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Michael Manthorpe's emails

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Under the FOI Act, I seek copies of any documents contained within Michael Manthorpe’s email account containing the word ‘Knaus’.

Documents failing within the scope of my request can be quickly identified and retrieved by searching the entirety of Mr Manthorpe’s email client (including sent and archived emails) using the search term ‘Knaus’. I am aware of a number of documents that fall within the scope of my request that should be identified if my request is processed in accordance with the law and on the assumption those documents haven’t otherwise been deleted/destroyed in the commission of a criminal offence.

Thanks

Information Access, Commonwealth Ombudsman

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL

Dear Anonymous

 

I attach correspondence in relation to your Freedom of Information request
received on 16 November 2020.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Gregory Parkhurst

Senior Legal Officer | Legal Team

Commonwealth Ombudsman

Ph: 1300 362 072 | Fax: 02 6276 0123

email: [CO request email]

 

The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman acknowledges the traditional
owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to
land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past and
present.

show quoted sections

Information Access, Commonwealth Ombudsman

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    FOI 2020 10085 letter advising time extended for third party consultation.pdf

    108K Download View as HTML

OFFICIAL

Dear Anonymous

 

I attach correspondence in relation to your Freedom of Information request
received on 16 November 2020.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gregory Parkhurst

Senior Legal Officer | Legal Team

Commonwealth Ombudsman

Ph: 1300 362 072 | Fax: 02 6276 0123

email: [CO request email]

 

The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman acknowledges the traditional
owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to
land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past and
present.

show quoted sections

Thanks for your letter of 3 December 2020, but I think a decision on my request is due by 13 January 2021, not 15 January 2021.

Information Access, Commonwealth Ombudsman

OFFICIAL
Dear Anonymous

Thank you for confirming receipt of my letter dated 3 December 2020.

My check today of the Information Commissioner's FOI Guidelines confirms that you are correct about the date by which a decision is due on your request. However, as I was previously working to a due date of 15 January 2021, I would be grateful if you could agree to an extension until that date.

Yours sincerely

Gregory Parkhurst
Senior Legal Officer | Legal Team
Commonwealth Ombudsman
Ph: 1300 362 072 | Fax: 02 6276 0123
email: [CO request email]

show quoted sections

Yes, I agree to the extension sought but only on the condition that if a decision is made after 13 January, that no charges be imposed.

Information Access, Commonwealth Ombudsman

OFFICIAL
Dear Anonymous

Thank you for agreeing to an extension of time in this matter until 15 January 2021.

I can confirm that no charges are payable in relation to the processing of your request.

Yours sincerely

Gregory Parkhurst
Senior Legal Officer | Legal Team
Commonwealth Ombudsman
Ph: 1300 362 072 | Fax: 02 6276 0123
email: [CO request email]

show quoted sections

Information Access, Commonwealth Ombudsman

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL

Dear Anonymous

 

I attach my decision letter in response to your Freedom of Information
request dated 14 November 2020.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gregory Parkhurst

Senior Legal Officer | Legal Team

Commonwealth Ombudsman

Ph: 1300 362 072 | Fax: 02 6276 0123

email: [CO request email]

 

The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman acknowledges the traditional
owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to
land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past and
present.

show quoted sections

Dear Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman,

The following is a request made pursuant to s.54B of the FOI Act, for internal review of the access refusal decisions made by the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman on 14 January 2021 in respect of my FOI application of 14 November 2020, as well as a fresh FOI request made in accordance with s.15 of the FOI Act.

By way of background, the following factual information concerning partisan and corrupt conduct engaged in by the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman is relevant to the access refusal decisions the subject of this internal review request.

In 2017, numerous public interest disclosures were lodged with the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman in relation to illegal conduct engaged in by disgraced and corrupt former Australian Public Service Commissioner, John Lloyd. Those disclosures were made by honest and ethical public servants, including staff at the APSC, who had detailed and first-hand knowledge of the politically motivated corruption engaged in by Mr Lloyd. The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman investigated and set aside those disclosures knowing full well that John Lloyd was appointed to the highly (publicly) paid statutory office on the basis of his membership of the Liberal Party and far right group the Institute of Public Affairs, and that a finding of disclosable conduct would have been politically inconvenient for the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman and its political masters.

