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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Senate Committee to inquire further into FOI Reform

The Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee has another hearing on the Freedom of Information Reform Bills scheduled for Melbourne on 15 February, according to the list of upcoming hearings.

Media coverage of the hearings last Friday included Markus Mannheim in the Canberra Times "Media says FOI overhaul falls short", and ABC News "Media urge FOI reform", both highlighting points made by Michael McKinnon about narrowing the Cabinet exemption, and Nicola Berkovic in the Weekend Australian, "Action urged on FOI flaws", on exemptions and the issue of onus in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. More on that from me in another post.

(Update: The Canberra Times in another piece on Saturday "Shame may beat public servants 'secretive ways' "( no link available-c'mon guys) also  reported the Ombudsman Professor John McMillan:
"..hoped changes to FoI law would encourage public servants to be more open with the public, but warned that overcoming the bureaucracy's secretive culture would be difficult. "The main enforcement mechanism that works is the public naming and shaming [of public servants who suppress documents]," he said. "My experience as Ombudsman shows me that this is a far more effective tool than any other determinative functions."
(Further update: The transcript of the hearing is now available.)

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