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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The morning after.

Those reptiles of the press were busy after yesterday's Free Speech conference as you will see through the links in this Google News search. Most are generally positive about the Freedom of Information proposals but cautious and conscious of the task ahead and what is involved, not just in FOI, to turn the secrecy ship around. As to opinion, Jack Waterford Canberra Times, (no link available), Sean Parnell in The Australian, and Matthew Moore and the editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald are all interesting. Perhaps the frostiest view of it all is the editorial in The Australian.

The set of documents released yesterday are all here, so you make up your own mind if you like.

From my quick look the couple of reports that say all the existing exemptions in the FOI Act are to go, to be replaced by a single public interest test are not correct.Exemptions stay, some are rejigged and some will have a public interest component for the first time. Those hoary old public interest chestnuts-confusion, possible misinterpretation, communication by senior officers etc- are to be legislated out of existence, thank goodness. Changes to the objects of the act and the listing of public interest factors that favour disclosure might just mean decision-makers and the courts will in future lean in favour of disclosure in interpreting exemptions.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:48 am

    thanks for balancing out the 'reptile's' comments. I'm not sure they had read the whole document, some of the howlers reported.
    a public servant in Canberra, ready for culture change - hopefully in the Senior Executive