seeking the assessment of service in Iraq and documents evidencing consultations with DFAT and Defence

Trav S made this Freedom of Information request to Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

The request was refused by Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

From: Trav S

Delivered

Dear Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet,

On 19 April 2004, PM&C wrote to the Minister responsible for honours policy recommending they seek the Governor-General declare service in Iraq eligible for the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal.

PM&C advised the Minister that:

"Following an assessment of service of service in Iraq and consultation with DFAT and Defence, it was agreed that service in Iraq meets the criteria of the medal's regulations and should be declared as eligible service for the medal".

We request a copy of:

1. the assessment of service in Iraq, and

2. the documents recording, or evidencing the consultations with DFAT and Defence.

Yours faithfully,

Trav S

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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OFFICIAL

 

FOI/2020/172

 

Dear Trav S

 

Thank you for your email dated 28 July 2020, 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:

 

On 19 April 2004, PM&C wrote to the Minister responsible for honours
policy recommending they seek the Governor-General declare service in Iraq
eligible for the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal. 

 

PM&C advised the Minister that:

 

"Following an assessment of service of service in Iraq and consultation
with DFAT and Defence, it was agreed that service in Iraq meets the
criteria of the medal's regulations and should be declared as eligible
service for the medal".

 

We request a copy of:

 

1.  the assessment of service in Iraq, and

 

2.  the documents recording, or evidencing the consultations with DFAT and
Defence. [Department reference: FOI/2020/172]

 

Timeframe for receiving your decision

 

Your request was received on 28 July 2020 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 27 August 2020. 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:

·         any person’s signature;

·         the names and contact details of Australian Public Service
officers not in the Senior Executive Service (SES);

·         the mobile or direct numbers of SES officers;

·         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....

 

Sincerely

 

FOI Adviser

FOI and Privacy | Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. (02) 6271 5849

e. [5][DPMC request email] | w. [6]www.pmc.gov.au

One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

 

[7]cid:image001.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[8]cid:image002.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[9]cid:image003.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00 [10]cid:image004.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

The Department acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country
throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, waters and
community. We pay our respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both
past and present.

 

 

 

 

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From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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OFFICIAL

 

Dear Trav S

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your request under the
Freedom of Information Act 1982.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI Adviser

FOI and Privacy Section | Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

[1]http://www.dcducks.com/wp-content/themes...
6271 5849

[2]http://cdn.mysitemyway.com/icons-waterma... request email]

[4]https://www.musicianswithoutborders.org/...

PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

[6]cid:image001.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[7]cid:image002.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[8]cid:image003.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[9]cid:image004.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

[10]cid:image005.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

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From: Trav S

Delivered

Dear FOI,

Thanks for searching for the documents.

The $31.90 deposit has just been paid into PM&C account via EFT.

Please disregard the Medal's Letters Patent or governing regulations from the request.

Yours sincerely,

Trav S

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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OFFICIAL

 

Dear Trav S,

 

I am writing in relation to your FOI request with the Department of the
Prime Minister and Cabinet – reference: FOI/2020/172.

 

I confirm that the Department received your deposit of $31.90 on the 25
August 2020 and recommenced processing your request.

 

Request for extension of time

 

A decision is due by Monday, 31 August 2020, however the Department
requests a 14-day extension of time to undertake a consultation.

 

We would be grateful for your written confirmation by 12pm on Monday, 31
August 2020.

 

Kind regards,

 

FOI Adviser

FOI and Privacy Section | Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

[1]http://www.dcducks.com/wp-content/themes...
6271 5849

[2]http://cdn.mysitemyway.com/icons-waterma... request email]

[4]https://www.musicianswithoutborders.org/...

PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

[6]cid:image001.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[7]cid:image002.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[8]cid:image003.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[9]cid:image004.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

[10]cid:image005.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

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From: Trav S

Delivered

Dear FOI,

Sure, thats fine.

Yours sincerely,

Trav S

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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Attachment FOI 2020 172 Schedule.pdf
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OFFICIAL

 

FOI/2020/172

 

Dear  Trav S

 

Please find attached the decision in relation to the request you made to
the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982.

 

Kind regards,

 

FOI Adviser

FOI and Privacy Section| Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

[1]http://www.dcducks.com/wp-content/themes...
6271 5849 |
[2]http://cdn.mysitemyway.com/icons-waterma... request email]
|
[4]https://www.musicianswithoutborders.org/...

One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

[6]cid:image001.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[7]cid:image002.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[8]cid:image003.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[9]cid:image004.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

[10]cid:image005.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

 

 

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From: Trav S

Delivered

Dear FOI,

Payment made

Yours sincerely,

Trav S

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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OFFICIAL

 

FOI/2020/172

 

Dear Trav S

 

Please find attached the documents in relation to the request you made to
the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982.

 

Also attached are your receipts for payment of the FOI charges.

 

Kind regards,

 

FOI Adviser

FOI and Privacy Section| Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

[1]http://www.dcducks.com/wp-content/themes...
6271 5849 |
[2]http://cdn.mysitemyway.com/icons-waterma... request email]
|
[4]https://www.musicianswithoutborders.org/...

