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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A tale of two tax stories

The latest edition of "Open Government:a journal on Freedom of Information" includes a comparative case study by Dr Judith Bannister of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne of two freedom of information applications for tax policy related documents to treasury departments in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Both agencies resisted disclosure, relying on public interest arguments, but in the UK, the Information Commissioner overruled the decision, the minister did not resort to additional protection of a ministerial veto, and the documents were released. In Australia (the McKinnon case), a ministerial certificate was issued, no holes were found during the restricted reviews that followed, all the way to the High Court, and the documents have never seen the light of day.

Still living in hope that the Rudd Government will deliver on those election promises. Some day.

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