Two other reports detailed Freedom of Information rejections: Sean Parnell in the same paper ("FOI block keeps ABC audience data secret") and Russell Robinson in the Herald Sun ("ABC staying silent over staff salaries").
The audience data rejection was based on the exclusion from the FOI act that the ABC enjoys "in relation to documents" (s 7(2))" in relation to its program material" (the Schedule). In a Federal Court decision in 2006 Justice Bennett said:
" It may well be that the repetition of ‘in relation to documents’ was unnecessary for the other agencies, as it was for the ABC. However, the repeated use of "in relation to" reinforces an intention to exempt not only the category of documents specified but also documents that relate to that category."
In the light of this, Parnell thought it was worth an application for the overall data,and did not seek program-specific data. To no avail:
"Audience research documents are closely tied with the ABC's programs, relating to the extent to which the ABC's content is consumed, and informing decisions about the creation, production, commissioning, scheduling and dissemination of current and future content," the decision-maker ruled.