Mark Lee

D Ward made this Freedom of Information request to Fair Work Ombudsman

Fair Work Ombudsman did not have the information requested.

From: D Ward

Delivered

Dear Fair Work Ombudsman,

Former FWO employee Mark Lee is facing a range of corruption allegations relating to his dealings and affiliation with the Liberal Party.

In accordance with its obligations under the Archives Act 1983, the FWO should have retained, and will have access to, the contents of Mr Lee’s FWO issued email account. Under the FOI Act, I seek access to any emails contained in all of Mr Lee’s FWO issued email account (including deleted items) that contain any of the following terms (in the body of an email and/or in the addressee fields of an email): “liberal.org.au”, “ipa.org.au” or “@aph.gov.au”.

Relevant documents can be quickly identified by searching “All Outlook Items” in Mr Wilson’s outlook client for the terms “liberal.org.au”, “ipa.org.au” and “[email address]”

I’m happy to provide further detailed information, including information that is not yet in the public domain, that goes to the public interest in the information the subject of my request upon request or in response to a notice issued under subsection 29(1) of the FOI Act.

Thank you.

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From: FWO - FOI Requests
Fair Work Ombudsman


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For Official Use Only

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

I acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information request received via
email by the Fair Work Ombudsman today.

The reference number for your request is FOI-1052.

We will write to you in due course regarding your request.

 

 

Sandra Rudland | Senior Customer Feedback and Information Access Officer

Fair Work Ombudsman

[1]www.fairwork.gov.au          [2]subscribe to our eNewsletter

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From: FWO - FOI Requests
Fair Work Ombudsman

For Official Use Only

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

I confirm the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has begun considering your FOI
request received via email this morning.

 

Processing Your Request

 

I confirm that you are seeking access to -

 

"any emails contained in all of Mr Mark Lee's FWO-issued email account
(including deleted items) that contain any of the following terms (in the
body of an email and/or in the addressee fields of an email):
“liberal.org.au”, “ipa.org.au” or “@aph.gov.au”.

 

In your email, you refer to "Mr Wilson's outlook client". Please provide
further information regarding this Mr Wilson and what connection, if any,
he may have to the documents you are seeking.

 

I confirm that the FWO will process your request in accordance with the
Freedom of Information Act 1982. We will let you know in due course if you
are liable to pay a charge in respect of this request in accordance with
section 29 of the FOI Act.

 

Contacting FWO in relation to your request

 

If you wish to provide any further information to assist the FWO in
processing your FOI request, please consider contacting me from a private
email address with alternative contact details if you wish to discuss the
matter.

 

Other Matters

 

In your request you assert that there are currently a range of corruption
allegations against a former employee of the FWO relating to matters of a
political nature.

 

There are no such allegations and the FWO rejects the assertion made in
the request.  The FWO is an independent statutory agency and all employees
of the FWO conduct themselves in accordance with APS Values.

 

I can be contacted via [1][FWO request email].

 

Sincerely

 

 

Annabel Kent | Director (a/g) – Customer Feedback and Information Access

Fair Work Ombudsman

 

GPO Box 9880 Melbourne VIC 3001 | 414 Latrobe Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

[2]www.fairwork.gov.au

 

This email is sent by the Fair Work Ombudsman (ABN 43 884 188 232).
The information contained in this email message and any attachments may be
confidential information and may also be the subject of client legal -
legal professional privilege. If you are not the intended recipient, any
use, interference with, disclosure or copying of this material is
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This email and any attachments are also subject to copyright. No part of
them may be reproduced, adapted or transmitted without the written
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If you have received this email in error, please immediately:
(1) notify the Fair Work Ombudsman by calling 13 13 94;
(2) notify the sender by return email;
(3) delete the message and any attachments from your system;
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(5) do not disclose or use any of the information contained in the message
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This notice should not be removed from this email message.
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From: D Ward

Delivered

Dear Ms Kent

Thank you for your email. In reply, I offer the following.

