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Thursday, March 18, 2010

FOI reform...still coming

With Federal Parliament about to take a seven week break, the fine print of Minister Ludwig's comment on the Senate Committee report this week on Freedom of Information reform legislation that "the Government hopes to have the Bills before the Senate next sitting" is another reminder of the slow tortuous process associated with what the Government called in its first year in office a "high priority reform." It looks like it will get across the wire in year three, hopefully, if the shoals of a Senate in which it doesn't have the numbers are negotiated. That situation was a reality from day one. A better job in getting cracking on this earlier than the 16 months before there was a public peep, and in the process of consulting, responding to suggestions and facilitating public debate might have paved the way for a smoother run at this last hurdle. Passage of the bills after changes to attract the necessary votes from the other side of the chamber, will also depend on these reforms getting a slot in a very crowded Budget pre-election agenda. All in all not a great process.

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