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Monday, December 31, 2007

NSW: "Secrets State"

Summer holiday blog

The Sydney Morning Herald has again labeled NSW "The Secrets State", giving a bit of summertime coverage to matters raised in the NSW Ombudsman Report released some months ago. Its all pretty true.

However given a separate report detailing how the NSW Police were unenthusiastic about the purchase of a water cannon to keep ruly citizens under control, it should be acknowledged that the one document relevant to a decision by its political masters to spend $750,000 was released in response to a Freedom of Information application - eventually. The document was released in December 2007. The FOI application was lodged in April 2006

You have to wonder though why it took so long, given the statutory deadline of 21 days, and whether disclosure might have been viewed as a good thing by the Police. It might have helped that the then minister, Carl Scully, is long gone from office.

"Secret State" still resonates. As the Herald comments today (Only blanks from this cannon):
"The episode says a lot about the Iemma Government's approach to its task. The announcement of the decision (to purchase the cannon), carefully leaked to favoured media outlets, got the tough-on-crime headlines it was seeking. Presumably then, the government believed the money was well spent. What the police or anyone else may think is irrelevant........ (The cannon) is ....a fitting monument to the collective of image-makers which NSW calls a State Government".

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