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Liberals Break Right to Information Law

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Tags: Right to Information, Children and Young People, Child Safety, Safe Pathways, Transparency

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens' Leader and Human Services spokesperson

The Liberals have instituted a culture of secrecy and contempt for Right to Information which is infecting the entire government.  Minister Petrusma’s approach to Right to Information is just the latest example of a government prepared to break the law to hide its secrets.

Lodged on 22 November last year, the Greens’ Safe Pathways Right to Information request is now two and a half months overdue. It has had four different completion dates offered, four different RTI officers handling the request, and various colourful excuses provided for not delivering the information.

An extension with the Ombudsman’s office has not been sought, presumably because the Department could not prove they needed one. This is in breach of the Act.

The Ombudsman’s office is investigating the unexplained delay, and the response from the Secretary is also overdue. 

Yet again, the Government is in breach of the Right to Information Act 2009.  Section 15 of the RTI Act requires Agencies to either release the information within the statutory timeframe, or to have an extension granted by either the applicant or the Ombudsman. 

None of these legal requirements have been followed.

In this instance, we do not hold Departmental officers responsible.  This breach of the Act must be sheeted home to the Liberals who treat this important law with contempt.

This unlawful conduct and obfuscation is unacceptable. The Liberal Government's attachment to secrecy shows a contempt for the public right to know, and puts hard working public servants who want to provide genuine and lawful services to the public, in untenable positions.