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George Brandis and George Pell

D Ward made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Finance

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From: D Ward

Delivered

Dear Department of Finance,

The former Attorney-General George Brandis met and ate with Mr George Pell in May 2015, as reported here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmaXYN9S...

Under the FOI Act, I seek access to documents that concern any expenses incurred/claimed by the former Attorney-General associated with his meeting/lunch date with Mr George Pell. Such documents may include relevant restaurant receipts, taxi receipts and credit card statements.

Yours faithfully,

D Ward

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance

Thank you for your email to the Freedom of Information Team at the
Department of Finance.

An officer will respond to your email shortly. In the meantime, if you
have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the FOI Team on (02)
6215 1783.

Kind regards,

FOI Officer, Legal and Assurance Branch
Business Enabling Services
Department of Finance
T: 02 6215 1783 E: [Finance request email]
A: One Canberra Avenue, Forrest ACT 2603

 

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance

Thank you for your email, which has been forwarded to the Department’s FOI
Team for their consideration. A member of the FOI Team will respond to
your email in the next couple of days.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI Coordinator

 

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance


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UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Mr Ward,

 

Freedom of Information Request – FOI 19/02

Thank you for your email to the Department of Finance (Finance), dated 4
January 2019, requesting access to the following:

 

The former Attorney-General George Brandis met and ate with Mr George Pell
in May 2015, as reported here:

 

[1]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmaXYN9S...

 

Under the FOI Act, I seek access to documents that concern any expenses
incurred/claimed by the former Attorney-General associated with his
meeting/lunch date with Mr George Pell. Such documents may include
relevant restaurant receipts, taxi receipts and credit card statements.

 

 

As the subject matter of the requested documents is more closely connected
with the functions of the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD), they have
confirmed that they are better placed to process your request.  As such,
Finance has transferred your request, in full, to AGD under section 16 of
the FOI Act.

 

Please direct all future enquires regarding the above request to
[2][email address].

 

We look forward to hearing from you in the future.

 

Kind regards

 

[3]cid:image001.jpg@01D20F6A.7457D930

 

Freedom of Information Team

Legal and Assurance Branch

Business Enabling Services

Department of Finance

T: 02 6215 1783 E: [4][Finance request email]

A: One Canberra Avenue, Forrest ACT 2603

 

 

UNCLASSIFIED

 

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References

Visible links
1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmaXYN9S...
2. mailto:[email address]
4. mailto:[Finance request email]

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From: D Ward

Delivered

Dear FOI Requests,

Thanks for that. I’ll wait to hear from the AGD in relation to my FOI request of 4 January 2019.

I wish to make a fresh application of the Department of Finance under the FOI Act.

I refer to the Department of Finance’s responsibility for administering parliamentarians’ expenditure which, as explained here: https://www.finance.gov.au/publications/...
“Includes expenditure, and adjustments, (including domestic travel, car costs, overseas travel, Travelling Allowance, office facilities costs, office administrative costs and family travel) for Parliamentarians […] Parliamentarians […] are asked to certify that their expenditure was in accordance with the provisions legislated. […] The supporting data underpinning the reports is available […]”

My request is as follows.

The former Attorney-General George Brandis met and ate with Mr George Pell in May 2015, as reported here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmaXYN9S...

Under the FOI Act, I seek access to documents *held by the Department of Finance* [my emphasis] which concern any expenses incurred/claimed by the former Attorney-General associated with his meeting with Mr George Pell. Such documents may include relevant restaurant receipts, taxi receipts and credit card statements.

For clarity, and noting the Department of Finance’s responsibility for administering Parliamentarians’ expenditure in the relevant period (and noting that the AGD had no such responsibility), for the purposes of this particular request (as opposed to my FOI request of 4 January 2019), I seek documents held by the Department of Finance. And so there is no reasonable basis upon which this request can be transferred to another agency pursuant to section 16 of the FOI Act because only the Department of Finance is in a position to determine whether it holds relevant documents – it is a strictly factual matter as to whether the Department of Finance holds documents within the terms of my request.

Leaving aside the accepted public interest in knowing how and what Parliamentarians’ spend public monies on, I am happy to provide further information (either on request, or in response to a notice given pursuant to subsection 29(1) of the FOI Act) that goes to the wide public interest in the documents the subject of my request including by reference to Mr Pell’s character, Mr Pell’s relationship with the Liberal Party and certain high profile members of the Government, and Mr Pell’s relationship and financial arrangements with far right wing and Liberal party aligned political lobby group, the Institute of Public Affairs.

In processing this request, I remind Departmental officers of their obligations under the Public Service Act 1999 – in particular, the obligation to be accountable, apolitical and impartial, to behave honestly and with integrity, and the obligation to comply with all applicable Australian laws.

