Request for information relating to redaction of historical documents

Aileen Walsh made this Freedom of Information request to WA Department of the Attorney General

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by WA Department of the Attorney General.

Aileen Walsh

Dear WA Department of the Attorney General,
I refer to the following section of the Births Deaths and Marriages Act
57. Issue of certificate (1) On completing a search of the Register the Registrar may issue a certificate — (a) certifying particulars contained in an entry; or Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1998 Part 8 The Register Division 4 Access to, and certification of, Register entries s. 58 page 32 Reprint 1 (b) certifying that no entry was located in the Register about the relevant registrable event. (2) If, in the Registrar’s opinion, a word or expression appearing on an entry in the Register is, or may be regarded as, offensive, the Registrar may issue a certificate under subsection (1)(a) without including the word or expression. (3) A certificate under subsection (1)(a) is admissible in legal proceedings as evidence of — (a) the entry to which the certificate relates; and (b) the facts recorded in the entry.
I would like evidence in the form of examples of the words found on historical documents that are deemed offensive. This will include copies of the letters requesting the removal of offensive words with the details of the requester removed of course.
I would like the details of the process that the requests for words that are deemed offensive and to be removed, outlined.
I would like details of how a word is deemed offensive. Is the person making the request the only authority for the decision that a word is offensive.
If one person deems that a word is offensive, does that person's opinion then apply to every certificate on which that word appears?
I would like details of the position that oversees this process.
I would like details of how this section of the act is protected in terms of the potential for it to be abused.
I would like exact numbers of how many certificates have been redacted for each offensive word.
I would like a list of all the words that are deemed offensive.
This request for information does of course only apply to historical documents as outlined on the Births Deaths and Marriages website.

Yours faithfully,

Aileen Walsh

CFMS, WA Department of the Attorney General

4 Attachments

Dear Aileen,

The Department of the Attorney General has received your request for
information regarding the Births, Deaths And Marriages Act 27.

Requests of this nature will need to be directed to the FOI  and Records
Management Officer:

FOI and Records Management Officer

Knowledge Management and Compliance Branch

Department of the Attorney General

Level 24, David Malcolm Justice Centre

28 Barrack Street



Further information regarding the Department’s Freedom of Information
provisions can be found on the website at  [1]Freedom of Information


Kind regards


Customer Feedback Officer

Department of the Attorney General


Tel | 9264 6270 or 13 67 57 (local call rate)

Email | [2][email address]

Web | [3]


[4]Link to information on fines and infringements [5]Link to Handbook and
Services Guide 2017 [6]Link to feedback [7]Link to the 2015/2016 Annual




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Sent request to WA Department of the Attorney General again, using a new contact address.

Henare Degan left an annotation ()

A Right To Know community member marked this request as having a delivery error.

The initial reply from the authority suggests we had the wrong email address (and doesn't bother to pass on the request to the right person in their organisation). We've updated the authority's address to this new one and resent this request.


Right To Know administrator

FOI DotAG, WA Department of the Attorney General

Good afternoon Aileen,

I have forwarded your request to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (RBDM) as it relates more closely to that business area. Mr Brett Burns, Registrar of RBDM has been notified of your request.

This request cannot be addressed under Freedom of Information (FOI) as we do not have any documents as such to provide you and will have to request the same from the business areas that they relate to.

FOI applications must be for documents, not for general “information”, and must provide sufficient detail to enable an agency to identify the documents sought.

You have made the request under FOI for the below to be answered. They are all questions which cannot be answered under the FOI.

Thank you,

Kind Regards,

Esther Dcruz
FOI & RM Officer
Knowledge Management & Compliance Branch
Department of the Attorney General
PO Box F317, Perth WA 6001
Phone: (08) 9264 1124 | Fax: (08) 9264 1155
Email: [email address]


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