People and Culture Committee

Julie made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Veterans' Affairs

The request was partially successful.

From: Julie

Delivered

Dear Department of Veterans' Affairs,

Under FOI I seek the minutes of the DVA People and Culture Committee for FY17/18.

Yours faithfully,

Julie

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


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Dear Julie,

 

Acknowledgement of FOI Request – FOI 25071

 

I refer to your request to access information held by our Department under
the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).  The Department received
your request on 13 October 2018. In accordance with section 15(5)(b) of
the FOI Act, the Department has 30 days to process your request. As such,
a decision on your request is due by 12 November 2018.

 

If you have any questions about your FOI matter, please contact us using
the following details:

 

Post: Legal Services & Assurance, Department of Veterans’ Affairs

GPO Box 9998, Canberra ACT 2601

Facsimile: (02) 6289 6337

Email: [1][email address]

 

In all communications please quote reference FOI 25071.

 

Kind Regards,

 

 

Information Law | Legal Services & Assurance Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

GPO Box 9998 Canberra ACT 2601

E: [2][email address]

 

 

[3]cid:image001.png@01D0027A.1DAB84F0

 

 

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


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Attachment FOI 25071 Statement of Reasons.pdf
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Good afternoon Julie,

 

FOI 25071 - Decision and Statement of Reasons

 

Further to your FOI request received by the Department on 13 October 2018,
please find attached a decision in relation to your request.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Information Law Section | Legal Services and General Counsel Branch

Legal Assurance and Governance Division

Department of Veterans’ Affairs
E: [1][email address] | W: [2]www.dva.gov.au

 

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From: Julie

Delivered

For the Department of Veterans' Affairs,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department of Veterans' Affairs's handling of my FOI request 'People and Culture Committee'.

Yet another senior DVA executive committee identified by DVA’s own Corporate Plan as existing, yet surprisingly no documentary record, apart from the Corporate Plan, exists...

Yet again the hostility of DVA towards FOI is on full display.

Either DVA has a unethical policy of breaching the Archives Act by destroying records, so as to avoid their capture by FOI, or is the most unique public sector agency in the world, in that its identified executive corporate governance committees never meet and never record anything, ever.

I seek internal review on the basis to claim such records do not exist approaches fantasy, given the existence of these committees is identified by DVA itself.

These types of committee simply do not exist in a vacuum, given the members are all at the SES bands, and they report to the DVA board.

It seems like intentional bad faith is in play here, and it is quite disturbing that DVA would go so far as to knowingly lie (but then again, I guess, your flam s 15AB application that the OAIC knocked back as being too ridiculous proves that your willingness to go that far).

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

Sincerely,

Julie

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


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Good afternoon Julie,

 

FOI 25411 - Internal Review acknowledgement

 

Further to your request received by the Department on 26 October 2018,
please accept this as acknowledgement of your request for an internal
review of FOI 25071. A decision on your request will be due by 26 November
2018.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Information Law Section | Legal Services and General Counsel Branch

Legal Assurance and Governance Division

Department of Veterans’ Affairs
E: [1][email address] | W: [2]www.dva.gov.au

 

[3]cid:image001.png@01D0027A.1DAB84F0

 

 

-----Original Message-----

From: Julie [[4]mailto:[FOI #4886 email]]

Sent: Friday, 26 October 2018 11:39 PM

To: FOI <[5][email address]>

Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - People and
Culture Committee [TO BE CLASSIFIED]

 

For the Department of Veterans' Affairs,

 

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

 

I am writing to request an internal review of Department of Veterans'
Affairs's handling of my FOI request 'People and Culture Committee'.

 

Yet another senior DVA executive committee identified by DVA’s own
Corporate Plan as existing, yet surprisingly no documentary record, apart
from the Corporate Plan, exists...

 

Yet again the hostility of DVA towards FOI is on full display.

 

Either DVA has a unethical policy of breaching the Archives Act by
destroying records, so as to avoid their capture by FOI, or is the most
unique public sector agency in the world, in that its identified executive
corporate governance committees never meet and never record anything,
ever.

 

I seek internal review on the basis to claim such records do not exist
approaches fantasy, given the existence of these committees is identified
by DVA itself.

 

These types of committee simply do not exist in a vacuum, given the
members are all at the SES bands, and they report to the DVA board.

 

It seems like intentional bad faith is in play here, and it is quite
disturbing that DVA would go so far as to knowingly lie (but then again, I
guess, your flam s 15AB application that the OAIC knocked back as being
too ridiculous proves that your willingness to go that far).

