In the NSW Legislative Council yesterday we had the following about non-ministerial involvement in Freedom of Information decision- making:
The Hon Greg Pearce: My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Energy, Minister for Mineral Resources, and Minister for State Development. Is it currently the practice, or has it ever been the practice, for any department or agency to send a draft determination of a Freedom of Information Act application to his ministerial office before making the response public?
The Hon Ian Macdonald: No, I am not aware of that. I will ask my office and come back to the member.
The Hon Don Harwin: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Health. Is it currently the practice, or has it ever been the practice, for his department to send draft determinations of Freedom of Information Act applications to his ministerial office before making the response public?
The Hon John Della Bosca: I am not aware of such a practice, but I will ascertain information from my office and come back to the member as soon as practicable.
Minister Della Bosca later added:
"Earlier today the Hon. Don Harwin asked me a question about my office receiving draft freedom of information determinations. I can confirm to the House that my office does not receive draft freedom of information determinations. My office receives a copy of the final determination, as sent to applicants, for information purposes only. That makes sense because, as Opposition members would be aware, my office is frequently contacted to provide comment on issues pertaining to freedom of information releases."Fascinating, in the light of the reported findings of the Ombudsman that there are widespread problems around this issue, to see if the pattern in these answers is repeated across the entire ministry.