Labor Undermines FOI Act

Labor Undermines FOI Act

Victoria Minister responsible for the establishment of an anti-corruption commission Andrew McIntosh

Labor’s Continuing Deception Of FoI

Victor P Taffa

The Labor Party’s ongoing misrepresentation of the Coalition Government’s Freedom of Information reforms knows no bounds.

For 11 years the Labor Party failed to do anything to improve Victoria’s FoI regime. Now, in opposition Labor is intent on undermining the Coalition Government’s important reforms.

Last night the Legislative Assembly debated the Coalition Government’s reforms to the Freedom of Information Act the most sweeping reforms since FoI laws were introduced over 30 years ago.

Journalists were told the opposition would move amendments to the Bill. Indeed, one media report this morning said these amendments had been moved during the course of last night’s debate.

In reality, no amendments were moved.

One of these unmoved amendments would apparently allow greater access to national security, cabinet and commercial-in-confidence documents.

Clearly, the Labor Party is happy to throw open information about national security and defence to all comers.

Obviously, the Labor Party is determined to have Victoria closed for business by disregarding standard commercial practices.

And all this from a party which, while in government, made great use of every tool available to block access to information.

For the first time, under the Coalition Government’s important reforms, an independent umpire will carry out first stage reviews of FoI applications a function currently carried out by the same agency to which the initial application is made.

In contrast, when Labor left office more than 300 FoI appeals were backed up in VCAT. This is a disgraceful record of secrecy.