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Monday, May 24, 2010

Open government job no state secret

I have had a couple of exchanges with people who heard that the Federal Freedom of Information and Privacy commissioner jobs-part of the new system yet to commence with the Information Commissioner at the top- had been advertised recently but couldn't locate the ads. After a bit of searching and some help, it seems they were advertised in the Australian Financial Review on 14 May, but that appears to be it as far as media advertising goes.(Correction: also in the Weekend Australian 15 May page 5).The positions are also listed at Executive Intelligence Group #167(Privacy) and #168 (FOI). I haven't come across the Office of Information Commissioner website if it's up and running. No mention of the jobs on PM&C  (Correction: see here) and Privacy Commissioner websites. (Update:also at Seek Online.) Don't know where this leaves incumbent Privacy Commissioner Karen Curtis. Leadership baton, and the rest in your kitbag? Applications close 8 June. The AFR ad was as follows:

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is a proposed new statutory agency within the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio. The establishment of the OAIC is a significant measure in implementing the Government’s freedom of information and other reforms and will build a strong foundation for more openness in government. The Information Commissioner will head the OAIC and be supported by two statutory officers – the Privacy Commissioner and the Freedom of Information Commissioner. The OAIC is seeking highly motivated and talented individuals for these two key leadership positions.

As Privacy Commissioner you will be responsible for privacy functions under the Privacy Act 1988, such as providing information and advice about privacy and the law, handling complaints, conducting audits, and undertaking promotional and educational activities (Ref. No. 167).

As the Freedom of Information Commissioner you will be responsible for promoting awareness and understanding of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and its objects (among both agencies and the public), undertaking merit reviews of FOI decisions, investigating complaints relating to the handling of FOI matters, and assisting agencies to publish information in accordance with the Information Publication Scheme (Ref. No. 168).

In addition to having a strong and detailed knowledge and understanding of government information policy and privacy and FOI legislation and reforms, serious contenders for these roles will have an excellent understanding of the principles of administrative review, investigations and the workings of government and the capacity to adapt quickly to the statutory responsibilities of the positions. This will be complemented by your standing in the legal profession, academia, community or government, sound judgement, high level of integrity and a strong achievement orientation.The FOI Commissioner must have a University degree in the field of law or equivalent educational qualification.

Before applying, please obtain selection documentation by emailing quoting the appropriate Ref. No. Further information can be obtained by contacting either Tricia Searson or Karina Duffey on (02) 6232 2200. Applications close on 8 June 2010.


  1. Anonymous11:31 am

    If you look at how quickly the Privacy Commissioners of other countries move on certain matters and compare that with what Privacy Commissioner Karen Curtis has done, it’s always disappointing.

  2. Interested Party8:15 am

    While these links are fine finding this from scratch was a challenge.

    PMC website design is poor. From the homepage when you click on "Current Opportunities" you get taken to a page which says this:"Please follow the link under the jobs icon on the right hand side of this screen to access and view all employment opportunities in the Department." From THAT link you don't see the statutory positions - you need to actually ignore the above written instructions, and notice and click on the new drop-down box in the left-hand menu that wasn't there before, which says "Statutory positions" ...

    The Seek ad did not come up on a Google search, nor from a search from other job ad sites.