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The APS and political lobby groups

M Poler made this Freedom of Information request to Australian Public Service Commission

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From: M Poler

Delivered

Dear Australian Public Service Commission,

The Public Service Act 1999 provides that the functions of the Public Service Commissioner include the upholding of high standards of integrity and conduct in the APS and the promotion of the APS Values and APS Code of Conduct.

I’m aware the former Public Service Commissioner, John Lloyd, used Commonwealth resources to correspond and otherwise communicate with the Executive Director (John Roskam) of far right wing, Liberal Party aligned, political lobby group, the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA).

Under the FOI Act, I seek access to any emails contained in all of John Lloyd’s email account (including deleted items) that contain the following word (in the body of an email and/or in the addressee fields of an email): “Roskam”.

Relevant documents can be quickly identified by searching “All Outlook Items” in Mr Lloyd’s outlook client for the word: “Roskam”.
I’m happy for the personal information of any person to be redacted from relevant documents except for Mr Lloyd’s and Mr Roskam’s personal information and except for the personal information of any person who was a public servant at the relevant time.

The documents the subject of my request are of significant public interest to the entire APS and the broader Australian public because they will provide clear guidance as to what the APSC /LNP Government considers appropriate, acceptable and legal interactions between those persons subject to the requirements of the Public Service Act 1999 and political lobby groups – whether those lobby groups are the IPA and similar groups such as AMBLA and the United Patriots Front, or more moderate groups such as GetUp! and the Socialist Alliance. Given the role of the APSC, such APSC led guidance, as demonstrated by the Public Service Commissioner, will be invaluable for the entirety of the APS, particularly in the lead up to a Federal election.

Yours faithfully,
M Poler

Link to this

From: FOI
Australian Public Service Commission

FOI reference C19/464

 

Acknowledgement of FOI request

 

 

Dear M Poler

 

1.       The Australian Public Service Commission (the Commission)
acknowledges receipt of your request for access to documents under the
Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act), as follows:

 

I seek access to any emails contained in all of John Lloyd’s email account
(including deleted items) that contain the following word (in the body of
an email and/or in the addressee fields of an email): “Roskam”.

 

2.       Your request was received on 22 February 2019.  The statutory
timeframe for responding to your request under the FOI Act is 30 days from
the date of receipt.  This timeframe may be extended in certain
circumstances, and we will advise you if such circumstances arise.

 

Charges

 

3.       Section 29 of the FOI Act provides that agencies may apply a
processing charge for access to documents, where the request does not
concern your personal information.  You will be advised if a processing
charges applies.

 

Redaction of junior staff personal information

 

4.       Section 22 of the FOI Act provides that agencies may redact
certain material from documents where the material is deemed irrelevant to
the scope of the request. 

 

5.       The Commission’s policy is to redact the personal information,
including the contact information of public servants who are employed
below the Senior Executive level (SES).  Unless you tell us otherwise, the
Commission will consider that junior agency employees personal information
falls outside the scope of your request, and entries will be redacted.

 

Administrative release

 

6.       Where possible, the Commission will release documents under
administrative access arrangements, outside of the formalities of the FOI
Act.  Unless you advise otherwise, in the processing of your request we
will provide suitable documents to you under these arrangements, and
notify you at the time of release.

 

7.       If you have any questions relating to your request please contact
our office via email to the above address.

 

Regards,

 

 

FOI Officer

Legal Services

 

Australian Public Service Commission

Level 4, B Block, Treasury Building, Parkes Place West, Parkes ACT 2600

GPO Box 3176, Canberra ACT 2601

 

 

Important: This email remains the property of the Commonwealth and is
subject to the jurisdiction of section 70 of the Crimes Act 1914. It may
contain confidential or legally privileged information. If you think it
was sent to you by mistake, please delete all copies and advise the
sender.

Link to this

From: FOI
Australian Public Service Commission

Dear Sir / Madam

I refer to your freedom of information (FOI) request received on 22 February 2019.

In accordance with section 27A of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), the Australian Public Service Commission is consulting with individuals about the disclosure of their personal information. In such circumstances, subsection 15(6) of the FOI Act provides that the timeframe for responding to your request is extended by 30 days.

A response on your request is now due by 23 April 2019.

