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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Privacy trumps on payments to ex MPs in the west

From the West Australian:

"The State Government has refused to release the names of 39 former MPs who racked up a total of $80,000 in travel on the public purse last financial year. The West Australian obtained the figure through Freedom of Information legislation but the Department of Premier and Cabinet decided not to release the names of the former politicians to protect their privacy.....

The Department of Premier and Cabinet said: "Protecting the privacy of individuals is paramount and favours the non-disclosure of the names of former members of the West Australian Parliament."

No mention of what if anything the Department said about the provision in the WA FOI Act that states personal information is not exempt if disclosure would, on balance, be in the public interest.Even the Premier is struggling with this one:

"Colin Barnett, who with Alan Carpenter will qualify for ex-premier benefits when he leaves Parliament, said if MPs accessed benefits they were entitled to, he believed they should be publicly accountable."

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