Magic Mushrooms Spiritual Healing Ceremonies

Stuart McCarthy made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Veterans' Affairs

The request was successful.

From: Stuart McCarthy

Delivered

Dear Department of Veterans' Affairs,

On 27 February 2020, the Ex-Service Organisations Round Table (ESORT) received a briefing on magic mushrooms spiritual healing ceremonies from opera singer Tania de Jong. The presentation was approved by DVA Secretary Liz Cosson.[1]

Tania de Jong is a Director of Mind Medicine Australia (MMA), which describes itself as "a charity that enables the development of regulatory-approved and research-backed psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of mental ill-health in Australia." Other MMA directors include investment banker Peter Hunt, and Open Arms National Advisory Committee (NAC) chair Jane Burns.[2]

On 12 December 2019 and in late January 2020, Jane Burns met with the Federal Treasurer, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Health, to lobby for veterans mental health-related project funding, in return for opposing the Royal Commission into Veteran Suicides.

In accordance with the FOI Act, I hereby request to be provided with the following documents:

1) The MMA presentation to ESORT on or around 27 February 2020.

2) All correspondence between MMA representatives (including directors Peter Hunt, Tania de Jong and Jane Burns) and DVA officials (including but not limited to Liz Cosson and Stephanie Hodson) relating to the use of psychedelic substances for the "treatment" of mental health conditions, from 1 July 2019 to 1 March 2020.

Yours faithfully,

Stuart McCarthy

References:

1. Defence Force Welfare Association, National E-news, March 2020, https://www.vision6.com.au/em/message/em... Number Automatically Hidden]&a=84366&k=JLdj4688Y6RM7YW-Op-1sEPwbo6JnTGs6WIuvmaLjAU

2. Mind Medicine Australia website https://mindmedicineaustralia.org/board/

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


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Dear Mr McCarthy

 

Freedom of Information Request: FOI 34806

 

I refer to your request for access to documents held by the Department of
Veterans’ Affairs (Department) under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(FOI Act). Your request was received by the Department on 10 March 2020
and was made in the following terms:

 

“On 27 February 2020, the Ex-Service Organisations Round Table (ESORT)
received a briefing on magic mushrooms spiritual healing ceremonies from
opera singer Tania de Jong. The presentation was approved by DVA Secretary
Liz Cosson.[1]

 

Tania de Jong is a Director of Mind Medicine Australia (MMA), which
describes itself as "a charity that enables the development of
regulatory-approved and research-backed psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy
for the treatment of mental ill-health in Australia." Other MMA directors
include investment banker Peter Hunt, and Open Arms National Advisory
Committee (NAC) chair Jane Burns.[2]

 

On 12 December 2019 and in late January 2020, Jane Burns met with the
Federal Treasurer, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Health, to
lobby for veterans mental health-related project funding, in return for
opposing the Royal Commission into Veteran Suicides.

 

In accordance with the FOI Act, I hereby request to be provided with the
following documents:

 

1) The MMA presentation to ESORT on or around 27 February 2020.

 

2) All correspondence between MMA representatives (including directors
Peter Hunt, Tania de Jong and Jane Burns) and DVA officials (including but
not limited to Liz Cosson and Stephanie Hodson) relating to the use of
psychedelic substances for the "treatment" of mental health conditions,
from 1 July 2019 to 1 March 2020.”

 

In accordance with section 15(5)(b) of the FOI Act, the due date for a
decision on your request is 9 April 2020.

 

When the processing period may be extended or suspended

 

The current due date may be extended by up to 30 days if agreed by you
(section 15AA of the FOI Act). Also, the due date may be extended by an
additional 30 days in each instance, if your request is considered
voluminous or complex (section 15AB of the FOI Act) or if the Department
is required to undertake a third party consultation (sections 26A, 27 or
27A of the FOI Act). If any of these extensions apply, the Department will
notify you.

 

Additionally, there are occasions where the time to process your request
may be suspended. This will usually take place if a practical refusal
consultation process takes place (section 24AB of the FOI Act) or if a
charges notice is issued to process your request (section 29 of the FOI
Act). If the Department decides that either of these apply to your
request, the Department will notify you.

 

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 at [1]https://www.oaic.gov.au/.

 

Publication of documents

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may later be
published online on our disclosure log at
[2]https://www.dva.gov.au/about-us/overview...
subject to certain exceptions, such as if the documents relate to your own
personal information. The Department will advise you in its decision
whether details of your request will be published on the disclosure log or
not.

Contacting us about your request

 

We will contact you using the email address you have provided. Please
advise if you would prefer us to use an alternative means of contact.

