Thursday, August 04, 2005

Landmark Australian FOI case

Taken from the Australian newspaper:

" A LANDMARK bid to obtain secret economic documents on income tax cuts and housing grants from Treasury has been dismissed by the Full Bench of the Federal Court.

In a two-one decision, the full bench upheld the Government's decision to issue conclusive certificates, government decrees that blocked access to the documents, because release was against the public interest.

The case arose after The Australian attempted to gain access under Freedom of Information laws to documents showing the true value of income tax cuts delivered by the Government and the use of the federal Government's first-home buyers scheme by wealthy individuals."

Also see the full judgement

The case should be of interest to FOI practitioners in general giving a very detailed discussion of public interest issues and use of a conclusive certficate (some similarities with S53 of the UK FOIA)

It is also interesting to see a newspaper willing to take a case this far, it remains to be seen if UK newspapers will be willing to put resources into appealing cases, particularly beyond tribunal level.

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