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Friday, October 13, 2006

Federal Labor moves on FOI conclusive certificates

Federal Shadow Attorney General, Nicola Roxon, introduced her Freedom of Information Amendment (Abolition of Conclusive Certificates) Bill into Parliament this week. Details of the Bill and her speech are here.

Apart from seeking to abolish ministerial powers to issue certificates under the FOI Act, the Bill would amend the objects to emphasise a pro disclosure bias, and would make it clear that embarrassment is not a factor in weighing public interest considerations.

Given Government majorities in both Houses of Parliament, unfortunately this Bill is going nowhere, but if it gets a second reading we might get to hear from the Government why these changes aren't a good idea.

The Australian Law Reform Commission in 1995 recommended changes to the objects, and removal of powers to issue a conclusive certificate for internal working documents.

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