One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

[6]cid:image001.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[7]cid:image002.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[8]cid:image003.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[9]cid:image004.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

[10]cid:image005.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

 

 

 

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From: Trav S

Delivered

Dear FOI,

Thank you for disclosing the information. Please accept my request for an internal review of Mr Rush's decision to refuse access to information via Section 47C and 47E conditional exemptions.

Freedom of Information legislation provides that conditionally exempt documents must be disclosed unless disclosure is contrary to the public interest. In this case it’s reasonable to put that the factors weigh heavily in favour of disclosure and that disclosure is in the public interest.

The requested documents regard an assessment justifying the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal (HOSM) declaration for Iraq in 2004. Civilian operational service recognition is an important Australian cultural construct and PM&C’s Honours and Symbols Branch are the custodians of this culture. It’s reasonable to enquire into the efficacy of the Branch’s assessments given the public record apparently evidences administrative gaps in the HOSM assessment for Iraq.

The Honours Branch have stated only two organisations were consulted following their assessment for Iraq despite it being evident at the time of the assessment that there were more than two relevant stakeholder organisations involved.

The Honours Branch and the public service officers undertaking the assessment had a moral and potentially a statutory duty to undertake comprehensive assessments considerate of all relevant stakeholder before providing advice to Government. It’s reasonable for the public to scrutinise this process given the apparent gaps in this assessment. It’s unclear why relevant stakeholders were not offered the opportunity to present a submission for consideration during the assessment.

The Iraq War was the first time in Australia’s history that the Commonwealth Government applied an all-of-government approach utilising a mix of public servants and contractors to comprise an humanitarian contingent amidst and ongoing war. It was also the first time Government decided to engage former armed service veterans to provide essential functions to an Australian humanitarian contingent. None of this appears to be captured in the Honours Branch's assessment.

For these reasons alone it was imperative that the Honours Branch undertook and comprehensive assessment and the information available to the public does not show that this occurred. The FOI legislation holds that the public should expect Government departments to operate fairly and transparently in their administrative decision making and to be accountable for their decisions.

The Commonwealth Government states the Australian Honours system is predicated on:

“a sense of fairness, equity and compassion and an egalitarian commitment to acknowledge the quality of service and substance of action without regard to status or class”.

The Sovereign and head of the Australian Honours system and the Australian Prime Minister state the HOSM was instituted for the purpose of:

“according recognition to persons who have given humanitarian service in hazardous circumstances outside Australia”.

The assessment evidently overlooks relevant stakeholders that meet these definitions and it’s in the public interest to understand the degree to which the Honours Branch applies the HOSM’s legislative definitions in their administration decisions regarding the HOSM. Disclosure in this case will promote the objects of the FOI Act, and will increase scrutiny, discussion, comment and review of government’s administration of Australia’s honours system.

Yours faithfully,

Trav S

Yours sincerely,

Trav S

Link to this

This message has been hidden. Hidden at the request of the Applicant - Duplicate of Internal Review Please contact us if you have any questions.

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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OFFICIAL

 

FOI/2020/172IR

 

Dear Trav S

 

Thank you for your email dated 17 September 2020, received by the
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (the Department), in which
you made a request for internal review of the Department’s decision of 14
September 2020, in relation to your request under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act) (reference: FOI/2020/172IR).

 

Timeframe for receiving your decision

 

We received your request for internal review on 17 September 2020 and the
30-day statutory period for internal review commenced from the day after 
that date. You should therefore expect a decision from us by 19 October
2020.

 

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:

·         any person’s signature;

·         the names and contact details of Australian Public Service
officers not in the Senior Executive Service (SES);

·         the mobile or direct numbers of SES officers;

·         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

FOI and Privacy Section| Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

[5]http://www.dcducks.com/wp-content/themes...
6271 5849
[6]http://cdn.mysitemyway.com/icons-waterma... request email]

[8]https://www.musicianswithoutborders.org/...

One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

[10]cid:image001.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[11]cid:image002.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[12]cid:image003.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00 [13]cid:image004.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

[14]cid:image005.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

 

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OFFICIAL

 

FOI/2020/172/IR

 

Dear Trav S

 

Please find attached the internal review decision in relation to your
request.

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Adviser

FOI and Privacy Section| Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

[1]http://www.dcducks.com/wp-content/themes...
6271 5849 |
[2]http://cdn.mysitemyway.com/icons-waterma... request email]
|
[4]https://www.musicianswithoutborders.org/...

One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

[6]cid:image001.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[7]cid:image002.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[8]cid:image003.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[9]cid:image004.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

[10]cid:image005.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

 

 

 

 

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From: Trav S

Delivered

Dear FOI,

Thank you for undertaking the IR review.

In our view the public interest factors in favour of disclosure outweigh the factors for non-disclosure.

The Branch administering the HOSM is charged with providing comprehensive advice to government. There appears to be significant gaps in the assessment of service informing the 2004 HOSM declaration for Iraq. Australian government contractors serving with the Australian contingent to the rehabilitation program in Iraq carried out by the Coalition Provisional Authority do not appear to have been identified or considered. Relevant stakeholder organisations participating in the relief operation were evidently denied the opportunity to present detailed submissions regarding HOSM eligibility for consideration.

Disclosure of the conditionally exempted information will reveal if the Australian government contractors engaged to assist in the reconstruction efforts in Iraq were considered by the assessment or subsequent stakeholder consultations.

Yours sincerely,

Trav S

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