 

If you have any questions, please contact me using the following details:

 

Post:                      Information Law Section, Legal Services & Audit
Branch

GPO Box 9998 CANBERRA ACT 2601

Facsimile:            (02) 6289 6337

Email:                   [3][email address]

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Molly (Position Number 62213164)

Legal Officer

Information Law Section

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

T: 1800 555 254 | E: [4][email address] | W: [5]www.dva.gov.au

 

[6]cid:image001.png@01D5C62C.B098EB10

P Please consider the environment before printing this email

 

 

 

 

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


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Dear Mr McCarthy

 

I refer to your request for access to documents held by the Department of
Veterans’ Affairs (Department) under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(FOI Act). Details of your request are noted in the below email.

Interrupted work practices impacted by COVID-19

The Department is continuing to work through its FOI case load as quickly
as possible. However, the Department is and will continue to experience an
interruption in the way it will be able to manage FOI requests.

As you are likely to be aware, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has been declared a
pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

As the Department focuses its efforts on managing the impact of COVID-19
on its critical services and employees, other non-critical services may
not be delivered within expected timeframes. It is possible that during
this time, business areas that would ordinarily have capacity to undertake
searches and assist in the processing of FOI requests may not be readily
available to provide that assistance. This may have an impact on the
manner and timeframe in which the Department can process FOI requests.

We apologise for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience during
this period.

Request for an extension of time

To help ensure the Department can manage its FOI functions during this
time, we will require additional time to process your FOI request.

The Department seeks your agreement under section 15AA of the FOI Act to
extend the timeframe for the processing of your request by 30 days. This
would extend the due date for your request to 11 May 2020.

It would assist the Department in managing its FOI caseload if you could
provide a response to this request by close of business, Friday, 3 April
2020.

If agreed, the Department is required to provide your name and contact
details to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)
for its records.

Please note that if you do not agree to the extension of time and the
Department is of the view that additional time is still required, we may
need to seek an extension of time from the OAIC under:

·         section 15AB of the FOI Act (due to it being complex or
voluminous), or

·         section 15AC (where the Department has been unable to meet the
statutory timeframe to finalise your request).

We will advise you if we intend to or have sought any extensions of time
from the OAIC.

If you wish to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to
contact us through the details below.

 

Thank you for your time.

 

Kind regards,

 

Molly (Position Number 62213164)

Legal Officer

Information Law Section

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

T: 1800 555 254 | E: [1][email address] | W: [2]www.dva.gov.au

 

 

From: INFORMATION.LAW
Sent: Wednesday, 11 March 2020 4:30 PM
To: '[FOI #6208 email]'
Cc: INFORMATION.LAW
Subject: Your Freedom of Information Request - FOI 34806 [SEC=OFFICIAL]

 

Dear Mr McCarthy

 

Freedom of Information Request: FOI 34806

 

I refer to your request for access to documents held by the Department of
Veterans’ Affairs (Department) under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(FOI Act). Your request was received by the Department on 10 March 2020
and was made in the following terms:

 

“On 27 February 2020, the Ex-Service Organisations Round Table (ESORT)
received a briefing on magic mushrooms spiritual healing ceremonies from
opera singer Tania de Jong. The presentation was approved by DVA Secretary
Liz Cosson.[1]

 

Tania de Jong is a Director of Mind Medicine Australia (MMA), which
describes itself as "a charity that enables the development of
regulatory-approved and research-backed psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy
for the treatment of mental ill-health in Australia." Other MMA directors
include investment banker Peter Hunt, and Open Arms National Advisory
Committee (NAC) chair Jane Burns.[2]

 

On 12 December 2019 and in late January 2020, Jane Burns met with the
Federal Treasurer, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Health, to
lobby for veterans mental health-related project funding, in return for
opposing the Royal Commission into Veteran Suicides.

 

In accordance with the FOI Act, I hereby request to be provided with the
following documents:

 

1) The MMA presentation to ESORT on or around 27 February 2020.

 

2) All correspondence between MMA representatives (including directors
Peter Hunt, Tania de Jong and Jane Burns) and DVA officials (including but
not limited to Liz Cosson and Stephanie Hodson) relating to the use of
psychedelic substances for the "treatment" of mental health conditions,
from 1 July 2019 to 1 March 2020.”

 

In accordance with section 15(5)(b) of the FOI Act, the due date for a
decision on your request is 9 April 2020.

 

When the processing period may be extended or suspended

 

The current due date may be extended by up to 30 days if agreed by you
(section 15AA of the FOI Act). Also, the due date may be extended by an
additional 30 days in each instance, if your request is considered
voluminous or complex (section 15AB of the FOI Act) or if the Department
is required to undertake a third party consultation (sections 26A, 27 or
27A of the FOI Act). If any of these extensions apply, the Department will
notify you.

 

Additionally, there are occasions where the time to process your request
may be suspended. This will usually take place if a practical refusal
consultation process takes place (section 24AB of the FOI Act) or if a
charges notice is issued to process your request (section 29 of the FOI
Act). If the Department decides that either of these apply to your
request, the Department will notify you.

