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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sun rising in sunshine state

The independent review of the Queensland Freedom of Information Act is off to an interesting start with the Chairman David Solomon outlining his views on some key issues in an interview with Greg Roberts of The Australian, in yesterday's edition ("Curb on cabinet as refuge for files" ).

Solomon is quoted as saying that documents should not be exempt simply because they are wheeled into Cabinet - an exemption provision that has provoked criticism for years.
"Whether the Cabinet had looked at it or not was irrelevant. You can't simply have minister or a public servant saying "I have taken it to cabinet, therefore it's exempt"".
Former Queensland Information Commissioner, Fred Albietz, who was a strong and positive voice for disclosure, and who was highly critical while in office about the Cabinet exemption is quoted as saying the review of the Act was overdue. The loophole for Cabinet documents "was so wide you could drive a horse and buggy through it".

The Australian also reported yesterday that the incumbent Queensland Information Commissioner has resigned in the light of the appointment of her husband, Ken Smith, as head of the Premier's Department, citing potential conflict of interest.

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