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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

FOI: looking for the recall button

The kerfuffle about the blunder by the Department of Industry in releasing documents claimed to be exempt about subsidies for the motor industry to the Australian Financial Review is now in the NSW Supreme Court with the government, supported by Ford and General Motors, seeking orders that would prevent publication, require the AFR to delete all electronic copies and hand over an existing hard copy to the court. While the court has powers and may exercise them, it reminds of this 2006 NSW ADT decision where in a similar although less high stakes case, neither the agency nor the tribunal had powers to haul released documents back-once they were gone, they were gone.

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