Hiding the names of APS employees terminated for gross misconduct - why the difference in standards?

Verity Pane made this Freedom of Information request to Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

The request was partially successful.

From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear Office of the Australian Information Commissioner,

On 5th May 2017, disgraced former Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd, who resigned due to ethical concerns regarding his relationship with the Institute of Public Affairs, resulting in prominent Labor Senator Penny Wong telling Mr Lloyd that “I think you are unfit to hold this office” previously contacted the Information Commissioner in May 2017, seeking his support and assistance to stop the practice of publishing in the Australian Public Service Gazette the names of APS employees who had been terminated gross misconduct.

Under FOI I seek copy of all documents created by the OAIC that relate to the OAICs views on the publication of the names of public servants/APS employees in the Australian Public Service Gazette, whether about hiding the names of disgraced public servants or otherwise.

In particular, I would be interested in any document contrasting the OAIC’s opinion here, with the previous opinions of the Commissioner that the disclosure by Minister’s and public sector agencies of the criminal history of private individuals is permissible under authorisation of the Public Service Act to inform and advise and to ‘correct the record’.

Is there any reason the OAIC has different standards based on whether an individual is a private citizen or a public servant and why does the OAIC consider a higher standard of protection of privacy should be accorded to public employees?

Yours faithfully,

Verity Pane

Link to this

From: Megan McKenna
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner


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Our reference: FOIREQ18/00156

Dear Ms Pane

Freedom of Information request

I refer to your request for access to documents made under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 (Cth) (the FOI Act) and received by the Office of the
Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) on 17 October 2018.

Scope of your request

In your email you seek access to the following:

Under FOI I seek copy of all documents created by the OAIC that relate to
the OAICs views on the publication of the names of public servants/APS
employees in the Australian Public Service Gazette, whether about hiding
the names of disgraced public servants or otherwise.

 

In particular, I would be interested in any document contrasting the
OAIC’s opinion here, with the previous opinions of the Commissioner that
the disclosure by Minister’s and public sector agencies of the criminal
history of private individuals is permissible under authorisation of the
Public Service Act to inform and advise and to ‘correct the record’.

 

In order to process your request as efficiently as possible, I will
exclude duplicates and early parts of email streams that are captured in
later email streams from the scope of this request, unless you advise me
otherwise.

Timeframes for dealing with your request

Section 15 of the FOI Act requires this office to process your request no
later than 30 days after the day we receive it. However, section 15(6) of
the FOI Act allows us a further 30 days in situations where we need to
consult with third parties about certain information, such as business
documents or documents affecting their personal privacy.

As we received your request on 17 October 2018, we must process your
request by 16 November 2018.

Disclosure Log

Documents released under the FOI Act may be published online on our
disclosure log, unless they contain personal or business information that
would be unreasonable to publish.

If you would like to discuss this matter please contact me on my contact
details set out below.

Regards

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01D4453F.0FED8EB0   Megan McKenna |  Paralegal

Legal Services

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001  |  [2]oaic.gov.au

+61 2 8231 4292  |  [3][email address]
[8]Subscribe
[4]cid:image002.png@01D4453F.0FED8EB0 | [5]cid:image003.png@01D4453F.0FED8EB0 | [6]cid:image004.png@01D4453F.0FED8EB0 |   [7]cid:image005.png@01D4453F.0FED8EB0 to OAICnet
newsletter

 

 

show quoted sections

References

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Link to this

From: Megan McKenna
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner


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Attachment FOIREQ1800156 decision on access.pdf
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Attachment FOIREQ1800156 documents for release.pdf
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Dear Ms Pane

 

Please find attached the decision and documents in relation to your FOI
request, FOIREQ18/00156.

 

Regards

 

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01D4453F.0FED8EB0   Megan McKenna |  FOI Officer

Legal Services

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001  |  [2]oaic.gov.au

+61 2 8231 4292  |  [3][email address]
[8]Subscribe
[4]cid:image002.png@01D4453F.0FED8EB0 | [5]cid:image003.png@01D4453F.0FED8EB0 | [6]cid:image004.png@01D4453F.0FED8EB0 |   [7]cid:image005.png@01D4453F.0FED8EB0 to OAICnet
newsletter

 

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. https://www.oaic.gov.au/
2. http://www.oaic.gov.au/
3. mailto:[email address]
4. http://www.facebook.com/OAICgov
5. https://www.linkedin.com/company/office-...
6. https://twitter.com/OAICgov
8. https://www.oaic.gov.au/media-and-speech...

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From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear Megan McKenna,

No IR requested, but just a point of housekeeping. The document schedule states each document is released in full, which is incorrect - you can’t redact a document (as these were) and simultaneously state they were ‘released in full’ as obviously they have been partially released.

However, it is enough for my purposes that the disclosed material confirms that public servants at the OAIC agreed and supported the now disgraced former Commissioner John Lloyd, who the recent Merit Protection Commissioner report found had breached the APS Code of Conduct by failing to uphold his agency's good reputation and that Mr Lloyd did not fulfil public service values requiring bureaucrats to act in a way that models and promotes the highest standard of ethical behaviour (something he is not alone on of late), by repeatedly communicating sensitive information to other third parties he had previously been involved with (among other unethical things).

I guess it’s fair to say he had quite the vested interest in the matter as well.

Two different standards depending on who you work for, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.

Sincerely,

Ms Pane

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