(1) The reference to “Mr Wilson’s outlook client” contained in my request was a typographical error for which I apologise. That reference should read “Mr Lee’s outlook client”.

(2) I note your statement, made as a delegate of, and on behalf of, the Fair Work Ombudsman, Ms Sandra Parker, that “[t]here are no such [corruption] allegations [made in respect of Mark Lee’s conduct] and the FWO rejects the assertion made in the request. The FWO is an independent statutory agency and all employees of the FWO conduct themselves in accordance with the APS Values.”

(3) On Monday 18 February 2019, Michaelia Cash’s former chief of staff, Ben Davies, told the Federal Court, under oath, that Mark Lee, the former FWO employee the subject of my request, had disclosed to him that a warrant to raid the AWU’s headquarters was to be executed (see: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-ne... ).

(4) If that testimony is correct, former FWO employee, Mr Lee, committed a serious criminal offence pursuant to s.122.4 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 and in the course of doing so, Mr Lee must have contravened the APS Code of Conduct/APS values (see ss. 10(2), 10(4), 10(5), 13(1), 13(4), 13(6), 13(7), 13(8), 13(10) and 13(11) of the Public Service Act 1999) . Such actions, on any objective assessment, amount to corruption within the ordinary meaning of that term.

(5) However, the FWO’s statement that “all employees of the FWO conduct themselves in accordance with the APS Values” implicitly asserts that Mr Davies’ testimony before the Federal Court was false, and therefore Ms Sandra Parker has effectively asserted that the former chief of staff to a Minister of the Crown has committed the serious criminal offence of perjury. That is a particularly bold assertion for an independent statutory officer to make (noting that Ms Parker is also subject to the application of the Public Service Act 1999).

(6) Among other things, my request concerns documents (to the extent they exist) that will disclose communications, made using Commonwealth resources, between an FWO employee and far right wing, Liberal party aligned, political lobby group, the Institute of Public Affairs (the IPA). Among the range of activities the IPA engages in, it is notable that the IPA appears to have engaged in financing a child rapist (see: https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/7413/su....

(7) Noting Ms Sandra Parker’s claim mentioned in your email that “all employees of the FWO conduct themselves in accordance with the APS Values” it seems to be the pre-emptive view of the FWO, that public servants who use Commonwealth resources to communicate with political lobby groups – be it the IPA, GetUp!, the Socialist Alliance or the United Patriots Front, do so in compliance with the requirements of the Public Service Act 1999. That is a particularly bold assertion from a senior independent statutory officer holder who is subject to the Public Service Act 1999 and one which effectively grants FWO public servants a wide discretion to engage in partisan political activity while at work. While the FWO’s liberal interpretation and application of the Public Service Act 1999 is refreshingly candid, I am not sure that the FWO’s views on these matters concur with the preponderance of others who are subject to the requirements of the Public Service Act 1999 (including Departmental Secretaries, rank and file public servants, the Public Service Commissioner, the Merit Protection Commissioner and independent statutory office holders other than Ms Parker). Accordingly, there is considerable public interest in the documents the subject of my request (including for the purpose of s.29(5)(b) of the FOI Act), not least because the disclosure of those documents will enable Ms Parker’s preferred interpretation of the Public Service Act 1999 to be independently assessed including for the purpose of determining whether Mr Lee has engaged in illegal conduct under the Public Service Act 1999. Any failure to comply with the obligations set out by the Public Service Act 1999 constitutes corruption within the ordinary meaning of that term.

(8) Similarly, the documents the subject of my request will disclose communications (to the extent such documents exist), made using Commonwealth resources, between an FWO employee and the Liberal Party of Australia and between an FWO employee and the office of a Minister of the Crown. Certainly, there will be instances where a person subject to the operation of the Public Service Act 1999 will, in the course of carrying out their functions and duties, need to use Commonwealth resources to communicate with a political party and/or a Minister of the Crown. But where such communications take place other than in the course of a public servant’s functions and duties, there must be serious questions to be asked regarding whether that person has acted in a manner that contravenes the Public Service Act 1999.