Regards

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Link to this

From: FOI
Australian Public Service Commission


Attachment FOI letter.pdf
6.1M Download View as HTML

Attachment FOI documents.pdf
14.3M Download View as HTML


Dear Sir / Madam

Please find attached correspondence in response to your request of 22 February 2019.

Regards
___________________________________________________
FOI Officer
Legal Services
Australian Public Service Commission

p : 02 6202 3571
e : [APSC request email] | w : www.apsc.gov.au

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From: M Poler

Delivered

Attn: Michelle Black

I refer to your decision letter of 23 April 2019 in relation to my FOI request.

I seek internal review of your access refusal decisions regarding document 8 at Folio 29 – 31.

By way of background, my request was for email documents concerning former Public Service Commissioner and Director at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), John Lloyd, and his boss, Executive Director of the IPA, John Roskam. The IPA is a far right wing group that represents, or has represented, the political, commercial and other interests of the fossil fuel industry, the tobacco industry and George Pell.

John Lloyd left his job at the IPA in 2014 after he was appointed to the position of Public Service Commissioner by Eric Abetz and Tony Abbott (both of whom are deeply affiliated with the IPA). After advising the Australian Senate last year that he was retiring from the position of Public Service Commissioner and the workforce more generally due to his age, John Lloyd returned, almost immediately, to his job at the IPA where he is currently a Director.

The footer of document 8 at folios 29-31 relevantly states: “IMPORTANT: This email remains the property of the Department of Defence and is subject to the jurisdiction of section 70 of the Crimes Act 2014.”

Section 70 of the Crimes Act was repealed and replaced last year by section 122.4 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act, but at the relevant time (January 2015), section 70 of the Crimes Act governed Mr Lloyd’s dealings with the information contained within document 8 at folios 29-31. Section 70 of the Crimes Act, as it applies to document 8, relevantly states:

“70 Disclosure of information by Commonwealth officers

(1) A person who, being a Commonwealth officer, publishes or communicates, except to some person to whom he or she is authorized to publish or communicate it, any fact or document which comes to his or her knowledge, or into his or her possession, by virtue of being a Commonwealth officer, and which it is his or her duty not to disclose, commits an offence.”

The penalty for an offence under section 70 of the Crimes Act is two years imprisonment.

Having regard to the nature and context of my request, document 8 and your decision (specifically, that the document contains information provided by the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) in relation to matters of national security) it appears to be the case that the former Public Service Commissioner, has received national security related information from the AGSVA in his capacity as a Commonwealth officer, which he has then decided to communicate to a person not authorised to receive that national security information - his friend and employer, John Roskam, being the Executive Director of a far right wing extremist group.

I’m of the view that you have refused access to the document because that document constitutes prima facie evidence of a criminal offence engaged in by the former, and corrupt, Public Service Commissioner, John Lloyd. I consider that you have refused access to that document (or at least most of it) because the release of a document evidencing criminal conduct by the former Public Service Commissioner will not just be politically inconvenient for the APSC, but also the APSC’s key stakeholder, the IPA/Liberal Party. In making that assertion it is relevant to note that the APSC’s senior management group has a history of actively concealing/turning a blind eye to the illegal conduct of John Lloyd for political purposes. There is clearly a strong public interest in evidence of criminal offences engaged in by the former Public Service Commissioner and the prosecution of those offences (see [6.19] of the FOI Guidelines), particularly noting that the former Commissioner has a demonstrable history of engaging in illegal conduct in public office.

The only alternative to that proposition is that the national security information contained in document 8 relates to a security clearance sought by Mr Lloyd, for his friend/employer, John Roskam (or indeed some other colleague of John Lloyd’s at the IPA). There is a strong public interest in circumstances where the former, corrupt, Public Service Commissioner, has sought, or has been involved in, obtaining a security clearance for someone like John Roskam (being the executive director of a far right wing extremist group), or indeed any of John Lloyd’s other right wing extremist IPA colleagues, so that such persons can access Government held classified information.

Yours sincerely,

M Poler

Link to this

From: GRADY,Sayuri
Australian Public Service Commission


Attachment Document 8 Redacted.pdf
193K Download View as HTML


Request for internal review

FOI C19/464

 

Dear M Poler,

 

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your request for internal review
made on 3 May 2019, available at
[1]https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/t...,
and to ask if you would like to withdraw your request.

