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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Forces gathering to urge revision of "vexatious applicant" provision

According to this report in the Age, the Law Institute of Victoria has added its voice to others concerned about the proposed inclusion in Victoria’s Freedom of Information Act of a “vexatious applicant” provision. The Institute says that the provision should incorporate a requirement that a person has acted in bad faith before any finding could be made that they are vexatious. (See background here).

However while the provision could be strengthened (and given the campaign that is running against it, this or its deletion from the Bill seems certain), it’s not that there aren’t already some safeguards. Clause 61C of the Amendment Bill says that any repeat applications considered vexatious must involve “abuse of the right of access”: that the applications were made for the purpose of or have had the effect of obstructing or otherwise unreasonably interfering with the operations of the agency or agencies.

Debate and the vote in the Legislative Council is due soon, perhaps this week.

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