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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Swifter,higher,stronger indeed

What is it about the Olympics and secrecy?

When the Games were held in Sydney in 2000, the NSW Government,presumably at the urging of the IOC, enacted an amendment to the Freedom of Information Act that provided that any information held by the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, and other government agencies created to run the Games that was confidential to the International Olympic Committee (no matter what is was, or when it was sought), was exempt from disclosure.The only test was whether the information was confidential to the IOC. It' still there(Clause 21, Schedule1), available for use in any rare matter that might crop up eight years after the Games.

A provision in similar terms was later added to protect information about the World Masters Games to be held in Sydney in 2009.

There seemed no justification for these additional exemptions, then or now.

In Canada, host of the next Winter Olympics, another inventive response to the issue of transparency (and presumably about the use of public funds or assets),emerged last week when it was revealed that the agency concerned there has decided to keep no written record of meetings.

As for the Beijing Organising Committee.......................

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