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Monday, October 26, 2009

Business sighs of relief as reference to ALRC slips below the radar

Then Special Minister of State John Faulkner in March 2009, releasing the Freedom of Information Reform Exposure Draft, and speaking of the Government's broader agenda:
"the Government will (later this year) provide the Australian Law Reform Commission with a reference to consider whether FOI should be extended to, or another disclosure regime provided for the private sector."
While this extension had been considered but not recommended in the Australian Law Reform Commission's 1995 Open Government Report, Senator Faulkner said in March "the Government considers it timely to re-examine this issue in the context of the general reforms to freedom of information and developments on disclosure regimes in both public and private sectors."

The Minister didn't explain or mount the argument for the initiative then, and neither he nor his successor Senator Ludwig mentioned it publicly thereafter. Nor within government it seems.

ALRC President Professor David Weisbrot told the Legal and Constitutional Estimates Committee on 19 October ( at 25) that he had not heard a word
from the Government since. Still, it's still only 26 October....

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