Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 15 March 2000
Page: 12911


Senator Faulkner asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Aged Care, upon notice, on 20 September 1999:

(1) Of the requests for disclosure of information under the Freedom of Information Act dealt with by the department, or any agency in the portfolio, since, 3 March 1996, how many requests have been made by: (a) a member of the House of Representatives; or (b) a member of the Senate.

(2) Of the cases relevant to (a) and (b) in (1), how many requests regarding access were: (a) partially successful; or (b) refused.

(3) Of the cases relevant to (a) and (b) in (1), how many requests regarding charges were: (a) partially successful; or (b) refused.

(4) Of the cases relevant to (2) and (3), how many of the department's or agency's written reasons for decision used, as grounds for refusal under the Act, a reference to members of Parliament having access to parliamentary processes to seek information from departments.

(5) Is the department, or any agency in the portfolio, aware of any provision contained in legislation, or departmental guidelines, or practice where the applicant's employment provision can be, or has been, used as grounds for refusing access to documents and/or refusing to waive charges, other than that set out in (4).


Senator Herron (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs) —The Minister for Health and Aged Care has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

Departmental and other portfolio agencies' records do not specifically record whether an applicant is a member of either the House of Representatives or the Senate. As this information is not recorded at the initial time of the request made under the Freedom of Information Act it is impossible to produce a report from the systems in place to record requests. The alternative of going through over 500 hundred files to obtain this information would require considerable time and diversion of resources. I am not prepared to ask the portfolio agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act to divert resources at this time. I therefore cannot provide answers to parts (1)-(4) of this question.

(5) The Department and other portfolio agencies are not aware of any such legislation provision, guidelines or practice whereby an applicant's occupation is taken into account when making a decision refusing access to documents and/or a decision to not waive charges.