 

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 at [3]https://www.oaic.gov.au/.

 

Publication of documents

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may later be
published online on our disclosure log at
[4]https://www.dva.gov.au/about-us/overview...
subject to certain exceptions, such as if the documents relate to your own
personal information. The Department will advise you in its decision
whether details of your request will be published on the disclosure log or
not.

Contacting us about your request

 

We will contact you using the email address you have provided. Please
advise if you would prefer us to use an alternative means of contact.

 

If you have any questions, please contact me using the following details:

 

Post: Information Law Section, Legal Services & Audit Branch

GPO Box 9998 CANBERRA ACT 2601

Facsimile: (02) 6289 6337

Email: [5][email address]

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Molly (Position Number 62213164)

Legal Officer

Information Law Section

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

T: 1800 555 254 | E: [6][email address] | W: [7]www.dva.gov.au

 

[8]cid:image001.png@01D5C62C.B098EB10

P Please consider the environment before printing this email

 

 

 

 

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From: Carl English


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Our reference: RQ20/01422

Agency reference: FOI 34806

Mr Stuart McCarthy

 

Sent by email: [FOI #6208 email]

Extension of time under s 15AB

Dear Mr McCarthy

Please find correspondence in relation to your FOI request to the
Department of Veterans' Affairs attached.

Kind regards

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01D446AF.83C3DEE0   Carl English  | Review Adviser (Legal)

Freedom of Information Dispute
Resolution

Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner

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

+61 2 9284 9745  | 
[3][email address]
[4]cid:image002.png@01D446AF.83C3DEE0 | [5]cid:image003.png@01D446AF.83C3DEE0 | [6]cid:image004.png@01D446AF.83C3DEE0 |   [7]cid:image005.png@01D446AF.83C3DEE0  

 

 

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


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Dear Mr McCarthy

 

I refer to your below Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

 

Consultation with third party regarding business documents

As your request covers documents which concern the personal information
and business affairs of third parties, the Department is required to
consult with the third party under section 27 and section 27A of the FOI
Act. The Department is required to consider the views of the third parties
before releasing any documents under the FOI Act.

 

For this reason, in accordance with section 15(6) of the FOI Act, the
period for processing your request has been extended by 30 days to allow
for this third party consultation. This means a decision on your request
will now be due by 8 June 2020.

 

The consultation mechanism under section 27 and section 27A of the FOI Act
applies when we believe the individuals and organisation concerned may
wish to contend that the requested documents are exempt because their
release would disclose personal information or trade secrets or
commercially valuable information or may adversely affect their business
or financial affairs. We will take into account any comments we receive
from the organisation but the final decision about whether to grant you
access to the documents you requested rests with the Department.

 

Further information

More information about FOI and relevant exemptions is available on the
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s website at
[1]https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor... .

 

Kind regards,

 

Molly (Position Number 62213164)

Legal Officer

Information Law Section

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

T: 1800 555 254 | E: [2][email address] | W: [3]www.dva.gov.au

 

[4]cid:image001.jpg@01D61FC3.29AC9BB0

[5]cid:image001.png@01D0027A.1DAB84F0h

P Please consider the environment before printing this email

[6]cid:image001.png@01D32593.9CC39540The Department acknowledges the
Traditional Owners of the land throughout Australia and their continuing
connection to country, sea and community. We pay our respect to all
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their cultures and to their
elders past and present.

 

 

From: INFORMATION.LAW
Sent: Tuesday, 31 March 2020 3:58 PM
To: '[FOI #6208 email]'
Cc: INFORMATION.LAW
Subject: RE: Your Freedom of Information Request - FOI 34806
[SEC=OFFICIAL]

 

Dear Mr McCarthy

 

I refer to your request for access to documents held by the Department of
Veterans’ Affairs (Department) under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(FOI Act). Details of your request are noted in the below email.

Interrupted work practices impacted by COVID-19

The Department is continuing to work through its FOI case load as quickly
as possible. However, the Department is and will continue to experience an
interruption in the way it will be able to manage FOI requests.

As you are likely to be aware, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has been declared a
pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

As the Department focuses its efforts on managing the impact of COVID-19
on its critical services and employees, other non-critical services may
not be delivered within expected timeframes. It is possible that during
this time, business areas that would ordinarily have capacity to undertake
searches and assist in the processing of FOI requests may not be readily
available to provide that assistance. This may have an impact on the
manner and timeframe in which the Department can process FOI requests.

We apologise for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience during
this period.

Request for an extension of time

To help ensure the Department can manage its FOI functions during this
time, we will require additional time to process your FOI request.

The Department seeks your agreement under section 15AA of the FOI Act to
extend the timeframe for the processing of your request by 30 days. This
would extend the due date for your request to 11 May 2020.

