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

Seeking correspondence informing AusAID of a change in agreement

We're waiting for Trav S to read a recent response and update the status.

Dear PMC, please accept this request for information in accordance with the FOI Act.

On 19 March 2012, your department emailed AusAID (DFAT) stating ‘further to your recent discussion with Peter, here’s draft text for your consideration that we propose to brief the new PSPM Senator Jan McLucas with soon’. Titled ‘amendment of humanitarian overseas service medal (iraq) declaration 2004 to extend to specified commercial contractors’ the document recommended the PSPM:

‘1. Sign the letter to the Governor-General recommending she makes a declaration under HOSM Regulations 2011, extending eligibility for the ‘Iraq’ clasp to the medal, to specified commercial contractors (Attachment A).
2. Sign the proposed Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal (Iraq) Declaration 2011 (Attachment B).'

On 11 April 2012 your department emailed AusAID (DFAT) providing a written agreement to ‘settle the declaration … and brief the PSPM next week’. However FOI investigations reveal your department evidently withheld the documents from PSPM McLucas.

Please provide a copy of your department's subsequent correspondence to AusAID regarding this matter. Please limit the search to subsequent correspondence occurring between 11 April and 5 December 2012.

Thank you for your time. Kind regards, Trav S

FOI, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

4 Attachments

OFFICIAL

FOI/2021/267

 

Dear Trav S

 

Thank you for your email dated 18 October 2021, received by the Department
of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (the Department), in which you made a
request to the Department under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the
FOI Act) in the following terms:

 

Dear PMC, please accept this request for information in accordance with
the FOI Act.

On 19 March 2012, your department emailed AusAID (DFAT) stating ‘further
to your recent discussion with Peter, here’s draft text for your
consideration that we propose to brief the new PSPM Senator Jan McLucas
with soon’.  Titled ‘amendment of humanitarian overseas service medal
(iraq) declaration 2004 to extend to specified commercial contractors’ the
document recommended the PSPM:

‘1.  Sign the letter to the Governor-General recommending she makes a
declaration under HOSM Regulations 2011, extending eligibility for the
‘Iraq’ clasp to the medal, to specified commercial contractors (Attachment
A). 

2.  Sign the proposed Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal (Iraq)
Declaration 2011 (Attachment B).'

On 11 April 2012 your department emailed AusAID (DFAT) providing a written
agreement to ‘settle the declaration … and brief the PSPM next week’. 
However FOI investigations reveal your department evidently withheld the
documents from PSPM McLucas. 

Please provide a copy of your department's subsequent correspondence to
AusAID regarding this matter.  Please limit the search to subsequent
correspondence occurring between 11 April and 5 December 2012.

Thank you for your time.  Kind regards, Trav S

Timeframe for receiving your decision

 

We received your request on 9 October 2021 and the 30 day statutory period
for processing your request commenced from the day after that date. You
should therefore expect a decision from us by 17 November 2021. The period
of 30 days may be extended in certain circumstances. We will advise you if
there is any extension of time.

 

Charges

 

Agencies may decide that an applicant is liable to pay a charge in respect
of a request for access to documents. If the Department decides that you
are liable to pay a charge, we will send you a preliminary assessment of
the charge as soon as possible.

 

Publication of documents

 

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may later be
published online on our disclosure log at
[1]https://www.pmc.gov.au/government/depart...,
subject to certain exceptions. If you think you might wish to raise any
objections to the publication of any of the information which may be
released to you please contact us by email at [2][DPMC request email].  If you
do wish to object to the publication of information, you would need to
provide supporting reasons.

 

Exclusion of officers’ names and contact details

 

For documents that fall within scope of the request, it is the
Department’s policy to withhold:

o any person’s signature;
o the names and contact details of Australian Public Service officers
not in the Senior Executive Service (SES);
o the mobile or direct numbers of SES officers;
o the names and contact details of Ministerial staff at a level below
Chief of Staff.

 

The names and other details of SES officers will not be withheld unless
there is some reason for that information to be exempt from release. If
you require signatures, the names and contact details of non-SES officers
or Ministerial staff below the level of Chief of Staff, or the mobile or
direct numbers of SES officers please let us know at [3][DPMC request email] so
the decision-maker may consider; otherwise we will take it that you agree
to that information being excluded from the scope of your request (that
is, the information will be treated as irrelevant and redacted from any
documents for release).

 

We will write again when the Department has more information.  Further
information on FOI processing can be found at the website of the Office of
the Australian Information Commissioner
[4]https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor....

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Adviser[]

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. (02) 6271 5849

Ngunnawal Country, One National Circuit  Barton  ACT  2600  |  PO Box
6500  CANBERRA  ACT  2600
e. [5][DPMC request email]  w. [6]pmc.gov.au

[7]cid:image001.jpg@01D78E24.FF2DAFB0[8]cid:image002.jpg@01D78E24.FF2DAFB0

[9]cid:image003.jpg@01D78E24.FF2DAFB0 The
Department
acknowledges
and pays
respect to
the past,
present and
emerging
Elders and
Traditional
Custodians
of Country,
and the
continuation
of cultural,
spiritual
and
educational
practices of
Aboriginal
and Torres
Strait
Islander
peoples.

