Show your support for FOI laws today!

 

Today you have an opportunity to support effective Freedom of Information (FOI) laws in Australia. If you support strong FOI legislation then you really can do something to help, and you have to do it today!

Tomorrow the Senate will be voting on a Bill which we at the OpenAustralia Foundation believe will undermine your rights to access Freedom of Information. We made a short submission two weeks ago.

If you’ve made an FOI request on Right To Know your request has become part of the 748 public FOI requests which we presented to the Senate as part of our submission.

The amendments proposed in theFreedom of Information Amendment (New Arrangements) Bill 2014 undermine your ability to access government information in the future. It makes it easier for agencies to refuse requests, leaving no truly independent oversight of our Freedom of Information mechanism.

It’s likely the Coalition will vote in favour of this bill with Labor and The Greens opposing it. This leaves cross-benchers with the balance of power in the Senate on this vote.

If they vote against the bill, it will not pass.

If you want the cross-benchers to oppose this bill, then you need to tell them how you feel by calling, tweeting (#OAIC, #Auspol, #FOI) or emailing them.

Their contact details are below.

If you call, simply say you wish to talk to someone there about the Freedom of Information Bill currently before the Senate, and make as few or many points as you wish.

Here are some key points you could mention:

Freedom of Information Amendment (New Arrangements) Bill 2014:

  • Abolishes the Office of Australian Information Commissioner, a key element of the FOI reforms of 2009-10.
  • FOI review will no longer be free and non-litigious. It will sit entirely with AAT ( Administrative Appeals Tribunal) with an application fee of $861, and be in ‘lawyers territory’. This makes it costly and out of reach of many people.
  • Abolishes role of independent monitor, champion and advocate of open transparent government.
  • Out of step with practice in Qld, NSW, Victoria and WA, and international trend (over 40 countries).
  • Fractures connection between FOI, privacy and broader information management including proactive publication.
  • The Information Commissioner’s role to provide government with guidance on FOI will be transferred from an independent Commissioner to Attorney-General.

Here are the cross bench Senator contact details:

Senator Day
(02) 6277 3373
senator.day@aph.gov.au
@senatorbobday

Senator Madigan
(02) 6277 3471
senator.madigan@aph.gov.au
@SenJJMadigan

Senator Xenophon
(02) 6277 3552
senator.xenophon@aph.gov.au
@Nick_Xenophon

Senator Leyonhjelm
(02) 6277 3054
senator.leyonhjelm@aph.gov.au
@DavidLeyonhjelm

Senator Lazarus
(02) 6277 3204
senator.lazarus@aph.gov.au
@SenatorLazarus

Senator Wang
(02) 6277 3843
senator.wang@aph.gov.au
@SenatorZWang

Senator Muir
(02) 6277 3040
senator.muir@aph.gov.au
@muir_ricky
https://www.facebook.com/SenatorRickyMuir

Senator Lambie
(02) 6277 3063
senator.lambie@aph.gov.au
@JacquiLambie

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