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Sunday, July 01, 2012

FOI in South Australia not healthy

South Australia, one of our non-reform FOI states, gets a drubbing in this Sunday Mail editorial detailing a two and a half year battle to access documents on crimes reported on public hospital grounds in the preceding five years:
THE culture of secrecy, evasion, obfuscation and cover-up demonstrated by the Health Department, as reported today, is anathema to South Australia's proud tradition of being a free and open society whose democratic ideals include the public's right to know what is going on in our public hospitals. 
And more detail of the time and cost involved here.

Not sure when the assist from the Ombudsman occurred-no Health determination listed for quite a while. (Update-since posted. It's quite a saga, with the Ombudsman concluding that  much of the delay arose because the applicant could have done more to describe in less open-ended terms what was being sought (73), and that the Department had fallen short of what is expected under the FOI Act in relation to engaging with the applicant to clarify the scope of the application (74)).

SA needs a freedom of information act fitting for the 21st century. And the attitude to go with it.

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