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Monday, August 13, 2007

Victorian FOI reforms necessary everywhere - or just hot air?

FOI expert Rick Snell, of the University of Tasmania, was quoted in the Australian on Saturday as urging all Australian governments to reform Freedom of Information laws, along the lines of a commitment last week by Victorian Premier, John Brumby. Snell said all Australian laws were "out of date and needed an overhaul", and without reform Australia's FOI regime would remain one of the most restrictive in the world.

However Daily Telegraph columnist Piers Ackerman says that based on past performance by Australian Labor Party governments, Brumby's pledge will come to nothing. Ackerman seems to suggest that getting the truth out about the late High Court Justice Lionel Murphy, and a decision not to prosecute a union leader by former Victorian Premier, Joan Kirner, will be the test of whether the ALP "isn't just hot air on press freedom".

I can think of lots of other tests more relevant than these couple of archaeological digs into ancient history.

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