Having regard to Mr Lloyd’s illegal conduct, no apolitical, honest, accountable and above all, ethical, public servant in possession of any integrity could have arrived the outcomes reached by the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman. And that was proven 12 months later when the *independent* [emphasis added] office of the Merit Protection Commissioner found the very same conduct the subject of the disclosures made to the Commonwealth Ombudsman to be illegal, and that Mr Lloyd was, necessarily, corrupt.

In 2016 a public interest disclosure was lodged with the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman in relation to illegal conduct engaged in by disgraced and corrupt former Australian Building and Construction Commissioner, Nigel Hadgkiss. The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman inexplicably refused to investigate that disclosure presumably because the politically motivated corruption engaged in by Mr Hadgkiss could not be easily covered up and that a finding of misconduct made against Mr Hadgkiss, who was also politically appointed on the basis of his affiliation with the Liberal Party and far right group, the Institute of Public Affairs, would have been politically inconvenient for the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman and its political masters.

No apolitical, honest, accountable and above all, ethical, public servant in possession of any integrity could have arrived at that outcome and that was proven approximately 12 months later, when the *independent* [emphasis added] Federal Court found that the very same conduct the subject of that public interest disclosure made to the Commonwealth Ombudsman to be illegal, and that Mr Hadgkiss was therefore necessarily corrupt.

And who could forget the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s role in countenancing the state sanctioned program of extortion of vulnerable Australians known as ‘Robodebt’.

In 2016-17, the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman investigated the illegal Robodebt program. As part of its investigation, the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman had:
- access to legal advice that the Robodebt program was overwhelmingly likely to be illegal,
- evidence from Department of Human Services’ staff that the responsible Minister and Departmental senior executives were repeatedly advised that the Robodebt program was illegal, but they continued its operation regardless,
- evidence that the illegal Robodebt program was resulting in suicides and other instances of self-harm; and
- evidence that the illegal program was targeted towards extorting poor and vulnerable Australians because polling research commissioned by the Liberal Party indicated that such persons were unlikely to vote for the Liberal Party.

Despite this, knowing that the then Social Services Minister and current Prime Minister was the architect of the illegal program and that it would have been politically inconvenient for the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s political masters to recommend the illegal program be terminated, the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman greenlit the continuation of the program subject to some minor tinkering around the edges. For this, the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman is just as culpable for the deaths and other harms that have resulted from the illegal Robodebt program as any other member of the Liberal Party responsible for its design and implementation.

The small handful of available examples set out above make it clear that the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman has become a highly partisan and deeply corrupt government agency that essentially conducts itself as a publicly funded but wholly owned marketing arm of the Liberal Party of Australia.

That the establishment of a properly empowered and resourced and moreover, *independent* [emphasis added] Federal Commission against corruption is widely supported by the Australian public is a direct reflection of how impotent and corrupt the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman has become.

Christopher Knaus and other journalists the Guardian Australia have bravely reported on these issues and others concerning the politically motivated corruption that is now at endemic levels across the Commonwealth public sector, despite threats made by the Government and Australian government agencies. There is a clear public interest in any evidence of the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman monitoring journalists who are considered by the LNP Government/the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman to be political enemies because that will provide further evidence of Australia drifting towards becoming an autocratic and totalitarian state where any distinction between the executive and legislative arms of government has completely disappeared.

I now turn to the particular access refusal decisions the subject of this application for internal review.

I seek internal review of the access refusal decisions made in relation to documents #13-#20. Those documents are media monitoring briefings provided to Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman staff. Media monitoring companies like iSentia and Streem ream Australian taxpayers for millions of dollars each year by way of contracts entered into with government agencies such as the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman. While particular government agencies may have a legitimate need to monitor media mentions of issues and events that relate to their particular policy portfolio, the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman has no policy responsibility for anything. Having regard to what I’ve set out above, it’s likely the real reason the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman spends taxpayer money on media monitoring services is so that it can stay on top of the never-ending instances of politically motivated Commonwealth public sector corruption, so that the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman can prepare to cover that corruption up.

