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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ever wondered about the award of an Australian gong?

Amid the congratulations to over 400 commendable Australians who received Australia Day awards, the Canberra Times highlights costs incurred by the Office of the Governor-General for legal advice to fend off an application by Karen Kline to access the guidelines for selecting honours recipients. The case will be heard in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal next month. Here is a recap from last October. At that stage the office had spent 3000 hours dealing with the matter. The main issue-there may be others- is whether these documents held by staff employed under the Governor General Act including the Official Secretary who doubles as Secretary to the Council for the Order of Australia are "documents of an administrative nature", and thus within scope under Section 6A(1), or whether the FOI commissioner's decision they aren't should stand.


  1. FoI denials are a public relations disaster, and more often than not, they cost the FoI minions their jobs.
    When are they going to learn that towing the bureaucratic line is undemocratic and simply just not worth it?
    This is an extraordinary case, which reflects terribly on the GG.

    1. Anonymous8:30 pm

      I agree that this case reflects terribly on the GG's office. The FOI Commissioner James Popple doesn't look good either with his widely acknowledged woeful decision. This is an important test case. In the interests of the objectives of FOI, accountability and transparency it must get up.

  2. Andrew12:34 pm


    You might like to see the results of an FOI request made by Martin Rosenbaum of the BBC. The Cabinet Office has been made to cough up the list of people who declined proffered honours.

    Report in the Guardian here.