Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hawke FOI review report lands in Attorney General's in- tray

The Hawke report on the operation of the Freedom of Information Act and the Australian Information Commissioner Act was due to be handed to Attorney General Dreyfus today and must be tabled in Parliament within 15 sitting days. With Parliament resuming on 14 May the report will be tabled before Parliament rises again for the winter recess at the end of June.

Maybe pleasant surprises lie ahead, like a forthright account of what needs to happen to achieve the lofty aims of the legislation. We'll wait to see.

But the review process - written submissions, then leave it all to us folks - was straight out of an out of date textbook. Magnified by the fact it is about the operation of legislation that has as an object "the promotion of Australia's representative democracy by increasing public participation in Government processes." 

The Department straight-batted queries regarding adequacy of the process in an answer to a question taken on notice from Senator Rhiannon PDF 134KB

As at 12 February more than 75 submissions had been received. Sixty nine have been published overall - 32 from government or government related agencies or individuals.

I have the impression Dr Hawke was almost entirely in the hands of the public service throughout the six month review, with AGD providing whatever support he needed.

Dr Hawke didn't appear to venture far from the Parliamentary Triangle here but went to NZ during the review wearing another hat and made some FOI contacts I understand.

Oh, I had one 40 minute phone conversation with him just after submissions closed. 

More than most I expect and more than anyone I heard from except Rick Snell who had about the same. 

Roll on June...


  1. Hello Peter, Do you know if this act was tabled? Many thanks. Carmelan

  2. Carmelan, The report hasn't been tabled as at 24 May. We'll get that talk one of these days!