Information Commissioner: almost gone, but not forgotten

Australian Information Commissioner John McMillan will soon be out of a job. He spoke to The Mandarin about freedom of information, privacy — and how to close down an agency.

Professor John McMillan AO

Professor John McMillan AO

The bill to abolish the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner hasn’t yet been passed — it was introduced into Parliament in early October and is expected to go through next month — but the organisation is busy wrapping up its business.

The OAIC centralises three key functions in one office: privacy, freedom of information and government information policy. The Abbott government announced in May that it would cut the agency.

The abolition will split the OAIC’s responsibilities between three offices: the Department of the Attorney-General will take over advice to agencies and publication of guidelines; the Ombudsman will take freedom of information complaints; the Administrative Appeals Tribunal will look after what are now termed requests for information commissioner review.

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