These media monitoring companies are essentially ‘scrapbookers’. They (often through the use of workers in overseas countries that don’t have or enforce labour laws) rifle through print and broadcast media and cut and paste items of media in accordance with key words, topics and other parameters determined by their clients (in this case, the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman). The result of that work is a curated package of cut and pasted media items delivered to agency staff each day. Despite claims made by the decision-maker, there is no intellectual property in the compilation of these media clippings. That the contents of these media clippings are not ‘publicly available’ is also incorrect. These clippings contain publicly available media items. Copyright exists in those items and the media monitoring companies pay licence fees to the owners of the copyright in that media so as to authorise the media monitor company’s act of copying them and making them publicly available. The decision-maker’s view that disclosing the media briefings ‘would disclose commercially valuable information’ and would result in the disclosure of ‘techniques and ideas which the relevant organisation has developed over time’ are incorrect. That claim is belied by the fact that these media monitoring briefings are delivered to tens of thousands of public servants every day of the working week and they are distributed both internally and externally, including by being released under the FOI Act. The particular clippings captured by my request have no commercial or other value – they are nothing but a collection (that is not protected by copyright) of old news that is otherwise publicly available and whose reproduction and public distribution has already been licensed. Accordingly, I seek internal review of the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s access refusal decision for documents #13-#20. Additionally, under the FOI Act, I request access to any document(s) that sets out the key words, topics and other parameters that determine the contents of the regular media briefings provided to the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman pursuant to the agreement the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman has entered into with the media monitoring company referred to in the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s decision on my request. And a reminder, because it’s obviously necessary - the money the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman spends on monitoring the media is taxpayer money; it’s not the Ombudsman’s/Liberal Party money, it’s public money. It’s scandalous that the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman is happy to fritter away public money on monitoring the media but is not prepared to provide that information back to the people that paid for it.

I also seek internal review in relation to the access refusal decisions made by reference to s.47F of the FOI Act in documents #1, #4, #5, #6, #8, #9, #11 and #23-#25 but only to the extent the personal information relates to public servants and is contained in a relevant document because of those public servants’ usual duties or responsibilities (in accordance with paras 6.152 and 6.153 of the FOI Guidelines). In support of the decision-maker’s access refusal decision he’s stated that the release of the personal information ‘could result in unsolicited inappropriate approaches from members of the public, or personal attack and harassment’. But paragraph 6.154 of the FOI Guidelines states ‘In seeking to claim the exemption an agency needs to identify the special circumstances which exist rather than start from the assumption that such information is exempt’. Your application of the conditional exemption at s.47F is therefore in error because you’ve not identified any special circumstances. Rather, you’ve relied on some vague and generalised potential outcome, for which there is no substantive evidence to suggest has previously occurred, or that such an outcome will occur in the future.

I also request internal review of any document for which access has been refused in reliance on the conditional exemption at s.47E and which in any way concerns the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013. If the disclosure of those documents could give rise to an offence under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013, then that is a legitimate reason to refuse access to those documents. But no such claim has been made and it is a ridiculous to assert, as the decision-maker effectively has, that any document that references the Public Interest Disclosure Act is effectively automatically exempt from release - particularly when those same documents also refer to publicly available articles prepared by a journalist and political enemy of the LNP Government/Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman, Mr Christopher Knaus. It is relevant that Mr Knaus has previously reported on how the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman colluded with the Department of Home Affairs to cover up serious corruption: https://www.theguardian.com/law/2020/aug... - the covering up of public sector corruption by agencies such as the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Department of Home Affairs is clearly in the public interest.

Finally, I note that the decision-maker was unable to correctly determine the date upon which a decision on my request was due. That a senior legal officer at the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman is apparently incapable of basic statutory interpretation and/or counting to 30, means it is almost certain that the same officer has engaged in repeated legal error in applying the somewhat more complex exemption regime set out by the FOI Act in refusing access to documents containing information that is in the public interest.

Gregory Parkhurst, Commonwealth Ombudsman

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL

Dear Anonymous

 

I attach the documents released under my decision dated 14 January 2021 in
this matter.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Gregory Parkhurst

Senior Legal Officer | Legal Team

Commonwealth Ombudsman

Ph: 1300 362 072 | Fax: 02 6276 0123

email: [1][CO request email]

 

The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman acknowledges the traditional
owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to
land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past and
present.

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[CO request email]

Information Access, Commonwealth Ombudsman

2 Attachments

Dear Anonymous

 

Please find attached an acknowledgement letter in response to your Freedom
of Information request dated 19 February 2021.

 

Sincerely,

Caitlin Christie

[she/her]

Paralegal | Legal Team

Commonwealth Ombudsman

Ph: 1300 362 072 | Fax: 02 6276 0123

Email: [1][CO request email]

 

[2][IMG]

Influencing systemic improvement in public administration

 

The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman acknowledges the traditional
owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to
land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past and
present.

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[CO request email]
2. http://www.ombudsman.gov.au/

Information Access, Commonwealth Ombudsman

2 Attachments

Dear Anonymous

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your Freedom of
Information request dated 15 February 2021.