 

 

 

______________________________________________________________________ 
IMPORTANT: This message, and any attachments to it, contains information 
that is confidential and may also be the subject of legal professional or 
other privilege. If you are not the intended recipient of this message,
you 
must not review, copy, disseminate or disclose its contents to any other 
party or take action in reliance of any material contained within it. If
you 
have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately
by 
return email informing them of the mistake and delete all copies of the 
message from your computer system. 
______________________________________________________________________

References

Visible links
1. https://www.pmc.gov.au/government/depart...
2. mailto:[DPMC request email]
3. mailto:[DPMC request email]
4. https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...
5. mailto:[DPMC request email]
6. https://www.pmc.gov.au/
7. https://twitter.com/pmc_gov_au
8. https://www.linkedin.com/company/departm...

FOI, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

5 Attachments

OFFICIAL

Dear Trav S

 

Please see attached a decision for your request under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982.

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Adviser[]

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. (02) 6271 5849

Ngunnawal Country, One National Circuit  Barton  ACT  2600  |  PO Box
6500  CANBERRA  ACT  2600
e. [1][DPMC request email]  w. [2]pmc.gov.au

[3]cid:image001.jpg@01D78E24.FF2DAFB0[4]cid:image002.jpg@01D78E24.FF2DAFB0

[5]cid:image003.jpg@01D78E24.FF2DAFB0 The
Department
acknowledges
and pays
respect to
the past,
present and
emerging
Elders and
Traditional
Custodians
of Country,
and the
continuation
of cultural,
spiritual
and
educational
practices of
Aboriginal
and Torres
Strait
Islander
peoples.

 

 

 

______________________________________________________________________ 
IMPORTANT: This message, and any attachments to it, contains information 
that is confidential and may also be the subject of legal professional or 
other privilege. If you are not the intended recipient of this message,
you 
must not review, copy, disseminate or disclose its contents to any other 
party or take action in reliance of any material contained within it. If
you 
have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately
by 
return email informing them of the mistake and delete all copies of the 
message from your computer system. 
______________________________________________________________________

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[DPMC request email]
2. https://www.pmc.gov.au/
3. https://twitter.com/pmc_gov_au
4. https://www.linkedin.com/company/departm...

Dear FOI, thank you for your email. Please review the decision and take the following into consideration:
1. The document is materially relevant to proceedings before the Information Commissioner. The public is entitled to scrutinise government decisions that adversely affect them and the document will be submitted as evidence in those proceedings. Releasing the document with redactions clearly serves the objects of the FOI Act.
2. The Australian Courts have ruled that information such as an email subject line, address block, salutation, classification, closing words and signature block is not exempt under section 42 of the FOI Act.
3. An Australian public servant sent the document to another Australian public servant. Those public servants and the infrastructure enabling the emails are publicly funded. The public is entitled to know which government department corresponded with which government agency. The name and position of the decision maker is relevant to proceedings before the Information Commissioner. We request this information be disclosed.
4. Regarding the conditional exemptions, the public interest factors favouring disclosure appear to outweigh those against. We have previously demonstrated the public interest of this case to the Information Commissioner. Added to that, procedural fairness and natural justice holds that those adversely affected by a government decision are generally entitled to know the reasons for the decision. Given the department's previous erroneous and manifestly unreasonable HOSM advice to government the public needs to scrutinise their advice in this case.
Thank you for your time.
Yours sincerely,
Trav S

Please add the following to our earlier contentions:

5. The APS Code-of-Conduct imposes binding obligations on Australian public servants in connect with their APS employment. Public servants must behave honestly and with integrity, and act with care and diligence. The public are entitled to scrutinise the department’s decision-making and advice to AusAID to assess if it does or does not comply with the obligations imposed by the APS Act. Documents obtained via FOI show very significant omissions/errors in the department’s HOSM assessments and the integrity of the associated processes is in doubt in this case. The public are entitled to know the truthfulness of the department's advice to AusAID as there are many sound causes for concern regarding the integrity department’s advice on this matter. For example, FOI reveals the department withheld documents from a ministerial decision maker; the department provided manifestly unreasonable and clearly erroneous advice to government; the department omitted written agreements and materially relevant evidence from their deliberations, reports and advice to government; they appear to have failed to honour written agreements. The public expects public servants will be accountable for their decision. The public have a vested interested in determining the degree to which public servants complied with their duties and obligations in this case.

FOI, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

4 Attachments

OFFICIAL

Dear Trav S

 

Thank you for your two emails, received by the Department of the Prime
Minister and Cabinet (the Department) on 16 November 2021, in which you
sought internal review of the decision for your FOI request FOI/2021/267
in the following terms:

 

Please review the decision and take the following into consideration: 

1.  The document is materially relevant to proceedings before the
Information Commissioner.  The public is entitled to scrutinise government
decisions that adversely affect them and the document will be submitted as
evidence in those proceedings.  Releasing the document with redactions
clearly serves the objects of the FOI Act.

