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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Current status of Freedom of Information reform?

Given the numbers in the Senate there may be a chance that Freedom of Information will get a run in debate soon, following this motion by The Greens Senator Milne yesterday:
"That the Senate—
(a)notes that:(i)prior to the 2007 federal election the Australian Labor Party (ALP) promised to reform the Freedom of Information (FOI) process and establish an FOI Commissioner,(ii)at the time the ALP said that ‘The current FOI regime allows the Howard Government to escape real transparency and genuine accountability. For 11 years, the Howard Government has shrunk away from the light of public scrutiny and transparency – by abusing the current FOI laws’,(iii)it took the Government 6 months to decide to release (subject to the agreement of Gunns Ltd) the report by Dr Michael Herzfeld on the potential marine impact of effluent from the Gunns’ pulp mill, and(iv) the Government has recently refused the Senate’s request for the release of the Wilkins report, Strategic Review of Climate Change Policies, citing Howard Government precedence as an excuse; and
(b)calls on the Government:(i)to live up to its election promise to govern with transparency and accountability, strengthening the public interest test for access to information, and (ii)to update the Senate on its review of the FOI process."

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