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Friday, December 05, 2008

First reactions to Queensland's Right to Information draft

A quick look through the 178(!) pages of the Queensland draft Right to Information bill is heartening in many respects, somewhat disheartening in others.

Heartening in particular that the drafting style is straightforward, relatively plain english; in the emphasis on proactive disclosure and agency publishing schemes; to find a great preamble that captures the democratic principles that underpin the legislation; the clear statement of objects to provide a right of access to information unless disclosure on balance is contrary to the public interest; and at least a slimmed down list of exemptions.

Disheartening to see how much detail is needed to list those agencies not covered, types of documents of some agencies excluded, other acts that take precedence, and the long list of public interest factors that may weigh against disclosure. It might be our best effort yet at a modern access to information law, and necessary to spell things out, but page after page of what you can't get and potential arguments to be used to deny access makes for depressing reading.

Here is some of today's media coverage: The Australian's Queensland based FOI Editor Sean Parnell says the "final reforms are far from clear" and points out a couple of instances where the Solomon recommendations haven't been followed.


  1. Anonymous4:41 pm

    Is this a joke? How can this Bill possibly be 178 pages? It appears the government is hinting either that requesters should hire a lawyer to make an information request or, alternatively, that it really doesn't want to be bothered by information requesters and see making the process unnavigatable as an effective deterrence.

    The Queensland government should take a lesson from just about every other province, state and country in the world and trim about 140 to 150 pages.

  2. My thinking entirely- Submissions close at the end of March!