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Senate Estimates Briefs

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

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From: Julie

Delivered

Dear Department of Veterans' Affairs,

As part of the recent Senate Estimate hearings, which senior executives of the Department appeared before, the Department prepared a series of briefs and talking point packages for those appearing to refer to, and quote from, during proceedings

I request, under FOI, copy of these briefs. While some of the contents would have been repeated by those subject to questioning by the Senate Estimates Committee, not everything briefed on gets said, as it is decided by what the Committee members ask, not what those being questioned wish for.

I note that as briefing material for Senate Estimates is all prepared on the basis it may be stated during these public proceedings, clearance for FOI release should be reasonably straightforward, and given the recency of Senate Estimates, should be able to be quickly located.

Sincerely,

Julie

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From: Julie

Delivered

To the Department of Veterans' Affairs (Information Law area)

I would highlight the unprofessional bad faith behaviour by Veterans’ Affairs, in repeatedly forcing decisions to deemed status, then continuing to ignore the Department’s obligation to provide a decision notice, should be avoided here, as it is frankly becoming not only unlawful but deeply odious.

I note that the Department has failed to comply with s 15(5)(a) and seems intent on creating yet another deemed refusal through malicious intent. It is simply untenable for a Department to act this way.

Disappointed,

Julie

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From: INFORMATION.ACCESS
Department of Veterans' Affairs

Good morning.

Please see to the following.

Regards.

Linda Liu
Assistant Information Access Officer
National Information Access Processing Team (NIAPT)
Department of Veterans' Affairs
Tel : (02) 9213 7629 Fax: (02) 9213 7400

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


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Dear Julie,

 

Acknowledgement of FOI Request – FOI 25907

 

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 15 November 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 17 December 2018.

 

We apologise for not formally acknowledging your request within 14 days.

 

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 25907.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Information Law Team

 

 

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 25907 s24AB consultation notice.pdf
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Dear Julie

 

FOI 25907 - Consultation notice

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your freedom of
information received by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs on 15 November
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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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


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Dear Julie

 

FOI 25907 - Communication - Extension of time under section 15AB of the
FOI Act

 

I am writing with regard to your freedom of information request received
by the Department on 15 November 2018.

 

We would to advise that the Department will be seeking a section 15AB
extension of time from the Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner to process your request and we will be seeking the extension
to 16 January 2019.

 

To finalise this request, the Department will need to review and examine
the 345 pages received so far for decision-making and due to the
complexities involved, may need to consult with third parties and
cross-reference with information that may already be publicly available.
This is expected to be a time consuming task but has value in that we want
to ensure we are able to release appropriate material from these
documents. It is also likely (pending the outcome of the consultation)
that we will need to source further documents.

 

Noting that if the Department does not receive a response from you by the
end of this week regarding the request consultation process, further
complexities may arise as staff will not be present from 25 December 2018
to 1 January 2019 due to the Department’s holiday shutdown period. We
would like to provide better certainty for you as well as the Department
around this decision.

 

Please note that your public email address has been provided to the OAIC
in case they deem it appropriate to contact you about our extension
request.

 

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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From: FOIDR


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Attachment RQ1803741 15AB Decision to Applicant.pdf
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Dear Julie

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your FOI request.

 

Kind regards

 

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01D446AF.83C3DEE0   Irene Nicolaou  |  Assistant Director

Freedom of information

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001  |  [2]oaic.gov.au

+61 2 9284 9749  |  [3][email address]
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newsletter

 

 

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From: Julie

Delivered

Dear Irene Nicolaou, Assistant Director of Freedom of Information, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

As you would be aware, this FOI was made to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs on 15 November 2018.

As such, under s 15(5)(b) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982, the Department was required to provide a decision by Monday 17 December 2018.

Instead, on the evening of the 17 December 2018, the Department issued a bad faith consultation notice, claiming it couldn’t understand the scope of the FOI (despite articulating exactly the documents in scope within that notice), raised the Christmas holidays (despite the decision falling due before the holidays), and gave two days notice for consultation (despite the delay of 14 days such consultation causes to the statutory deadline).

Importantly, prior extensions of time given to the Department have not been adhered to, instead leading to over six decisions with deemed refusals that still remain unanswered despite months passing, and other extensions have led to subsequent s 15AB extensions, or practical refusals or other bad faith delays.

I note the following that bar for the last minute bad faith consultation notice, whose 14 day period of consultation was not compiled with by the Department, this decision is effectively a deemed refusal decision. Consultations don’t take place on the expiry date of the s 15(5)(b) deadline.

Secondly, your decision to rapidly grant a s 15AB extension for this FOI, without consultation with me, contrary to your own guidelines and the the common law principles of natural justice, when the Department has previously breached such s 15AB extensions and has multiple deemed refusals outstanding, is appalling and lacks rationally.

At worse, it displays bad faith, at best, a callous indifference.

I would also point out that s 15AB only can be granted if the FOI is voluminous and complex, and cannot be abused under other grounds, such as Departmental incompetence or malice, alleged need to consult undefined others or other claimed grounds.

I request that copy of the Department’s s 15AB application be provided to me, and I formally complain about your decision, and given notice that I will seek to have it formally reviewed as it is clear the s 15AB of the Act is being abused and used contrary to the Act.

Sincerely,

Julie

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


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Attachment FOI 25907 Charges Notice.pdf
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Good afternoon Julie,

 

FOI 25907 – Charges Notice

 

Please find attached important correspondence about your FOI request.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Information Law Section | Legal Services & Assurance 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

 

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


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Attachment FOI 25907 Charges Notice.pdf
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Dear Julie

 

I am writing with regard to your freedom of information (FOI) request
received by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (Department) on 15
November 2018.

 

On 21 December 2018, the Department notified you of a preliminary
assessment of charges in accordance with section 29(1) of the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). In that letter, we advised that unless we
heard from you within 30 days of receipt of the letter (21 January 2019),
your request will be taken to be withdrawn.

 

I am writing to advise you that your FOI request (FOI 25907) has been
withdrawn pursuant to section 29(2) of the FOI Act.

 

Kind regards

 

Information Law Section | Legal Services & Assurance Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

E: [1][email address]

 

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

 

From: INFORMATION.LAW
Sent: Friday, 21 December 2018 12:06 PM
To: '[FOI #5111 email]'
<[FOI #5111 email]>
Subject: FOI 25907 – Charge Notice [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

 

Good afternoon Julie,

 

FOI 25907 – Charges Notice

 

Please find attached important correspondence about your FOI request.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Information Law Section | Legal Services & Assurance Branch

Legal Assurance and Governance Division

Department of Veterans’ Affairs
E: [3][email address] | W: [4]www.dva.gov.au

 

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

 

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From: FOIDR


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Attachment Service complaint response RQ18 03741 31 January 2019.pdf
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Attachment FOI 25907 s15AB EOT.pdf
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Dear Julie

 

Please find attached a response to your complaint dated 20 December 2018.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01D446AF.83C3DEE0   Allan Teves  |  Director

Freedom of Information

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001  |  [2]oaic.gov.au

+61 2 9284 9643   |  [3][email address]
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