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Sunday, April 23, 2006

FOI in the news

Media reports based on FOI applications over the last week included:

The Australian 17 April – documents reveal that the NSW Government has spent $385,442 since 2003 on its trial of a digital TV channel “Channel NSW”. It seems not many viewers tune in to live traffic reports, weather forecasts and announcements from some government entities.

The Opposition points out that this trial is in stark contrast with the fact that the Premier seems to the only government leader anywhere in Australia who doesn’t have a website providing access to media releases and speeches. Most NSW ministers are in the same boat.

Although the Federal Government has its own weaknesses when it comes to transparency, the Prime Minister has set a high standard on his website which contains a very public record of everything he says about anything.

If you like I had never heard of Channel NSW you will find details here.

Daily Telegraph 19 April – Collapse of the Safe House Program in many Sydney suburbs.

Courier Mail 20 April – Plans for civilianisation of key Police operational jobs.

Daily Telegraph 20 April – Crime rife on University campuses (the headline writer seems to have got a little carried away here). The report had information about security incidents at Macquarie, Sydney and UNSW universities.

Tony Stephens in the Weekend edition of the Sydney Morning Herald (“Enemies in the corridors of power”) has a look at the history of the Herald’s relationship with government over its 175 year history. The article includes reference to the 1971 clash with the NSW government over Philip Arantz who blew the whistle about public deception over the Police clean up rate on major crime. (In our view Arantz should be regarded as the Godfather of FOI and protected disclosure legislation in this state). Stephens comments that the most serious clashes with government these days now centre on the law, in the areas of FOI, court suppression orders and extension of Police powers to access journalists records.

As always some links 'disappear' quickly from the free content.

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