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Friday, March 05, 2010

The story of a simple FOI-the Premier's Appointments Diary

Apart from revealing in the Tasmanian Times some of those who saw Premier Bartlett between May and November 2008, Bob Burton has written the details of what happened in the course of an eventually successful Freedom of Information application to obtain information from the Premier's appointment diary, and some of the considerations against release, floated by the Department of Premier and Cabinet, which in the end just wilted away. Burton, despite what at several points was looking like a complete miss, had the good fortune that the record of appointments was held by the Department, and the benefit of a tightly crafted application. Sticky issues of the kind encountered last year in NSW by Sean Parnell of The Australian in seeking direct from the premier's office information about appointments at an ALP convention and whether the information related to the affairs of an agency didn't seem to arise. Burton thinks public statements about the coming new era during debate on the yet to commence Right to Information Act was one factor that worked in his favour.

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