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Through the use of Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and this Blog, Youngman Consultancy demonstrates its commitment to ensuring people have the help needed to address their right to hold governments accountable and protect their own privacy. It is only by knowing your rights and being prepared to speak up that you can ensure a just society for all of its members.
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If no one said All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”, then someone should have, because it is true. The same thing goes for bullies and injustice. As scary as it can be, if you are going to consider yourself human, then you have to speak out for what it right.
Thursday, October 25 2012
Peter Timmins, in his Open & Shut Blog, comments on discussions in the Aust Commonwealth arena about the advisability of FOI being located as part of legal areas. The recommendation apparently came from Ernst & Young. According to the Cornall Report this is not necessary as long as the two areas work together.
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Cornall goes on to say it is not necessary for lawyers to be the decision makers, except perhaps in the most sensitive of cases.
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Peter suggests it may be better placed elsewhere, e.g. IT. Apparently it is placed in the legal area in the 3 largest federal departments.
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Peter goes on to express his concern regarding the involvement of lawyers in the FOI process, the issue of senior management involvement in matters that might attract media attention and the practice of briefing the Ministers’ Offices and, in some cases allowing 5 days for comment before proceeding.
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My views are stronger. With over 20 years experience in processing FOIs (and the new NSW GIPA) applications, there is no way lawyers should be involved in the FOI process unless there are specific questions of law that the FOI Officers cannot answer.
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The idea of having to run FOIs through the Media Unit or gain approval from the Ministers’ Offices is what led the NSW Ombudsman to undertake an investigation. The result of that investigation was a report to Parliament and the introduction of the GIPA Act in NSW.
Given that process was under a Labour Government you would think someone might have suggested to the Federal Labour Party that it might be a good idea not to repeat the mistakes of their NSW counter-parts.
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FOI Officers are capable of doing their work and protecting the rights of the applicants, the third parties and their agencies if only they are given the authority and the necessary support to do their jobs.
Posted by: Youngman Consultancy AT 04:56 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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Youngman Consultancy | Expert advice in GIPA (FOI) and Privacy
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Email: phillip@youngmanconsultancy.com.au
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