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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Time up for Queensland Information Commissioner?

The buzz at last night's Solomon Lecture in Sydney was that Queensland Information Commissioner Julie Kinross finished up on 9 August at the end of her three year contract, apparently wasn't offered a new one and has returned to the Department of Justice. Presumably the position is now to be advertised. I have no idea whether Kinross intends to apply if this proves to be the case. Governments are always free to test the market of course but the Newman government appears to be unconcerned at the prospect of losing a good one here, and the talent pool isn't deep-just ask Victoria.

There is nothing on her departure on the Commision's website where Kinross is still listed as Commissioner (Update-change posted 21 August, Jenny Mead acting) and Lemm Ex as Acting Privacy Commissioner (since December 2011), or in media releases from the Attorney General or the Department. 

Kinross will be a real loss to the information access community, having put Queensland well ahead of the rest in many respects through her leadership role on right to information and privacy reforms. Her recent involvement as a member of the selection panel for the Tasmanian Integrity Commissioner is an indication of regard for her outside the state.

Apart from high standard performance in the conduct of the review and complaint functions, the Commission under Kinross initiated Right to Know Day and the Solomon Lecture, developed quality and comprehensive guidance material for the public and public servants, spoke up forcefully with truth to power when necessary, took action to develop base line data and a framework for performance measurement, and among other things, uniquely this year funded important think pieces about transparency and public policy and public management.

Kinross was up there with two outstanding Queensland OIC appointments in the 90's, Fred Albietz and (as Deputy) Greg Sorensen.

Of course in moving on, ministers such as Lawrence Springborg will have cause to recall controversy about an appointment six years ago.

Crime and Misconduct Commission Report: Queensland Information Commissioner 2005 (pdf)

Observers will be watching hoping for an outstanding choice in the Albietz, Sorensen and Kinross mode-if one is out there.


  1. I think we can reasonably expect the Newman Government to be entirely unconcerned about the issues surrounding privacy, interactions with Government (Ombudsman offices for example), and communications on the effects that changing legislation will have on the conduct of Government businesses. Likewise, the impact of this (allegedly) foundering economy, on the day to day lives of the people who have voted for them on this occasion.
    The loss of Ms Kinross merely removes another level of accountability for this Government.

    My question is, how many of them play chess to the point where they can see the end result of their work.

  2. Thanks- look forward to further comments from on the ground in Queensland.

  3. Anonymous7:48 am

    In October 2011 a research paper was made available on the website, under OIC Blog.

    The paper included:

    “Nine applicants were identified as satisfying the definition of a repeat applicant by their relatively large number of applications, applications submitted in short bursts and engagement in unreasonable conduct.”

    The OIC Blog and research paper were inappropriate for an entity providing a public service and inappropriate for any business providing a customer service.