With thanks,
D Ward

Link to this

From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance

Thank you for your email, which has been forwarded to the Department’s FOI
Team for their consideration. A member of the FOI Team will respond to
your email in the next couple of days.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI Coordinator

 

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From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance

UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon D Ward,

Thank you for your email and new request seeking documents held by Finance. Before Finance proceeds to process your request, we would like to further discuss it with you.

Noting we do not have a contact number for you, could you please give us a call on 02 6215 1783?

Kind regards
FOI Officer

FOI Officer, Legal and Assurance Branch
Business Enabling Services
Department of Finance
T: 02 6215 1783 E: [Finance request email]
A: One Canberra Avenue, Forrest ACT 2603

UNCLASSIFIED

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From: D Ward

Delivered

Dear FOI Requests,

Thank you for your email.

My FOI application has been made in good faith and in accordance with the law.

While I’m happy to provide further information or answer any queries you may have by way of email correspondence, there is nothing in the FOI ACT that obliges me to communicate with you about my request by way of a telephone call.

Further, there is nothing in the FOI Act that empowers the Department to refuse to process my request until I contact the Department by way of telephone call (noting that my request is straightforward and wholly complies with the requirements of section 15 of the FOI Act).

As mentioned in my request, it is a strictly factual matter as to whether the Department of Finance holds documents within the terms of my request – either the Department holds documents within the terms of my request, or it doesn’t.

As previously mentioned, I am happy to provide further information (either on request, in response to a notice given pursuant to subsection 29(1) of the FOI Act, or in response to a notice given under section 24AB of the FOI Act) that goes to the wide public interest in the documents the subject of my request including by reference to Mr Pell’s character, Mr Pell’s relationship with the Liberal Party and certain high profile members of the Government, and Mr Pell’s relationship and financial arrangements with far right wing and Liberal party aligned political lobby group, the Institute of Public Affairs.

I again remind Departmental staff of their legal obligations under the Public Service Act 1999 - in particular, the obligation to be accountable, apolitical and impartial, to behave honestly and with integrity, and the obligation to comply with all applicable Australian laws.

Yours sincerely,

D Ward

Link to this

From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance

Thank you for your email, which has been forwarded to the Department’s FOI
Team for their consideration. A member of the FOI Team will respond to
your email in the next couple of days.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI Coordinator

 

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: FOI Requests
Department of Finance


Attachment image001.jpg
21K Download


UNCLASSIFIED

Dear D Ward

 

Freedom of Information Request – FOI 19/13

I refer to your email to Finance, seeking access to:

 

… documents *held by the Department of Finance* [your emphasis] which
concern any expenses incurred/claimed by the former Attorney-General
associated with his meeting with Mr George Pell. Such documents may
include relevant restaurant receipts, taxi receipts and credit card
statements

 

Responsibilities of Finance

I note that in your request, you provide context regarding Finance’s
responsibilities for Parliamentarians’ responsibilities. On 1 July 2017,
the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA) was established as
a Commonwealth statutory authority. IPEA’s functions include:

 

·         Giving advice to parliamentarians and MOP(S) Act staff about
travel expenses and travel allowances;

·         Monitoring the travel expenses and travel allowances of
parliamentarian and MOP(S) Act staff;

·         Preparing regular reports relating to:

o    all work expenses, travel expenses and travel allowances claimed by
parliamentarians

o    travel expenses and travel allowances claimed by MOP(S) Act staff;

·         Conducting audits relating to:

o    all work expenses, travel expenses and travel allowances claimed by
parliamentarians

o    travel expenses and travel allowances claimed by MOP(S) Act staff;
and

·         Processing claims relating to travel expenses and travel
allowances of parliamentarians and their staff.

 

These functions are detailed on their website here:
[1]https://www.ipea.gov.au/about-ipea.

 

Under a Machinery of Government change, where functions of an agency
transfer to a new agency or organisation, ownership of information and
records relating to transferred business activities will become the
responsibility of the gaining agency or organisation. As such, documents
(if any) that Finance may have held for the purposes of monitoring or
reporting the expenses/allowances outlined above have since become the
responsibility of IPEA.

 

Way forward

Having regard to the functions of IPEA, as well as documents held or not
held by Finance, can you please confirm if you would like:

1.       Finance to transfer this request to IPEA under section 16 of the
FOI Act; or

2.       To withdraw your request from Finance and lodge a new request
directly with IPEA; or

3.       Finance to proceed to make a formal decision under the FOI Act,
noting that it is unlikely that Finance will hold any documents in scope
of your request.

 

Could you please advise us, by COB 24 January 2019, on how you wish
Finance to proceed with your request.

 

Kind regards

FOI Officer

 

[2]cid:image001.jpg@01D20F6A.7457D930

 

FOI Officer, Legal and Assurance Branch

Business Enabling Services

Department of Finance

T: 02 6215 1783 E: [3][Finance request email]

A: One Canberra Avenue, Forrest ACT 2603

UNCLASSIFIED

 

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References

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1. https://www.ipea.gov.au/about-ipea
3. mailto:[Finance request email]

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