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Gift Registry - last 3 years

Phil Richards made this Freedom of Information request to Airservices Australia

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From: Phil Richards

Delivered

Dear Airservices Australia,

Could you please supply the following documents under the FOI Act.

Documents relating to gift declarations by Airservices Australia executive and staff for the last three years?

Yours faithfully,

Phil Richards

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From: Legal
Airservices Australia


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Dear Mr Richards

 

I am writing to you in regards to the FOI request you made on 24 July 2019
where you sought:

 

“Documents relating to gift declarations by Airservices Australia
executive and staff for the last three years?”

 

Could you please confirm whether you consider the following information as
relevant to your request:

          I.            Airservices employee details (names, positions,
signatures, location of work and contact details); and

        II.            any information that identifies third parties.

 

If you consider Airservices employee details as relevant we may have to
request for an extension time in order to consult with the relevant
employees to ensure that there isn’t any “special circumstances” which
would exempt this information.

 

If you consider any information that identifies third parties as relevant
to your request section 15 (6) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(Cth) will extend the period for processing your request by 30 days to
enable Airservices to undertake third party consultation.

 

Would you please confirm whether you consider the above information as
irrelevant to your request?

 

Kind regards

 

 

FOI Coordinator

Office of General Counsel

Airservices Australia

 

[email address]

[1]Website

 

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From: Phil Richards

Delivered

Dear Legal,

Do not require any employee information, but would like to know which third parties have gifted employees and for what.

Yours sincerely,

Phil Richards

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From: Legal
Airservices Australia


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Attachment FOI36 0719 Notice of need to consult third parties.pdf
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Dear Mr Richards

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your Freedom of
Information request.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI Coordinator

Office of General Counsel

Airservices Australia

 

[email address]

[1]Website

 

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From: MBX FOI
Airservices Australia


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Attachment FOI36 0719 Notice of charges.pdf
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Dear Mr Richards

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your Freedom of
Information request FOI36-0719.

 

Kind regards

 

 

Shan Gunawardena

Legal Counsel – FOI and Privacy,

FOI Coodinator & Authorised Decision Maker

Privacy Contact Officer

Legal Services Team

Airservices Australia

 

t 02 6268 4877

e [email address]

 

 

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https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/n...

Scott Morrison orders secret gift registers to be made public after News Corp investigation

Exclusive: Secret registers detailing how senior bureaucrats are wined and dined by big business will be made public after Prime Minister Scott Morrison personally intervened following a News Corp special investigation.

It comes after the federal Health Department went to extraordinary lengths to hide who was showering their top executives and staff with gifts — including a $1000 gift voucher to David Jones, business class flights to overseas conferences, bottles of wine and tickets to sporting events.

The department even cited “international relations” as a reason it couldn’t reveal who was behind the largesse.

News Corp can exclusively reveal just one of the major federal departments was planning to make its gift register public from next year, while 13 other departments were ignoring a recommendation from the Auditor-General that every department should publish its register online.

But the nation’s 150,500 public servants will now be exposed to extra scrutiny after Prime Minister Morrison ordered the head of the public service to direct all departments to publish their registers following inquiries from News Corp.
“I am asking the Australian Public Service Commission Commissioner to look into all departments publishing gifts and benefits to ensure they are in line with community expectations,” Mr Morrison said.

Before the directive, only the Home Affairs mega department was reviewing its policy on a central gift register “with the aim of making this public in 2020”.

