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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

FOI in Australia after the McKinnon case

The Australian Press Council November News includes 5 articles on FOI after the High Court decision in the McKinnon case. They all canvass options for reform.

Rick Snell of the University of Tasmania, in "We can handle the truth" picks up on a theme close to our hearts - the need for strong, consistent and continuing advocacy through a professional and highly visible organisation, to promote open government principles, and FOI laws that work as a means of achieving them.

Snell refers to US, UK and Canadian models that could provide a basis for what should happen here.

The Council's Executive Secretary, Jack Herman says the publication of the articles is a "first step towards reform of FOI law and practice" in Australia. I'm sure he knows it will need a lot more than this.

My view is that the Council, in conjunction with like minded partners, needs to dip into its pocket to fund and develop a national advocacy group designed to hold government's feet to the fire on this issue.

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