual contact the department to nominate a representative rather than a representative appointing him/herself. A lack of response from any of the applicants by the required date will result in the request being deemed withdrawn under s.24AB(7) of the FOI Act.

If you are not happy with the department’s handling of the request you may make a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. Details of how to do this are in the notice you received and are also available from www.oaic.gov.au.

Regards

Linda Rossiter
Director
FOI and Privacy Policy
Department of Immigration and Citizenship

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From: FOI


Attachment Deemed withdrawn notice.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

 

Dear Mr Bull

 

Please see the attached notice.

 

Regards

 

Linda Rossiter
Director

FOI and Privacy Policy   
Department of Immigration and Citizenship

 

 

UNCLASSIFIED

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