Of interest is that the Commonwealth act contains no counterpart to provisions found in Queensland,Tasmanian and NSW acts that provide grounds for refusal where, with regard to matters of this kind, the likely effect of disclosure falls short of a reasonable expectation of harm to life and safety. Those state acts throw the risk or likelihood of harassment or intimidation into the harm mix.
The FOI exemption issue however required a judgment about the effect of disclosure of the document:
15. The question is how release of the documents could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any person. In other words, the question is whether release of the documents could be expected to create the risk, not whether the documents reflect an existing credible threat. Even if the threats were highly credible, the question would be how release of the documents would add to the expected threat.Commonwealth /state law comparisons
16. In my view, there is a risk that release of the documents could lead to further insulting or offensive communication being directed at ANU personnel or expressed through social media. However, there is no evidence to suggest disclosure would, or could reasonably be expected to, endanger the life or physical safety of any person.
Who has the balance right on this one?