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Brandis diary saga: beyond a joke



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THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY MEMBER FOR ISAACS

BRANDIS DIARY SAGA: BEYOND A JOKE

On Friday, I instructed my solicitors to take the significant step of writing to the Australian Government Solicitor to notify them that I will begin contempt proceedings if my simple FOI request for a portion of George Brandis’s diary is not processed within 14 days.

Enough is enough.

The original request was made for eight months’ of Senator Brandis’s diary, in Outlook weekly format, nearly three years ago in May 2014.

In December 2015, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal found that “no practical refusal reason exist[ed]” that would support Senator Brandis’s claim that processing the diary would be too burdensome.

In September 2016, Senator Brandis’s appeal was comprehensively dismissed by the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia.

And yet, exactly five months later, we still have nothing.

This is beyond a joke. The Attorney-General, as first law officer of this country and the minister in charge of the Freedom of Information Act, is openly defying a ruling of the Full Federal Court and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

He is meant to set an example, and defend and uphold the law. He is doing the opposite.

I recognise the gravity of the step I have taken, but it is a necessary one.

It is time for Senator Brandis to be held to account and for the Freedom of Information Act to be upheld. Nobody is above the law, not even Senator Brandis.

MONDAY, 6 FEBRUARY 2017

MEDIA CONTACT: JOANNA HEATH 0427 915 633