Security assessment for asylum seeker Ranjini

Malcolm Blaney made this Freedom of Information request to Attorney-General's Department

The request was refused by Attorney-General's Department.

From: Malcolm Blaney

Delivered

Dear Attorney-General's Department,

I request all documentation, leading to the Department's final decision in regards to the adverse security assessment for the asylum seeker from Sri Lanka Ranjini, who was returned to indefinite detention in May
2012.

Yours faithfully,

Malcolm Blaney

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From: FOI Requests
Attorney-General's Department

Thank you for your email. This is an automated response to advise you that
your email has been received by the Attorney-General's Department's FOI
Coordinator.

 

If you wish to lodge a request for access to documents under the Freedom
of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), please ensure that your request is in
writing, states that it is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act
and provides sufficient detail describing the documents you wish to
access. The FOI Coordinator will acknowledge your request within 14 days.

 

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From: FOI Requests
Attorney-General's Department

UNCLASSIFIED
Good Afternoon Mr Blaney

I hereby acknowledge your request on behalf of Senator Scott Ludlam MP under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) dated 29 May 2013.

Your request has been received and is being processed as quickly as possible.

Kind Regards

Freedom of Information and Privacy Section | Office of Corporate Counsel Attorney-General's Department | 3 - 5 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600
Email: [AGD request email]

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From: Malcolm Blaney

Delivered

Dear FOI Requests,

By law I expected a reply from the Attorney-General's Department no later than the 28th of June. I would appreciate a response from you as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Malcolm Blaney

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Locutus Sum left an annotation ()

I make this comment to be sure that for you the FOI time line does not go wrong. Also, if you already know this, maybe it will be useful for some other people.

You are naturally correct to say that the Department was obliged to reply to your request by 28.6.2013. They did not. Even next month they might give you all the documents you want and then everything will be good for you but problems could come if the department does not give you the documents.

The problem could be if you wait for a reply and then they say "no". Maybe you will then think that you have 30 days to ask for internal review. That would be the wrong thought.

By law, the department has already said "No". They said "no" yesterday. How? The department did not ask you for extra time to make a decision and so it must be that Section 15AC(3)(a) (Decision not made on request within time--deemed refusal) says that "the principal officer of the agency or the Minister is taken to have made a decision personally refusing to give access to the document on the last day of the initial decision". For you it means that you have until Monday 29.7.2013 to ask for internal review. This is true even if the department does not write a "no" reply until next week. You also have only until Tuesday 27.8.2013 to ask for review by the information commissioner.

Yes, it is correct to say Monday 29.7.2013, not exactly 30 days from 28.6.2013. It is by the reason that exactly 30 days is Sunday 28.7.2013. Sunday does not count if it is at the end; that is how it is said in Acts Interpretation Act 36(2)(b) (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/c.... For 60 days, it is a Tuesday, so the calculation is for exactly 60 days.

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Malcolm Blaney left an annotation ()

Thanks for the heads up Locutus Sum, much appreciated.

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From: Malcolm Blaney

Delivered

Dear Attorney-General's Department,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Attorney-General's Department's handling of my FOI request 'Security assessment for asylum seeker Ranjini'.

My request should have been responded to by the 28th of June 2013, and as such I understand that a decision not made on this request by that time is deemed a refusal for information.

I would like to again ask for the requested information, and an explanation for the delay.

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

Yours faithfully,

Malcolm Blaney

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From: FOI Requests
Attorney-General's Department

UNCLASSIFIED
Mr Blaney

I refer to this Department's 'deemed refusal' decision on Saturday 29 June 2013.

Following that decision, the Department has contacted the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and requested further time to deal with the request under section s15AC of the FOI Act, with a proposed due date of Monday 1 July 2013 (close of business today).

Would you please confirm your position on this proposed due date.

With regards,

AGD FOI & Privacy
[AGD request email]

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From: Malcolm Blaney

Delivered

Dear FOI Requests,

Thanks for the reply. I confirm your proposed due date of Monday 1 July 2013, and look forward to hearing from you by the end of the day.

Yours sincerely,

Malcolm Blaney

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From: FOI Requests
Attorney-General's Department


Attachment FOI 13 030 Blaney decision letter signed.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED
Mr Blaney

Referring to your FOI request of 29 May 2013 with this Department, the FOI decision maker's determination is attached.

With regards,

AGD FOI & Privacy
[AGD request email]

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From: Malcolm Blaney

Delivered

Dear Attorney-General's Department,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of the Attorney-General's Department's handling of my FOI request 'Security assessment for asylum seeker Ranjini'.

I am requesting this internal review because I do not believe the statement made by Logan Tudor, that no documents exist relevant to the security assessment.

Since documentation must exist for such an assessment, I would like to know why it hasn't been provided. The answer given is that the Attorney-General's Department does not play a role in the assessment process, rather the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation is the decision maker. I find this answer misleading since ASIO is under the authority of the Attorney-General's Department.