It would assist the Department in managing its FOI caseload if you could
provide a response to this request by close of business, Friday, 3 April
2020.

If agreed, the Department is required to provide your name and contact
details to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)
for its records.

Please note that if you do not agree to the extension of time and the
Department is of the view that additional time is still required, we may
need to seek an extension of time from the OAIC under:

·         section 15AB of the FOI Act (due to it being complex or
voluminous), or

·         section 15AC (where the Department has been unable to meet the
statutory timeframe to finalise your request).

We will advise you if we intend to or have sought any extensions of time
from the OAIC.

If you wish to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to
contact us through the details below.

 

Thank you for your time.

 

Kind regards,

 

Molly (Position Number 62213164)

Legal Officer

Information Law Section

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

T: 1800 555 254 | E: [7][email address] | W: [8]www.dva.gov.au

 

 

From: INFORMATION.LAW
Sent: Wednesday, 11 March 2020 4:30 PM
To: '[FOI #6208 email]'
Cc: INFORMATION.LAW
Subject: Your Freedom of Information Request - FOI 34806 [SEC=OFFICIAL]

 

Dear Mr McCarthy

 

Freedom of Information Request: FOI 34806

 

I refer to your request for access to documents held by the Department of
Veterans’ Affairs (Department) under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(FOI Act). Your request was received by the Department on 10 March 2020
and was made in the following terms:

 

“On 27 February 2020, the Ex-Service Organisations Round Table (ESORT)
received a briefing on magic mushrooms spiritual healing ceremonies from
opera singer Tania de Jong. The presentation was approved by DVA Secretary
Liz Cosson.[1]

 

Tania de Jong is a Director of Mind Medicine Australia (MMA), which
describes itself as "a charity that enables the development of
regulatory-approved and research-backed psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy
for the treatment of mental ill-health in Australia." Other MMA directors
include investment banker Peter Hunt, and Open Arms National Advisory
Committee (NAC) chair Jane Burns.[2]

 

On 12 December 2019 and in late January 2020, Jane Burns met with the
Federal Treasurer, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Health, to
lobby for veterans mental health-related project funding, in return for
opposing the Royal Commission into Veteran Suicides.

 

In accordance with the FOI Act, I hereby request to be provided with the
following documents:

 

1) The MMA presentation to ESORT on or around 27 February 2020.

 

2) All correspondence between MMA representatives (including directors
Peter Hunt, Tania de Jong and Jane Burns) and DVA officials (including but
not limited to Liz Cosson and Stephanie Hodson) relating to the use of
psychedelic substances for the "treatment" of mental health conditions,
from 1 July 2019 to 1 March 2020.”

 

In accordance with section 15(5)(b) of the FOI Act, the due date for a
decision on your request is 9 April 2020.

 

When the processing period may be extended or suspended

 

The current due date may be extended by up to 30 days if agreed by you
(section 15AA of the FOI Act). Also, the due date may be extended by an
additional 30 days in each instance, if your request is considered
voluminous or complex (section 15AB of the FOI Act) or if the Department
is required to undertake a third party consultation (sections 26A, 27 or
27A of the FOI Act). If any of these extensions apply, the Department will
notify you.

 

Additionally, there are occasions where the time to process your request
may be suspended. This will usually take place if a practical refusal
consultation process takes place (section 24AB of the FOI Act) or if a
charges notice is issued to process your request (section 29 of the FOI
Act). If the Department decides that either of these apply to your
request, the Department will notify you.

 

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 at [9]https://www.oaic.gov.au/.

 

Publication of documents

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may later be
published online on our disclosure log at
[10]https://www.dva.gov.au/about-us/overview...
subject to certain exceptions, such as if the documents relate to your own
personal information. The Department will advise you in its decision
whether details of your request will be published on the disclosure log or
not.

Contacting us about your request

 

We will contact you using the email address you have provided. Please
advise if you would prefer us to use an alternative means of contact.

 

If you have any questions, please contact me using the following details:

 

Post: Information Law Section, Legal Services & Audit Branch

GPO Box 9998 CANBERRA ACT 2601

Facsimile: (02) 6289 6337

Email: [11][email address]

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Molly (Position Number 62213164)

Legal Officer

Information Law Section

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

T: 1800 555 254 | E: [12][email address] | W:
[13]www.dva.gov.au

 

[14]cid:image001.png@01D5C62C.B098EB10

P Please consider the environment before printing this email

 

 

 

 

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


Attachment Document Bundle FOI 34806.pdf
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Attachment McCarthy Decision 10.06.2020.pdf
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Dear Mr McCarthy,

 

Please see the attached decision letter and document bundle.

 

We apologise that due to an administrative error, our response is overdue.

 

Kind regards,

 

Jack (Position Number 62212813)

Legal Officer

Information Law Section

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

E: [1][email address]

 

 

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