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Friday, January 07, 2011

Red book 12: FOI turns up Immigration's brief. And Environment makes 13

The Australian has a version of the incoming government brief from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, released on Tuesday under the Freedom of Information Act.The document doesn't appear on the Department's website so far as I can see. The Australian is enjoying the exclusivity of the release, with these five articles referring to information in the brief in the last day or so:
PR trumps policy 
Sponsored skilled migrants face visa wait.

(Turns out The Canberra Times also has the brief through an FOI application: "Briefing warns of action over visa delays - pressure on immigration" on 6 January (no link available.) As does the ABC. A reader who has been in touch with DIAC tells me they are working towards putting the brief on the web, but this is unlikely in the next few weeks.)

The Australian also reports on the FOI refusal by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities to parts of its brief on Japanese whaling, because disclosure would damage international relations and "engagement with other countries and activities under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission". As the paper points out, WikiLeaks "disclosures this week have shown that senior Labor ministers had been opposed to legal action against Japan, and... suggest the decision to take Japan to the International Court of Justice was motivated by an intention to relieve political and popular pressure on the government."

The released departmental brief has been  published bringing to 13 the number of agencies who have got with the strength since Treasury started the ball rolling three months ago.

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