Search This Blog

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another hard to beat exemption.

It's also hard to beat an exemption claim that release of information would harm international relations when a foreign government says this will result- as was the case this week when Minister Wong revealed Japan had told the Government this would follow any disclosure of additional footage of Japanese whaling activities in the Southern Ocean. The relevant exemption (Section 33) simply states that it applies where there is a reasonable expectation of damage to international relations-no other criteria applies. If another government says so, that's almost certainly game set and match regardless of any other factors. (It's why we should be pushing for a public interest test for all exemptions).

Minister Penny Wong seemed a bit rattled in answering questions about the Freedom of Information applications for the footage by Senator Bob Brown in the Senate on Monday as you will see here. The Minister returned to the subject yesterday when obviously better briefed and able to clear up some confusion about which agencies had dealt with what applications after she became aware that an application had been transferred from her department to Customs.Thanks to Open Australia for these two Hansard links.

No comments:

Post a Comment