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Friday, November 14, 2014

Former Victorian FOI decision maker denies being as denying as commissioner said

Of all the possibilities that annual reports on the operation of freedom of information legislation contain misleading information (such as 'everything is going along wonderfully well') I never expected a claim of the sort made by Don Coulson former senior adviser to the premier and reported in The Australian today would make news.

The claims relate to the 2012-13 annual report of the FOI Commissioner, and the publication of a list of decision makers with a mini scorecard on their decisions:
(Mr Coulson) said the commissioner’s ­report identified him as a decision- maker and attributed to him the making of five decisions to deny access in full, one decision of partial release of information and no decisions allowing access in full. However, Mr Coulson said this was incorrect and that he had made one decision to release ­documents in full, one in part and only two were denied in full.
“While these decisions may not seem to be significant, the ­incorrect figures tabled by the commissioner resulted in adverse comment about me in newspaper reports, which were repeated in other websites across Australia,’’ he wrote.“As well as the incorrect date about my decisions, I am also aware of at least one decision made by Tony Nutt as the chief of staff ...“While Mr Nutt as a decision­-maker was not reported in the commissioner’s tabled report, I believe (he) ought to have been.’’Mr Coulson wrote to FOI commissioner Lynne Bertolini about the alleged errors, but they have not been corrected."
It clearly matters to Mr Coulson who is pursuing a wrongful dismissal claim, and information provided to the parliament should be correct, but....

Maybe we will see a really exhaustive examination of FOI in Victoria in The Australian sometime soon?

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