|ABC: Brigid Andersen|
The Freedom of Information issue is that Immigration and Border Protection took six months to process the application for reports of the incident and ended up redacting just about everything the documents contained.
All the pages (at the end of Jason Om's report), most completely blank, are marked s 22 (irrelevant material), s 33 (would or could reasonably be expected to damage international relations) and 47F (unreasonable disclosure of personal information and disclosure on balance contrary to the public interest.)
I only saw the notice of decision briefly in ABC studios before the interview but reasons given for the damage to international relations claim looked skimpy and hardly unconvincing.
The damage to international relations exemption as interpreted by the courts sets a low threshold for the claim and as an absolute exemption comes with no public interest test.
It a bar that should be set higher.
In the meantime we will just have to take DIBP at their word:
"Media reporting and allegations that the Department has something to hide in relation to this matter are false.'An external review of the FOI decision may or may not clear the air.