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Friday, November 09, 2012

Prince of Wales takes a break from FOI pressure at home

What to make of the fawning (to exhibit affection or attempt to please, as a dog does by wagging its tail ..; to seek favor or attention by flattery and obsequious behavior) reception given to the visiting and future king and queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall?  Bring on the republic for mine. But back to the knitting.

If you didn't catch it, the Prince has recently had freedom of information problems at home. Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General exercised veto power (remember those conclusive certificates?) to block the release of 27 letters from the Prince to ministers because their contents would “seriously damage” his future role as king were they made public. The Information Tribunal had ordered release overruling a decision of the Information Commissioner. Then the Attorney stepped in-the second time in history from memory. ( See Right2info for the detail.)

As The Telegraph reported, thus "ended a seven-year freedom of information battle over the public’s right to see the Prince’s correspondence. However, it served only to reinforce the view that he sought to influence policy." Former minister Jack Straw's defence of secret correspondence rights for the prince attracted 328 comments, most questioning why.

In Scotland the royal FOI exemption is also an issue.

Did you know the Prince has the right to veto government legislation if it could affect the interests of the Duchy of Cornwall which owns 133,658 acres of land (around 54,090 hectares) over 23 counties, including farming, residential, and commercial properties, as well as an investment portfolio? In another FOI case the Cabinet office is refusing to release details of rules governing when the Prince is asked to give consent to legislation that might affect the Duchy.

Professor Anne Twomey has written about how quaint British notions of secrecy for the crown impact on our right to access information in this our proud and otherwise independent nation.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:13 pm

    The other thread is closed before I was able to comment - I’ve been following the Kessing case for some years but the most serious questions continue to go unheeded.

    Why is Mr Albanesse not held accountable for having failed to act on Kessings report?

    Why are citizens being criminalized due to lack of accountability by superiors within their work place and failure of politicians to act?

    I would have thought that Mr Kessing’s application for pardon presented an excellent opportunity for the ALP (and their advisors) to exercise some decency towards a citizen who has served has served his country and held proper principle.

    To renege on promised and much needed legislation is a disgrace & in particular this treatment of Kessing shows contempt for all citizens.