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Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal - seeking documents substantiating an assistant secretary's advice to a Minister

Trav S made this Freedom of Information request to Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

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From: Trav S

Delivered

Dear PM&C,

On 26 September 2013 the then Assistant Secretary of PM&C's Honours, Symbols and Territories Branch produced document reference B13/1718 titled "Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal Iraq - eligibility of a commercial contractor".

In this document the Assistant Secretary states to the Minister for Honours Policy that:

"we would expect strong criticism from existing medal holders and others of a decision to extend eligibility for the medal beyond the original purpose, which is to recognise not-for-profit humanitarian service".

1. We seek a copy of the documents substantiating the Secretary's assertion that the Department "would expect strong criticism from existing medal holders".

2. We seek a copy of the document identifying the stakeholders the Secretary refers to as 'others'.

The Sovereign has ultimate authority for the Australian Honours and Awards System and the Sovereign instituted the medal in 1999 for the purposes of:

"according recognition to persons who have given humanitarian service in hazardous circumstances outside Australia".

The Prime Minister reaffirmed the medal's original purpose again in 2011 via a Commonwealth of Australia Special Gazette in which he states the medal was instituted for the purposes of:

"according recognition to persons who have given humanitarian service in hazardous circumstances outside Australia".

3. We seek a copy of the document evidencing the Secretary's assertion that the medal's original purpose was to recognise not-for-profit humanitarian service.

Thanks for your time.

Yours faithfully,

Trav S

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From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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OFFICIAL

 

FOI/2020/208

 

Dear Trav S

 

Thank you for your email dated 7 September 2020, received by the
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (the Department), in which
you made a request to the Department under the Freedom of Information Act
1982 (the FOI Act) in the following terms:

 

On 26 September 2013 the then Assistant Secretary of PM&C's Honours,
Symbols and Territories Branch produced document reference B13/1718 titled
"Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal Iraq - eligibility of a commercial
contractor".

 

In this document the Assistant Secretary states to the Minister for
Honours Policy that:

 

"we would expect strong criticism from existing medal holders and others
of a decision to extend eligibility for the medal beyond the original
purpose, which is to recognise not-for-profit humanitarian service". 

 

1.  We seek a copy of the documents substantiating the Secretary's
assertion that the Department "would expect strong criticism from existing
medal holders".

 

2.  We seek a copy of the document identifying the stakeholders the
Secretary refers to as 'others'.

 

The Sovereign has ultimate authority for the Australian Honours and Awards
System and the Sovereign instituted the medal in 1999 for the purposes of:

 

"according recognition to persons who have given humanitarian service in
hazardous circumstances outside Australia".

 

The Prime Minister reaffirmed the medal's original purpose again in 2011
via a Commonwealth of Australia Special Gazette in which he states the
medal was instituted for the purposes of:

 

"according recognition to persons who have given humanitarian service in
hazardous circumstances outside Australia".

 

3.  We seek a copy of the document evidencing the Secretary's assertion
that the medal's original purpose was to recognise not-for-profit
humanitarian service.

 

Timeframe for receiving your decision

 

Your request was received on 7 September 2020 and the 30 day statutory
period for processing your request commenced from the day after that date.
You should therefore expect a decision from us by 7 October 2020. The
period of 30 days may be extended in certain circumstances. We will advise
you if there is any extension of time.

 

Charges

 

Agencies may decide that an applicant is liable to pay a charge in respect
of a request for access to documents. If the Department decides that you
are liable to pay a charge, we will send you a preliminary assessment of
the charge as soon as possible.

 

Publication of documents

 

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may later be
published online on our disclosure log at
[1]https://www.pmc.gov.au/government/depart...,
subject to certain exceptions. If you think you might wish to raise any
objections to the publication of any of the information which may be
released to you please contact us by email at [2][DPMC request email].  If you
do wish to object to the publication of information, you would need to
provide supporting reasons.

 

Exclusion of officers’ names and contact details

 

For documents that fall within scope of the request, it is the
Department’s policy to withhold:

·         any person’s signature;

·         the names and contact details of Australian Public Service
officers not in the Senior Executive Service (SES);

·         the mobile or direct numbers of SES officers;

·         the names and contact details of Ministerial staff at a level
below Chief of Staff.

 

The names and other details of SES officers will not be withheld unless
there is some reason for that information to be exempt from release. If
you require signatures, the names and contact details of non-SES officers
or Ministerial staff below the level of Chief of Staff, or the mobile or
direct numbers of SES officers please let us know at [3][DPMC request email] so
the decision-maker may consider; otherwise we will take it that you agree
to that information being excluded from the scope of your request (that
is, the information will be treated as irrelevant and redacted from any
documents for release).

 

We will write again when the Department has more information.  Further
information on FOI processing can be found at the website of the Office of
the Australian Information Commissioner
[4]https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor....

 

Sincerely

 

FOI Adviser

FOI and Privacy | Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. (02) 6271 5849

e. [5][DPMC request email] | w. [6]www.pmc.gov.au

One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

 

[7]cid:image001.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[8]cid:image002.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[9]cid:image003.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00 [10]cid:image004.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

The Department acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country
throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, waters and
community. We pay our respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both
past and present.

 

 

 

 

 

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