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RTI Delays and Secrecy Routine Under Hodgman Liberals

14 Jan 2019

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader

The Hodgman Government’s shameful attachment to secrecy has been laid bare in the national media.

Tasmania bottoms the nation in information transparency, with updated Right to Information (RTI) figures revealed in today’s The Guardian* along with damning comments from the State Ombudsman.

During their time in government, the Liberals have been allergic to truth and transparency, engineering a frustrating, often fruitless system so starved of resources that it can take years to get public information which should be readily available.

The objectives of the Right to Information Act 2009 make clear the intention of Parliament was that discretions available in the Act should be used to provide the maximum amount of information. This is the direct opposite of what happens under the Hodgman Government.

Under the direction of the Liberal Government, officers use the discretions available in the Act to delay, obstruct and reject applications based on flimsy pretences.

As an independent office, the Ombudsman is much harder to pressure. Instead, it has been starved of resources to minimise assessment of appeals, and the amount of information released.

When criticised for their lack of transparency, the Liberals default to bragging about the information they choose to make public. Picking and choosing the information you are willing to make available to the public, is neither open nor transparent.

While the Liberals opposed the Greens’ attempts to fix loopholes in the RTI Act in the last term of Parliament, we hope the new term and new Parliamentary makeup will clear their minds. 

The Greens will again move to strengthen the RTI Act this year to fix some of the obstacles leading to information not being made public.

We hope the Liberals and Labor will support those changes, in the interests of more open and transparent government and a stronger democracy.

 

*https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jan/14/tasmanias-foi-reg...