I would like to know why the department does not feel the need to understand the decisions made by an organisation that the department is responsible for.

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

Yours faithfully,

Malcolm Blaney

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From: FOI Requests
Attorney-General's Department

UNCLASSIFIED
Good morning Mr Blaney

I hereby acknowledge your request for Internal Review under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) dated 2 July 2013.

The review will be conducted as quickly as possible.

Kind Regards

FOI Contact Officer

Freedom of Information and Privacy Section | Office of Corporate Counsel Attorney-General's Department | 3 - 5 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600
Email: [AGD request email]

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From: FOI Requests
Attorney-General's Department


Attachment Letter to Mr Blaney FOI Request no.FOI13 060 August 2013.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED
Dear Mr Blaney,

I refer to your request dated 2 July 2013 for an internal review of your FOI request. Please find attached decision letter of 1 August 2013 in response to your request.

Kind Regards

FOI Contact Officer

Freedom of Information and Privacy Section | Office of Corporate Counsel Attorney-General's Department | 3 - 5 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600
Email: [AGD request email]

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Malcolm Blaney left an annotation ()

My email to the Information Commissioner today (will update again when I hear back):

To the Australian Information Commissioner,

I would like to apply for a review for my FOI request, number 13/060.

Please find attached the results of the internal review that upheld the initial refusal for the request. Further background reading can also be found here: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/s...

My main complaint is with the answer given: "that ASIO, not the Attorney-General's Department, is responsible for the provision of security assessments, and that the Attorney-General's Department does have responsibility for decisions in relation to security assessments relating to matters arising under the Migration Act".

I maintain that, as ASIO is under the authority of the Attorney-General's Department, they must have knowledge of decisions made in their department. I find the statement from the Attorney-General's department that there is no oversight in this matter to be profoundly disturbing. In the above quote they say that they are not responsible for ASIO's decisions, but that they are still responsible for decisions made in relation to security assessments. I'm afraid they can't have it both ways.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Malcolm Blaney

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Malcolm Blaney left an annotation ()

Dear Mr Blaney

Your application for IC review under FOI Act

Thank you for your request for IC Review of a decision of Attorney-General's Department dated 1 August 2013 under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act).

The OAIC is currently processing a large number of complaints and applications for Information Commissioner review and, as a consequence, there may be a delay in your matter being allocated to a case officer. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you.

You will be advised when a case officer is assigned to your matter. Your case officer will then contact you to seek further information from you and to discuss your request for IC Review with you.

If your contact details change, you would like to update us about your matter or provide additional information, please contact our Enquiries area by e-mail to enquiries@oaic.gov.au. Please quote the reference number MR13/00316 in all correspondence.

Alternatively you may also contact the OAIC on 1300 363 992 (local call cost – calls from mobiles or pay phones may incur higher charges) during business hours, or by fax on (02) 9284 9666.

Yours sincerely

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

2 August 2013

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From: FOI Requests
Attorney-General's Department


Attachment FOI Request Malcolm Blaney Application for Internal Review Clarification Letter.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED
Dear Mr Blaney,

I refer to the Department's internal review decision of your FOI request dated 2 July 2013. Please find attached a clarification letter in relation to the internal review.

Kind Regards

FOI Contact Officer

Freedom of Information and Privacy Section | Office of Corporate Counsel Attorney-General's Department | 3 - 5 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600
Email: [AGD request email]

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Malcolm Blaney left an annotation ()

Since the Attorney-General's Department has refused the request, there is no point replying to them in regards to their latest clarification. I am also waiting for a case officer to be assigned to my review by the Australian Information Commissioner, so instead I will write my reply here.

The Attorney-General's Department state in their letter of clarification that they omitted the word "not" in their earlier draft, and that the sentence instead should read: "the Attorney-General's Department does not have responsibility for decisions in relation to security assessments relating to matters arising under the Migration Act".

I find this clarification even more ridiculous than the initial refusal. It is basic logic that, as the overseeing department of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, they must have responsibility over their own departments decisions. It seems to me that no amount of clarification should let them weasel out of that fact.

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Malcolm Blaney left an annotation ()

For anyone still interested in this request, I had a call from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner today which was very helpful.

The problem with going to the Attorney General's department for information about Security Assessments from ASIO is that the FOI laws specifically exclude replies from ASIO, as well as information originating from ASIO. So even though the AG is responsible, their dealings with ASIO will be exempt.

This makes the Department of Immigration a better target for finding information about a person such as Ranjini. Not that information on the Security Assessment can be obtained, as this is by definition exempt from FOI laws. The next logical step in finding out more information on what's happened to Ranjini and others in her situation, would be to request information on the process that led to the adverse Security Assessment.

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