 

Your request for internal review states that document 8 either:

1)            includes an inappropriate disclosure; or

2)            is about a security clearance application by a person
associated with the Institute of Public Affairs.

 

I can confirm that Mr Roskam was neither an author or recipient of any
email message in document 8.  Please note that the only two recipients of
email messages in the email thread of document 8 are Mr Lloyd and an
official of the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) –
with emails addresses coming from the domain ‘defence.gov.au’. I have
attached another version of the document without the relevant redactions
to part of the email addresses to show this.

 

In relation to your second contention, I can confirm that document 8 does
not concern a security clearance for any person outside the Australian
Public Service. More information about:

- AGSVA;

- who needs a clearance and who can get a clearance;

- how you get a clearance;

- what information is collected as part of a clearance; and

- third parties that may be contacted as part of clearance

can be found at [2]http://www.defence.gov.au/agsva/.

 

In light of the above, please advise whether you wish to maintain your
request for internal review. 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Sayuri Grady
General Counsel 

Australian Public Service Commission

 

Important: This email remains the property of the Commonwealth and is
subject to the jurisdiction of section 122.4 of the Commonwealth Criminal
Code Act 1995. It may contain confidential or legally privileged
information. If you think it was sent to you by mistake, please delete all
copies and advise the sender.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/t...
2. http://www.defence.gov.au/agsva/

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From: M Poler

Delivered

Dear Ms Grady

Your advice notwithstanding, it is a matter of public interest that Mr Roskam, being the leader of a far right extremist group with deep ties to the pederast community/Liberal Party, has come to the attention of our national security agencies – particularly in the context of national security related communications with Mr Lloyd, being a Director of the same far right wing extremist group and a corrupt political appointee of the IPA/Liberal Party. That is especially the case in the current context of increasing public interest in, and scrutiny of, far right extremist groups such as the IPA.

Noting that at least since 2014, the APSC has conducted itself as if it were a subsidiary of the IPA/Liberal Party and whose primary objectives are to promote the policies of the IPA/Liberal Party and to protect the IPA/Liberal Party from political embarrassment, your email offers me little reassurance that the APSC’s dealings with this matter constitute anything other than another attempt by senior management at the APSC to protect the IPA/Liberal Party from matters that are in the public interest, but that may be political inconvenient for the APSC/IPA/Liberal Party.

That being so, can you offer me any further context to assist my consideration of whether to withdraw my request for internal review? For example, if Mr Roskam has been mentioned in the relevant documents only in the context of him being a referee in support of Mr Lloyd’s security clearance, or to simply confirm Mr Lloyd’s employment at the IPA in support of Mr Lloyd’s application for a security clearance, then it’s reasonable to conclude that Mr Roskam has been identified by our national security agencies in a purely incidental, administrative sense; which would be a factor favouring withdrawal of my request for internal review.

I await your further advice.

Link to this

From: FOI
Australian Public Service Commission

FOI C19/464

Dear M Poler,

I can confirm that Mr Roskam's name occurs in document 8 in an incidental sense. Document 8 is relatively routine in nature and is not of a type that you allege. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide you with any further information.

Please let me know by 17 May 2019 whether you would like your request for review to be withdrawn.

Yours sincerely,

Sayuri Grady
General Counsel

Australian Public Service Commission

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From: M Poler

Delivered

Thank you for your email.

Having regard to character of the individuals involved and the national security context, there's a public interest in this matter being independently reviewed. Accordingly, I maintain my request for internal review, and if the IPA, in conducting its internal review, confirms its own access refusal decision, I'll seek independent review by the Information Commissioner.

Yours sincerely,
M Poler

Link to this

From: FOI
Australian Public Service Commission


Attachment C19 464 Internal Review.pdf.pdf
2.4M Download View as HTML

Attachment Document 8.pdf.pdf
250K Download View as HTML


UNCLASSIFIED
Dear Sir / Madam

Please find attached correspondence in response to your request for internal review of an access refusal decision.

Regards
___________________________________________________
FOI Officer
Australian Public Service Commission

p : 02 6202 3500
e : [APSC request email]
w : www.apsc.gov.au

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