 

Sincerely,

 

Caitlin Christie

[she/her]

Paralegal | Legal Team

Commonwealth Ombudsman

Ph: 1300 362 072 | Fax: 02 6276 0123

Email: [1][CO request email]

 

[2][IMG]

Influencing systemic improvement in public administration

 

The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman acknowledges the traditional
owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to
land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past and
present.

 

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[CO request email]
2. http://www.ombudsman.gov.au/

Information Access, Commonwealth Ombudsman

1 Attachment

Dear Anonymous

 

Please see attached my decision in relation to your request for an
internal review of Mr Parkhurst’s decision dated 14 January 2021.

 

If you have any queries, you are welcome to contact me on the details
below.

 

Kind regards,

 

Fiona Annetts

Lawyer | Legal Team

Commonwealth Ombudsman

Ph: 1300 362 072 | Fax: 02 6276 0123

email: [1][CO request email]

 

 

The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman acknowledges the traditional
owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to
land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past and
present.

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[CO request email]

Dear Information Access,

In anticipation of another politically motivated and improperly made access refusal or charges decision, I intend on naming the former and current Commonwealth Ombudsman officers involved in the corruption referred to in my email of 15 February 2020 (noting that there is no independent body to which Commonwealth public sector corruption, such as that engaged in by those officers, can be referred for investigation).

That act will obviously be of some assistance to any incoming Government intent on restoring the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman to once again being an independent and apolitical body that conducts itself with honesty and integrity. If the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman has any legitimate concerns with that proposed course of action, please let me know.

Yours sincerely,

S Rivken

Information Access, Commonwealth Ombudsman

2 Attachments

OFFICIAL

OFFICIAL

Dear anonymous,

 

Please see attached my decision in relation to your FOI request dated 15
February 2021.

 

Sincerely,

Caitlin Christie

[she/her]

Paralegal | Legal Team

Commonwealth Ombudsman

Ph: 1300 362 072 | Fax: 02 6276 0123

Email: [1][CO request email]

 

[2][IMG]

Influencing systemic improvement in public administration

 

The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman acknowledges the traditional
owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to
land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past and
present.

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[CO request email]
2. http://www.ombudsman.gov.au/

This message has been hidden. Email does not comply with our House Rules (https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/house_rules) Please contact us if you have any questions.

Information Access, Commonwealth Ombudsman

1 Attachment

Dear anonymous

 

I refer to your message of 23 April 2021 in which you have made
unsubstantiated allegations about Ombudsman officers’ involvement in
conduct you consider to be corrupt. The Office consider this is an
inappropriate and potentially unlawful use of the Right to Know (R2K)
website. It is also contrary to the R2K [1]House Rules stipulating that
the site should be used  ‘only to request specific information, not for
general correspondence with public authorities’ and requests and
annotations should not include potentially defamatory/potential libellous
comments (such as allegations) or post information that is harassing,
defamatory, abusive, threatening, harmful.

 

Nothing in the 23 April 2021 message relates to a request for information
from the Office or progresses any avenue for review of your access
request. As you have been advised in the notices of decision on your FOI
request and internal review, if you disagree with the way that your FOI
requests have been dealt with or the decision made, it is open to you to
[2]make an FOI complaint or apply for Information Commissioner review of
the decision.

 

I request that :

o your message of 23 April 2021 is removed immediately
o you do not use this site to make any further such allegations; and
o ensure any further requests to or comments about officers of the
Commonwealth Ombudsman on this site are within the R2K [3]House Rules.

 

I have copied in the R2K team to request their assistance to remove the 23
April 2021 message and for consideration of the application of their House
Rules.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Carmen

 

 

Carmen Miragaya

Director, Human Resources and Legal

COMMONWEALTH OMBUDSMAN

Proud to be working on the lands of Jagera and Turabal peoples

Phone:   1300 362 072

Email:    [4]ombudsman @ombudsman.gov.au
Website: [5]ombudsman.gov.au

 

[6]ombudsman

Influencing systemic improvement in public administration

 

The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman acknowledges the Traditional
Owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to
land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past and
present.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman acknowledges the traditional
owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to
land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past and
present.

show quoted sections

References

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1. https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/hous...
2. https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...
3. https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/hous...
4. mailto:[email address]
5. http://www.ombudsman.gov.au/
6. http://www.ombudsman.gov.au/

Commonwealth Ombudsman

2 Attachments

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Commonwealth Ombudsman

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