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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

FOI reviews all round but wheels may be simply spinning

When we commented, following the Queensland announcement about a review of Freedom of Information (which in turn followed a similar announcement in Victoria), that this could be catching, the last thing anticipated was yesterday's announcement by the Federal Attorney General of a review of Federal state and territory laws, by the Australian Law Reform Commission.

As those quoted in these reports in The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald, the announcement on election eve comes 11 years after the Commission concluded a two year examination of the Federal Act and put forward 106 recommendations for changes to the legislation and improvements in the way it was implemented.

The Government did not respond to the report despite having been in office ever since.

With a report deadline of the end of 2008, the complexity of achieving any harmonisation of Federal and state laws, and the inevitable years of consideration of any recommendations, all this is unlikely to provide any solutions to well established deficiencies in our freedom of information laws.

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