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Materials relating to the selection of Murray Belcher and Russell Trott as National Judicial Registrars & District Registrars

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Dear Federal Court of Australia,

According to page 129 of the Federal Court's 2018-2019 annual report, Murray Belcher was the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Queensland and Russell Trott was the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Western Australia.

According to page 125 of the Federal Court's 2019-2020 annual report, Murray Belcher was the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Queensland and Russell Trott was the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Western Australia.

According to page 126 of the Federal Court's 2020-2021 annual report, Peter Schmidt was the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Queensland Russell Trott was the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Western Australia. Russell Trott is still listed as the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Western Australia on the website of the Federal Court and Peter Schmidt is still listed as the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Queensland: https://fedcourt.gov.au/about/registrars...

The Federal Court's annual reports can be accessed here: https://fedcourt.gov.au/about/corporate-...

Under the FOI Act I request access to the following documents:

a) the selection report recording Murray Belcher's selection as the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Queensland;
b) the vacancy notification for the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Queensland role that Murray Belcher was selected to fill;
c) the classification evaluation for the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Queensland role that Murray Belcher was selected to fill;
d) any certifications issued by a representative of the Australian Public Service Commissioner certifying the selection process for the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Queensland role that Murray Belcher was selected to fill;
e) the selection report recording Russell Trott's selection as the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Western Australia;
f) the vacancy notification for the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Western Australia role that Russell Trott was selected to fill;
g) the classification evaluation for the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Western Australia role that Russell Trott was selected to fill;
h) any certifications issued by a representative of the Australian Public Service Commissioner certifying the selection process for the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Western Australia role that Russell Trott was selected to fill;
i) a document identifying the classification allocated to Murray Belcher upon his selection as the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Queensland;
j) a document identifying the classification allocated to Russell Trott upon his selection as the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Western Australia;
k) the position description for the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Queensland that Murray Belcher was selected to fill; and
l) the position description for the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Queensland that Russell Trott was selected to fill.

In relation to the selection reports requested under (a) and (e), you may redact the names of any unsuccessful candidates. You may redact the reasons and deliberations of the selection panel in relation to any unsuccessful candidates. You may redact the reasons and deliberations of the selection panel in relation to the successful candidates, Murray Belcher and Russell Trott.

Please do not redact the names of the successful candidates, Murray Belcher and Russell Trott. Please do not redact the names of the members of the selection panel. To the extent that the panels were made up of Sia Lagos, please do not redact her signature from the selection reports because her signature is published in the annual reports of the Federal Court and elsewhere online.

In relation to the certifications requested under paragraphs (d) and (h), you may redact any signatures on those certifications. Please do not redact anything else.

Yours faithfully,

Alex

External FOI, Federal Court of Australia

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL
Dear Alex

Please find attached correspondence from the Federal Court of Australia.

Kind regards

FOI Officer
Federal Court of Australia

show quoted sections

External FOI, Federal Court of Australia

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL
Dear Alex

Please find attached correspondence from the Federal Court of Australia.

Kind regards

FOI Officer
Federal Court of Australia

show quoted sections

Dear Ms Hammerton Cole,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Federal Court of Australia's handling of my FOI request 'Materials relating to the selection of Murray Belcher and Russell Trott as National Judicial Registrars & District Registrars'.

I request a review of the totality of your decision. I would like the entire FOI request that I made to be reconsidered on its merits. I do not accept that sections 47E(c) and 47E(d) apply to this request, and I do not accept the way that the public interest assessment under s 11A(5) of the Act has been applied to the conditional exemptions set out in ss 47C and 47F.

I also find it hard to believe that:

a) no classification evaluation document exists for for the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Queensland role that Murray Belcher was selected to fill; and
b) no classification evaluation documents exists for the National Judicial Registrar & District Registrar of Western Australia role that Russell Trott was selected to fill.

How else could it have been determined that the positions that Murray Belcher and Russell Trott were selected for bore SES Band 1 classifications (even though each of them was denied the ascription of Senior Executive Band 1 classifications under rule 6 of the Public Service Classification Rules 2000 and, instead, each was provided with a financial arrangement increasing their pay but denying them their rightful promotions to the senior executive service)?

I have noticed that, on internal review, Mr Tredwell and Ms Colbran have claimed that those who have sought internal review have not provided any evidence as to why ss 47E(c) and 47E(d) of the FOI Act do not apply and, on that basis, have dismissed the access applicants' contentions, even though there is ample circumstantial evidence and direct evidence, if one accepts that what was recorded in the articles in The Australian were not, as Ms Colbran dismissively claims, "media speculation".

