Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Defence Minister opens up
Minister for Defence Senator Faulkner stepped in to overrule his department by releasing two paragraphs from the Executive Summary of a consultant's report on the Defence Budget Audit, and to post the Summary of the Budget Audit Report with two small deletions on the Defence website. The two paragraphs highlighted in the Minister's media release about the advantages of a superbase model don't sound earthshattering. An official had withheld this information concerning recommendations about the future of bases in an earlier response to a Freedom of Information application by the Sydney Morning Herald, as an internal working document on a matter not yet decided by the Government. There may have been more to it but the Herald reported the official's reasons on the public interest considerations as including that disclosure would cause ''unnecessary speculation and anxiety" - not exactly one of those phrases that boosts confidence in decision making.