Gender balance of detainees from years 2000-2014

Elin Eriksson made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Home Affairs

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

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

Dear Department of Immigration and Border Protection,

This Freedom of Information request requires the gender balance of people being held in any kind of immigration detention centre from the years 2000-2014. Example: For the year 2004, how many of the people held in immigration detention of any kind in Australia were men and how many were women?

Yours faithfully,

Elin Eriksson

Locutus Sum left an annotation ()

This request will be refused. It is (almost without doubt) not a valid request under the Freedom of Information Act. It will only be a valid request if the Department of Immigration has already made a document to describe the sex ratio of persons in immigration detention.

The Australian FOI Act is not like, for example, the similar act in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom act gives an applicant a right to information. It is not so in Australia. The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) given an applicant a right of access to documents. In section 11 (, it says, "Subject to this Act, every person has a legally enforceable right to obtain access in accordance with this Act to:(a) a document of an agency, other than an exempt document; or (b) an official document of a Minister, other than an exempt document." The definition of "document" is in section 4 ( of the Act. The documents must exist in some form. The can exist maybe only in a computer but the documents must be identifiable and it is a responsibility and requirement for an applicant that the applicant give enough information to identify the document she wants [section 15(2)(b) ]

With this request the Department of Immigration must do some research. The Department must use its computer to get records of every person it knows about. Then it must look to see if this person is in immigration detention. Then it must look at the sex of the person and count how many of male sex and how many of female sex. But it is not required to do this by the FOI Act, and it will not! So the request will be refused.

I will make another comment. It is not required for the Department of Immigration to provide access under FOI in this case. Also, the Act does not prevent or prohibit the Department for giving access; the Department can make a choice. It will refuse (I say) not only because it maybe is a lot of work to answer the request but also because it is the Department of Immigration and not another department. The Department of Immigration, I think I say from evidence on Right to Know, is a Department that will not want to give any information unless it must. The applicant will not benefit from a departmental choice.

For consistency, I have made a link on some of the other recent requests from this applicant to this annotation. The other requests that have a similarity to this request are:
Longest detainee (
Number of minors (
Capacity of detention centres (
Number of detention centres (