I would like you to understand that, should this application require the attention of the Information Commissioner, I will have access to a considerable body of evidence. It would be naive to assume that the external disclosure made under the PID Act to the journalists at The Australian was only made to them.

In case you think I'm bluffing, let me give you a taste of what will come if a lawful decision is not made on internal review.

I know that both Mr Belcher and Mr Trott were denied lawful career progression to the senior executive service because Sia Lagos colluded with Warwick Soden and Darrin Moy, among others, to deny Mr Belcher and Mr Trott law promotion. Neither Mr Belcher nor Mr Trott was allocated an Senior Executive Band 1 classification under rule 6 of the Public Service Classification Rules 2000. They were, in effect, bullied into accepting financial arrangements increasing their pay and keeping their classifications under rule 6 of the Classification Rules to Executive Level 2.

In the case of Mr Belcher, the unlawful conduct was effected when an agency determination from Warwick Soden, dated 31 October 2018, was provided to Mr Belcher.

The Agency Determation reads:

"AGENCY DETERMINATION 2018/8

I, Warwick Soden, Agency Head, Federal Court of Australia, acting under subsection 24(1) of the Public Service Act (the Act) make the following determination.

Dated: 31-10-2018 ...

1. CITATION

1.1 This determination may be cited as Agency Determination 2018/8.

2. COMMENCEMENT

2.1 This determination will take effect from the date it is signed by the Agency Head.

3. EMPLOYEE OR EMPLOYEES COVERED

3.1 This determination covers the following employee: Murray Belcher

4. CLASSIFICATION

4.1 Classification level: EL/Legal 2

5. REMUNERATION

5.1 Base Salary and Salary for Superannuation Purposes

The Employee's base salary is [mercifully redacted] per annum.

This Agency Determination 2018/8 will operate in conjunction with the prevailing Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA).

6. REVIEW OF DETERMINATION

This determination will be reviewed as necessary in light of government policy, between the employee and the Agency.

[End]"

In the case of Mr Trott, the unlawful conduct was effected when a letter from Warwick Soden, dated 12 October 2018, with an independent flexibility arrangement attached to it, was provided to Mr Trott.

The letter reads:

"Dear Russell ...

I am writing to confirm arrangements for the permanent re-assignment of your duties to the position of EL/Legal2, National Judicial Registrar and District Registrar, WA (position number 5024).

The enclosed IFA outlines the offered salary.

The re-assignment will take effect from 15 October 2018.

To confirm your acceptance of the change please sign this letter and return this document to [email address].

If you have any questions please contact Darrin Moy on 0410 ...

Warwick Soden
Chief Executive Officer and Principal Registrar
Federal Court of Australia"

I doubt the Information Commissioner will be as invested in dismissing access applicants' claims that ss 47E(c) and (d) do not apply because those sections presuppose lawfulness.

A handful of registrars at the Federal Court can't beat the internet.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/m...

Good luck,

Alex

External FOI, Federal Court of Australia

OFFICIAL
Dear Alex

I acknowledge receipt of your request below for an internal review of the decision made by Registrar Hammerton Cole on behalf of the Federal Court of Australia and dated 30 May 2022.

Kind regards

FOI Officer
Federal Court of Australia

show quoted sections

External FOI, Federal Court of Australia

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL
Dear Alex

Please find attached correspondence from the Federal Court of Australia.

Kind regards

FOI Officer
Federal Court of Australia

show quoted sections

Federal Court of Australia

 
 
  [1]Office of the Australian Information Reference Code:  
Commissioner ICR_10-50118718-2810
 

 
You submitted a form called: FOI Review_
 
Your form reference code is: ICR_10-50118718-2810

To check the progress of your submission and/or confirm it has been
received you should contact the agency that provides the form. These
details are displayed below.
 
 
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
[2]http://www.oaic.gov.au | [3]1300 363 992 | [4][email address]
GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001
 
 
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References

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Federal Court of Australia

1 Attachment

Our reference: MR22/01208

 

By email: [FOI #8829 email]

Receipt of your IC review application  

Thank you for your application for Information Commissioner Review (IC
review).

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is
considering your application.

If you wish to advise the OAIC of any changes to your circumstances,
including your contact details or if your FOI request has been resolved,
please write to [email address] and quote MR22/01208.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Freedom of Information Regulatory Group

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

 

 

 

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We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Alex please sign in and let everyone know.