(9) Again, noting Ms Sandra Parker’s claim mentioned in your email that “all employees of the FWO conduct themselves in accordance with the APS Values”, it seems to be the pre-emptive view of the FWO, that public servants who use Commonwealth resources to communicate with politicians/political parties (be it the Liberal Party, the Greens, the Labor Party etc) for reasons unrelated to their normal functions and duties, do so in compliance with their legal obligations set out under the Public Service Act 1999. I don’t think that’s an interpretation of the Public Service Act 1999 that would be shared by the preponderance of persons who are subject to the operation of that Act. Accordingly, there is considerable public interest in the documents the subject of my request (including for the purpose of s.29(5)(b) of the FOI Act), not least because the disclosure of the documents the subject of my request will enable Ms Parker’s preferred interpretation of the Public Service Act 1999 to be independently assessed including for the purpose of determining whether Mr Lee has engaged in illegal conduct under the Public Service Act 1999. Any failure to comply with the obligations set out by the Public Service Act 1999 constitutes corruption within the ordinary meaning of that term.

Regards
D Ward

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From: D Ward

Delivered

Dear FWO - FOI Requests,

Noting the application of paragraph 15(5)(b) of the FOI Act and subsection 13(4) of the Public Service Act 1999, is there a reason why a decision has not been made in respect of my FOI request?

Yours sincerely,

D Ward

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From: FWO - FOI Requests
Fair Work Ombudsman

For Official Use Only
Dear Mr/Ms Ward

I refer to your below email.

The answer to your question is yes. A detailed letter to you has been prepared which outlines the results of the detailed searches undertaken in response to your request.

I expect the FWO will be in a position to send the letter to you by close of business tomorrow at the latest.

Thank you for your patience.

Sincerely

Annabel Kent | Director (a/g) – Customer Feedback and Information Access
Fair Work Ombudsman
 
GPO Box 9880 Melbourne VIC 3001 | 414 Latrobe Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

Fair Work Infoline 13 13 94             www.fairwork.gov.au             subscribe to our eNewsletter
 
      

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From: FWO - FOI Requests
Fair Work Ombudsman


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Attachment FOI 1052 Consultation Notice.pdf
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For Official Use Only

Dear Mr/Ms Ward

 

Please find attached Consultation Notice regarding your request for
information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

 

Sincerely

 

 

Annabel Kent | Director (a/g) – Customer Feedback and Information Access

Fair Work Ombudsman

 

GPO Box 9880 Melbourne VIC 3001 | 414 Latrobe Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

 

Fair Work Infoline 13 13 94             [1]www.fairwork.gov.au            
[2]subscribe to our eNewsletter

 

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This email is sent by the Fair Work Ombudsman (ABN 43 884 188 232).
The information contained in this email message and any attachments may be
confidential information and may also be the subject of client legal -
legal professional privilege. If you are not the intended recipient, any
use, interference with, disclosure or copying of this material is
unauthorised and prohibited.
This email and any attachments are also subject to copyright. No part of
them may be reproduced, adapted or transmitted without the written
permission of the copyright owner.

If you have received this email in error, please immediately:
(1) notify the Fair Work Ombudsman by calling 13 13 94;
(2) notify the sender by return email;
(3) delete the message and any attachments from your system;
(4) destroy any printed copy; and
(5) do not disclose or use any of the information contained in the message
or the attachments.

This notice should not be removed from this email message.
There is no warranty that this email is error or virus free.
The Fair Work Ombudsman respects your privacy.
Our privacy policy can be accessed from our web site www.fairwork.gov.au.

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

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From: D Ward

Delivered

Thanks very much for your work on this. On the basis of the information contained in your letter, I withdraw my FOI request.

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