Right To Know

Under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, or FOI for short, anyone, anywhere in the world can ask Australian public authorities for information in their custody. This can be information they hold in all the various forms that takes, such as documents on paper, held electronically, pictures, sound recordings or video. By law the authority must respond to that request either providing the information requested, or else it must give a valid legal reason why it must be kept confidential.

It took 10 years and dedication on the part of those who worked behind the scenes to bring Freedom of Information Act 1982. 30 years later, from a bustling population of well over 22 million people, only 4,000 Freedom of Information requests were made for non-personal information in Australia this year. That’s not because all the information people want access to has already been made public, and here at the OpenAustralia Foundation, we think one reason for this low number of requests made in the public interest is that people think it’s hard to do. Right To Know is set to put a big welcome mat outside the door to information requests, as we remind everyone that our democracy includes this right of access to information held by public authorities, and that its really not so hard to put in your request. Not all authorities continue to publish the results of requests made on their website, and changes to machinery of Government can make records of their existence hard to track down. Growing this repository of requests helps everyone make more unique requests, fewer duplicates, and in the process keeps the information open, permanently.

Right To Know aims to make it easier for everyone to find and make requests, growing a public collection of information requested available in a few different ways.

  • Easily find information that’s already been requested. Browse and search requests by Keywords, when they were made or status,  all requests successful requests unsuccessful requests unresolved requests.
  • Helping you make your successful request is the main focus of the site because that’s usually the hardest part!
  • Bringing all the authorities together saves time, you don’t have to trawl the web for the right authority first.
  • To make the process easier to understand, Right to Know uses plain english
  • To get a feeling for the scope, wording of successful requests, it offers you dynamic search for related requests so you can see how others have done it
  • Clearly communicates your rights of access
  • Guidance appears as and when you need it to keep the request flowing through Right to Know and the Public Authority to whom your request is being made

What people have said about Right To Know

…the Senate…congratulates the Foundation for its ‘Right to Know’ initiative which will further improve access to government held information

We are very pleased to be supporting http://www.righttoknow.org.au

It’s the first “demand side” initiative in decades.

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