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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Federal Labor spells out FOI reforms

Opposition Shadow Attorney General, Joe Ludwig, in a speech last week to an information conference in Melbourne, said that Freedom of Information reform would be a priority if the Australian Labor Party was elected in the forthcoming federal election.

Senator Ludwig said that action need to be taken to promote a pro disclosure culture. Labor would "look at putting in place key findings of the 1996 Australian Law Reform Commission Open Government Report". He specifically mentioned revision of the Act, the establishment of an Information Commissioner, rationalisation of exemptions so that information would only be withheld where this was in the public interest, and ensuring charges are not a barrier to access. Senator Ludwig also said consideration would be given to combining responsibility in government for information access and privacy issues.

The speech also included a commitment to reforming shield laws for the media and other professions, and whistleblower legislation.

Full text: Joe Ludwig speech

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