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Thursday, August 09, 2012

FOI peek at minder's diary on hold in Victoria

Not the Kapel diary
The Victorian Government is off to the Court of Appeal seeking to overturn a VCAT ruling by Judge Pamela Jenkins that parts of the Premier's former chief of staff Michael Kapel's diary are subject to the Freedom of information Act. The Herald Sun:
Government spokesman Paul Price last night said: "The Government has appealed VCAT's decision on a question of legal principle arising from what it considers to be the proper statutory construction of the relevant provisions of the Act."
As welcome as the decision was, can't say I'm surprised. See my post here.

On bigger issues, still nothing about the commencement date for the act to create the office of Victorian FOI commissioner-the default date is 1 December-or at least in the public domain, news on who will fill it.

And of course diddly squat on broader reforms including bringing the 1983 act into line with good practice from the reform years of 2007-2010 in other jurisdictions.

One of those changes in NSW, on my reading, broadened the definition of minister's document from the standard "held by a minister that relates to the affairs of an agency", the issue heading to court in Victoria.  Significant chunks of a diary of the chief of staff would be covered by Schedule 4 Clause 11 of the NSW GIPA  act (emphasis added):
A reference in this Act to government information held by an agency is, when the agency is a Minister, a reference to government information held by the Minister in the course of the exercise of official functions in, or for any official purpose of, or for the official use of, the office of Minister of the Crown.

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