Pirate Party Australia has made a submission to the Attorney-General’s Department regarding the effectiveness of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
In its submission the Pirate Party calls for an end to blanket exemptions for intelligence agencies like ASIO, encouraging the application of the FOI framework to all government organisations and agencies. The submission refers to several cases involving the Party’s own freedom of information requests, notably the lack of success in bringing transparency to meetings between the Attorney-General’s Department and industry regarding file-sharing, and the refusal to release draft national security legislation which has been appealed to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
The submission also highlights the inadequacy of the current appeals process, calls for the removal of all costs for access which act to stonewall activists and makes recommendations that would encourage cultural shifts towards greater openness, transparency and inclusive policy development and decision making processes.
In addition, it makes the call for a framework under the FOI legislation for the release of public sector information, such as the National Classification Database and other datasets.
The Party hopes that reforms to the freedom of information system in Australia will see an increase in publicly available information, increased transparency and reduced delays in processing freedom of information requests.