 

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

 

Sincerely,

 

Julie

 

 

 

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Please use this email address for all replies to this request:

[7][FOI #4886 email]

 

This request has been made by an individual using Right to Know. This
message and any reply that you make will be published on the internet.
More information on how Right to Know works can be found at:

[8]https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/offi...

 

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

 

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IMPORTANT
1. Before opening any attachments, please check for viruses.
2. This e-mail (including any attachments) may contain confidential
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for the intended recipient. If you are not the intended recipient,
please contact the sender and delete all copies of this email.
3. Any views expressed in this e-mail are those of the sender and are not
a statement of Australian Government Policy unless otherwise stated.
4. Electronic addresses published in this email are not conspicuous
publications and DVA does not consent to the receipt of commercial
electronic messages.
5. To unsubscribe from emails from the Department of Veterans' Affairs
(DVA) please go to
http://www.dva.gov.au/contact_us/Pages/f...
, and advise which mailing list you would like to unsubscribe from.
6. Finally, please do not remove this notice.

References

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2. http://www.dva.gov.au/
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7. mailto:[FOI #4886 email]
8. https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/offi...

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


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Attachment FOI 25411 Statement of Reasons.pdf
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Dear Julie

 

FOI 25411 – Decision and Statement of Reasons

 

Please find attached the decision in relation to your freedom of
information internal review request received by the Department of
Veterans’ Affairs on 26 October 2018.

 

Kind regards

 

Information Law Section | Legal Services & Assurance Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

E: [1][email address]

 

[2]cid:image001.png@01D0027A.1DAB84F0

 

 

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a statement of Australian Government Policy unless otherwise stated.
4. Electronic addresses published in this email are not conspicuous
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From: Julie

Delivered

As the Department of Veterans‘ Affairs has repeatedly failed to be reasonable, I have had no choice but to refer this unethical behaviour to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

I would highlight the unprofessional bad faith behaviour by Veterans’ Affairs, is simply odious and entirely inappropriate.

Julie

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


Attachment FOI 25411 Revised decision.pdf
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Attachment Document 1 PC Minutes 1 August 2017 FINAL Redacted.pdf
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Attachment Document 2 PC Minutes 29 November 2017 FINAL Redacted.pdf
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Attachment Document 3 PC Minutes 16 March 2018 Final Redacted.pdf
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Attachment Document 4 Minutes PC Meeting 10 May 2018 FINAL Redacted.pdf
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Good afternoon Julie,

Please find attached a revised decision and documents released to you in relation to FOI 25071 and Internal Review 25411. This relates to your application for IC Review and 'new scope' (MR19/00922 refers).

We trust this now resolves the review. Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions.

Kind Regards,

Leia (Position Number 62209913)
Information Law Section | Legal Services and Audit Branch
Integrity, Assurance and Communications Division
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
E: [email address] | W: www.dva.gov.au

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From: Julie

Delivered

Dear Information Law Section, Department of Veterans’ Affairs,

After 110 days of unjustified delay, it is pleasing that the Department has finally dropped its charade that the committee minutes sought - of the committee called the People and Culture Committee at the time of the FOI application (being a rebadging of the long-standing Departmental People Committee) - did not exist (especially given the Department was well aware they did).

It really was completely unjustified for a request for mundane and routine corporate governance records, which the Department should be eager to share given it provides the opportunity for the Department to show it takes corporate governance seriously (which raises the concern why the Department fought tooth and nail in providing access to these and other corporate governance committee records applied for at the same time, most still being given the roundaround by the Department).

While the Herald Sun reported on 9 June 2019 recently that “Veterans are being subjected to hostile and derogatory attitudes” by the Department, it would seem its not just veterans who cop these regrettable behaviours from the Department.

Freedom of information is meant to promote understanding and confidence in public administration, yet too many at the Department see it as poison and the opportunity for aggressive adversarialism, indiscriminately engaging in a childish intransigence to shift from a culture of wilful opaqueness.

It is, simply put, a waste of Commonwealth resources for the Department to string simple FOIs out 110 days, requiring multiple parties to intervene, to get them completed. And as you are aware, no change was made to the FOI scope as the Department was well aware what records were sought, was well aware that the addition of ‘and Culture’ to the People Committee name did not erase its ongoing nature/history, and I rejected the Department’s attempt to replace this FOI in a way that all dates and processes would begin anew, with all dates reset (just to manipulate the FOI stats).

Yours sincerely,

Julie

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