John Fraser

McMillan lashes FOI ‘hypocrisy’, attitude of top bureacurats

John McMillan has criticised the decision to axe, and when that failed, defund, the federal agency he once led. He also describes the public commitment to freedom of information in politics as "rank hypocrisy" and says the Attorney-General's Department lacks understanding of information policy. The former Australian information commissioner left the role to become the New South Wales ombudsman earlier this year, leaving privacy commissioner Timothy Pilgrim to run all three commissioner roles at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. The Guardian quotes McMillan criticising recent comments by Treasury secretary John Fraser and the Australian Public Service commissioner John Lloyd in opposition to FOI. “I think it’s terrible that the head of treasury and the head of the public service commission feel comfortable in speaking out and saying FOI has gone too far, without having to explain what is meant by it’s gone too far.” “You get all these mists thrown around, about you can’t have frank briefing at senior levels. FOI protects any document that needs protection. The exemptions are quite adequate to protect any document, and the IC review decisions make it plain.” Read More

FOI laws: fixing the chilling effect on frank advice

Those who want more limitations on transparency are regaining ground in the freedom of information tug-of-war. If the government thumbs its nose at disclosure and public servants are all too happy to follow suit, are the laws a problem? Or should the culture of government match the law? Read More