2.  The Australian Courts have ruled that information such as an email
subject line, address block, salutation, classification, closing words and
signature block is not exempt under section 42 of the FOI Act.

3.  An Australian public servant sent the document to another Australian
public servant.  Those public servants and the infrastructure enabling the
emails are publicly funded.  The public is entitled to know which
government department corresponded with which government agency.  The name
and position of the decision maker is relevant to proceedings before the
Information Commissioner.  We request this information be disclosed.

4.  Regarding the conditional exemptions,  the public interest factors
favouring disclosure appear to outweigh those against.  We have previously
demonstrated the public interest of this case to the Information
Commissioner.  Added to that, procedural fairness and natural justice
holds that those adversely affected by a government decision are generally
entitled to know the reasons for the decision.  Given the department's
previous erroneous and manifestly unreasonable HOSM advice to government
the public needs to scrutinise their advice in this case.

5.  The APS Code-of-Conduct imposes binding obligations on Australian
public servants in connect with their APS employment.  Public servants
must behave honestly and with integrity, and act with care and diligence. 
The public are entitled to scrutinise the department’s decision-making and
advice to AusAID to assess if it does or does not comply with the
obligations imposed by the APS Act.  Documents obtained via FOI show very
significant omissions/errors in the department’s HOSM assessments and the
integrity of the associated processes is in doubt in this case.  The
public are entitled to know the truthfulness of the department's advice to
AusAID as there are many sound causes for concern regarding the integrity
department’s advice on this matter.  For example, FOI reveals the
department withheld documents from a ministerial decision maker; the
department provided manifestly unreasonable and clearly erroneous advice
to government;  the department omitted written agreements and materially
relevant evidence from their deliberations, reports and advice to
government;  they appear to have failed to honour written agreements.  The
public expects public servants will be accountable for their decision. 
The public have a vested interested in determining the degree to which
public servants complied with their duties and obligations in this case.

Timeframe for receiving your internal review decision

 

We received your request for internal review on 16 November 2021 and the
30-day statutory period for internal review commenced from the day after
that date. You should therefore expect the internal review decision from
us by 16 December 2021.

 

Publication of documents

 

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may later be
published online on our disclosure log at
[1]https://www.pmc.gov.au/government/depart...,
subject to certain exceptions. If you think you might wish to raise any
objections to the publication of any of the information which may be
released to you please contact us by email at [2][DPMC request email]. If you do
wish to object to the publication of information, you would need to
provide supporting reasons.

 

Exclusion of officers’ names and contact details

 

For documents that fall within scope of the request, it is the
Department’s policy to withhold:

o any person’s signature;
o the names and contact details of Australian Public Service officers
not in the Senior Executive Service (SES);
o the mobile or direct numbers of SES officers;
o the names and contact details of Ministerial staff at a level below
Chief of Staff.

 

The names and other details of SES officers will not be withheld unless
there is some reason for that information to be exempt from release. If
you require signatures, the names and contact details of non-SES officers
or Ministerial staff below the level of Chief of Staff, or the mobile or
direct numbers of SES officers please let us know at [3][DPMC request email] so
the decision-maker may consider; otherwise we will take it that you agree
to that information being excluded from the scope of your request (that
is, the information will be treated as irrelevant and redacted from any
documents for release).

 

We will write again when the Department has more information. Further
information on FOI processing can be found at the website of the Office of
the Australian Information Commissioner
[4]https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor....

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Adviser[]

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. (02) 6271 5849

Ngunnawal Country, One National Circuit  Barton  ACT  2600  |  PO Box
6500  CANBERRA  ACT  2600
e. [5][DPMC request email]  w. [6]pmc.gov.au

[7]cid:image001.jpg@01D78E24.FF2DAFB0[8]cid:image002.jpg@01D78E24.FF2DAFB0

[9]cid:image003.jpg@01D78E24.FF2DAFB0 The
Department
acknowledges
and pays
respect to
the past,
present and
emerging
Elders and
Traditional
Custodians
of Country,
and the
continuation
of cultural,
spiritual
and
educational
practices of
Aboriginal
and Torres
Strait
Islander
peoples.

 

 

 

______________________________________________________________________ 
IMPORTANT: This message, and any attachments to it, contains information 
that is confidential and may also be the subject of legal professional or 
other privilege. If you are not the intended recipient of this message,
you 
must not review, copy, disseminate or disclose its contents to any other 
party or take action in reliance of any material contained within it. If
you 
have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately
by 
return email informing them of the mistake and delete all copies of the 
message from your computer system. 
______________________________________________________________________

References

Visible links
1. https://www.pmc.gov.au/government/depart...
2. mailto:[DPMC request email]
3. mailto:[DPMC request email]
4. https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...
5. mailto:[DPMC request email]
6. https://www.pmc.gov.au/
7. https://twitter.com/pmc_gov_au
8. https://www.linkedin.com/company/departm...

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