Thursday, 26 November 2015
Freedom of Information Amendment (Requests and Reasons) Bill 2015; Second Reading
Okay. Another reason why this side of the Senate will not be supporting the bill concerns issues in relation to publication of information and access to documents. Items 2 and 3 of Senator Ludwig's bill remove the option for an agency or a minister to publish details of how information may be obtained rather than the information itself. Currently, subsection 11C(3) provides that the information disclosed in the request must be published on the agency or ministerial website by making the information available for downloading from the website, under 11C(3)(a), or by publishing on the website a link to another website from which the information can be downloaded, under 11C(3)(b), or by publishing on the website other details of how the information may be obtained, under 11C(3)(c). Items 2 and 3 of Senator Ludwig's bill amend subsection 11C(3) to remove the option of simply publishing on the website details of how the information may be obtained, rather than the information itself.
Senator Ludwig states that this amendment is '… designed to provide the public with easy access to documents released under the FOI Act.' The current requirement is for information that is released to be published for the public generally on a website. Some agencies publish the documents released on their websites. I know Senator Johnston has a great interest in this area, so I might sit down.