Is the following document so secretative that the Department of Education and Training really believes you should not see it – form your opinion about what makes it?
Civil Liberties Australia has been an observer of the Freedom of Information requests for the relating to school closures within the ACT; a matter now before the Full Bench of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. CLA sought from each party to the proceedings the Statement of Facts and Contentions lodged with the Tribunal. The Department of Education and Training denied, under Freedom of Information, release of the Statement based on an exemption purported to be granted if the document was privileged from production in legal proceedings – a document both produced in proceedings and given to third parties.
The Department has now, on appeal, released the document but noted that it still considers it to being one that is covered under the privileged provisions of Freedom Information.
Civil Liberties Australia is concerned over a continuing trend within all governments, to deny people the right to information about government; a denial that stifles debate and accountability. The current proceedings exemplifies the efforts of a government to deny the community the information relating to a fundamental understanding of its actions – see background article. CLA’s concerns relating to the current case before the Tribunal are in the background paper.
It is expected that the Tribunal will shortly hand down its decision on the denial of information on school closures.