What is it about Australian security agencies that should render them entirely immune to freedom of information that does not apply, for example, to the CIA, to United States intelligence agencies and to intelligence agencies like MI5 or MI6 in Britain which are subject to freedom of information laws?"He could have added New Zealand there as well. Good questions that deserve a considered answer. As Senator Ludlam said there are plenty of exemptions that would always cover those aspects of intelligence agency operations that legitimately deserve protection, but the blanket exemptions remove scrutiny even of how many paper clips they buy-should you be interested.
All Senator Ludlam managed was an acknowledgment from the Minister Senator Ludwig that exclusions from the act should be looked at in the proposed comprehensive review of the act two years after these changes commence.
Thanks to Open Australia for the link.
The 2010-2011 Budget for PM&C included money for an independent review of Australia's intelligence agencies. Will the terms of reference extend to issues of transparency and accountability? Tim Lester's report in the Sydney Morning Herald doesn't raise hopes.