All other departments keep gift registers internally but refuse to make them public.
A News Corp special investigation involving Freedom of Information requests for several departments’ registers uncovered a culture of secrecy, particularly in the federal department of Health.
The department initially tried to charge a fee of more than $2300 to disclose the documents under FOI, stating it would take time to consult people who had given gifts.
Several other government departments and regulators disclosed their documents at no cost.
It then heavily redacted the documents detailing gifts, travel and hospitality, which ranged from a $4 coffee to an overseas trip costing up to $13,000.
One of the reasons Health used to justify blanking out the name of every individual, company or group who provided a gift or benefit was that it could negatively impact Australia’s international relations.
Other departments readily disclosed gifts from foreign delegations, and one even reported a gift of an $80 bottle of wine from the Chinese Embassy in Canberra.
The Health department also justified removing companies from the list because naming them could “be detrimental to ongoing and potential business relationships with the department”.
Health only waived the $2343.47 fee after News Corp appealed that it was in the public’s interest to release the documents.
The redacted register reveals one organisation attempted to give Health officials a $1000 David Jones gift voucher as a “thank you”.
The register notes this was considered a conflict of interest and was returned.
Another official was given sponsored travel costing up to $13,000 by an “apolitical research organisation” including business class flights, three nights accommodation and meals to attend a steering committee and make a presentation.
A senior official in the sport branch also declared a $200 ticket to attend a cricket match between the Prime Minister’s XI and South Africa which included dinner from a stakeholder.
Health even redacted the names of groups or individuals who provided small gifts including a $20 umbrella, Christmas cupcakes, wine, chocolates, a cheese knife and board, a scarf and a keep cup.
Mr Morrison’s move to force the departments to publish the registers comes after he flagged a wider public service shake-up to put a stronger focus on delivering for the “quiet Australians”.
It will bring government departments in line with federal MPs, who are already required to report gifts or hospitality on a publicly available interest register.
A Health spokeswoman said the department had a “complete and robust” gifts and benefits policy where “employees must avoid any actual or perceived conflict of interest arising from acceptance of a gift or other benefit”.
Employees must declare all gifts of more than $50 and items more than $100 are recorded on the register.
WHAT GIFTS THEY GOT
* A $400 watch is among the gifts that public servants have accepted in the past two years.
Former bosses of the consumer watchdog are publicly calling for federal departments to make their secret gift registers public or for gifts to be banned entirely.
It comes as a News Corp special investigation into several department’s registers reveals staff have also accepted French champagne, chocolates, wine and stays at luxury resorts.
* Documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws show officials from the Environment and Energy Department accepted tickets to the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and a cocktail reception from oil and gas giant Shell.
* Another staff member received a $400 watch for taking part in the annual Committee for Environmental Protection meeting, which occurs alongside the annual Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings.
* One Environment official also accepted flights and two nights accommodation at a luxury resort on Rottnest Island off the coast of Western Australia, costing $390 to speak at a conservation conference called Island Arks Symposium.
* Other benefits disclosed ranged from $5 fridge magnets and a $10 box of chocolates to sponsored flights from Sydney to Seoul. and four nights accommodation to speak at a conference in Korea, costing $1560, paid for by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.
Treasury’s register, also obtained under FOI, reveals one official also received accommodation, meals and a $66 bottle of gin for speaking at a Deloitte tax symposium.
Industry, Innovation and Science’s register, obtained under FOI, showed officials received gifts and hospitality including a Mont Blanc pen valued up to $450, which was donated to the department’s social club, an $80 bottle of wine given to science centre Questacon by the Chinese Embassy in Canberra for hosting a delegation visit, and tickets for the department Secretary to the Australian Open men’s tennis final in 2018 and 2019.
Treasury, Finance, Health, Education, Environment and Energy, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Defence, Social Services, Industry, Human Services, the Attorney-General’s Department, Communications and Prime Minister and Cabinet all confirmed to News Corp they keep internal gift registers but have no plans to make them public.
The Home Affairs department was the only one which indicated it was planning to make its register public.
Transparency International Australia and two former chairmen of consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, all backed calls for government departments to make their registers public.
“When it comes to departmental staff, who are acting to support and develop policies for the benefit of all Australians, the public has a right to know who is receiving expensive bottles of wine and why, who is receiving watches and other gifts and why is it necessary for them to receive those gifts as part of their normal duties,” Transparency International Australia chief executive Serena Lillywhite told News Corp.
She added it would be one way to boost the public’s current low level of trust and confidence in government.
Former ACCC chairman Allan Fels said: “All registers should be automatically available to the public. It’s pointless to have a register and keep it secret.”
“If having it available discourages gifts, even better.”
Former ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel called for departments to go further and ban all staff from receiving gifts, adding they were never for any other purpose than “ingratiation”.

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