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Political Interference in Right to Information with Loophole

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 6 June 2016

Tags: Right to Information

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader   

The Premier today confirmed he is fully aware of a loophole in Right to Information laws but made it clear he would continue to allow his Ministers to use this flaw in the Act which denies applicants the right of review.

There is a persistent problem during this term of government, with Ministers avoiding being caught by the laws by delegating decision making to their staff.

The loophole means a decision made by political advisers of a Minister cannot be appealed to the Ombudsman. If the Ministers made the decision themselves, it would be appealable.

The Premier is well aware of this loophole, has been for some time, yet he has done nothing to ensure Ministers can't hide behind the RTI decisions made by their staff.  So much for openness and transparency.

Mr Hodgman knows that he could deal with this lack of transparency immediately by directing his Ministers not to delegate RTI decisions to staff members, but he is refusing to do so.

As the name implies, right to information laws create a right for people to access information held by Government Departments or Ministers.

The current practice of Ministers frustrates the whole operation of the laws and it’s a very bad look for the Premier to be milking the loophole as long as he can before it is closed.

The Greens have a bill to close the loophole and look forward to improved laws and increased accountability from Ministers.

A copy of the Greens Bill and fact sheet are available: