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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Advice documents off limits

Short posts, on holidays

The reasons given for refusal of access to advice documents reported in Matthew Moore's "What they won't tell you" column in last Thursday's Sydney Morning Herald, seem so broad that they could be used to refuse access to almost any such document at any time. This couldn't be what was intended when Freedom of Information was introduced. If advice documents were to be exempt because disclosure would mean public servants wouldn't commit advice to paper, or because release would cause confusion, you would think Parliament would have provided a specific exemption to head off such calamities.

As previously mentioned here, a large gulf has developed between Federal and some state jurisdictions over what can be argued as 'public interest grounds' for refusal of access to public service advice.

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