Estimates: Lloyd defends right to express his FOI ‘observations’

Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd has stood up for the right of senior public servants to hold personal views and express them publicly at times, under questioning from Opposition and crossbench senators today.

Lloyd’s well-known view on freedom of information laws is that they have gone beyond their original purpose, which he says was mainly for citizens to find out what information about themselves was held by government. Now, he says they constrain the free flow of frank advice in the Australian Public Service by making bureaucrats wary about what they write down.

John Lloyd

John Lloyd

“Very pernicious” were the words that came to mind as he explained his take on how FOI laws currently affect public service work, during a question-and-answer session after a speech he gave to the Institute for Public Administration Australia (IPAA) ACT Division in March. Playing down the significance of his words, “less than ideal” was how he rephrased his opinion today.

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