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Annual Report 1999-2000Annual Report 1999-2000 home page

ContentsContents > Overviews > Outcome 1: National Interests > Outcome 2: Consular & Passports > Outcome 3: Public Diplomacy > Management > Financial Statements > Appendixes > Glossaries

YOU ARE CURRENTLY AT: Outcome 3 > Output 3.1 > Freedom of Information and archival research and clearance


OUTCOME 3: Public understanding in Australia and overseas of Australia’s foreign and trade policy and a positive image of Australia internationally

Output 3.1:
Public information services and public diplomacy

Freedom of Information and archival research and clearance

During the year, the department met our obligations under sections 8 and 9 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982, processing 55 requests. While not all requests were met within statutory deadlines, either because those few cases were extremely complicated or there was a need to retrieve documents from overseas, the department kept all applicants informed of progress in handling their requests. There were only two complaints to the Ombudsman (both of which were speedily resolved to the applicants’ satisfaction) and no reviews of departmental decisions by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Table 7. Requests processed under the Freedom of Information Act 1982

 

1997–98

1998–99

1999–00

Requests for information

     

Access granted in full

12

10

9

Access granted in part

16

33

31

Access refused

3

1

3

Requests transferred or withdrawn

19

6

12

Total

50

50

55

Requests subject to review or legal appeal

     

Subject to internal review

2

1

3

In Administrative Appeals Tribunal

0

1

0

Ombudsman

0

0

2

In the reporting period we answered 445 public and official requests for archival information, 20 of them under the statutory or special access sections of the Archives Act 1983. We also assessed 657 files comprising 142 266 folios for public or special access, 380 of them in response to requests made under the Archives Act and 228 for early release to the public as part of the historical project on Portuguese Timor 1974–76.

Table 8. Requests processed under the Archives Act 1983

 

1997–98

1998–99

1999–00

Requests for information

     

Public

152

213

189

Official

201

258

265

Special access

37

50

18

Total

390

521

472

Table 9. Files assessed for international relations sensitivities before release to the public

Records received

997

894

509

Records completed

743

655

659

Number of folios

127 618

142 709

142 867

Open access

311

131

168

Released with exemptions

383

517

490

Subject to review

3

34

0

Subject to appeal

0

0

0

During the year the department received six complaints in relation to the Privacy Act 1988. Five of these complaints related to the inclusion of personal information in the department’s 2000 edition of Statement of Service—Appointments and Biographies (four of the complaints were from individual employees and one from a staff association). One complaint was made in relation to personal information requested in the course of the review of an officer’s security clearance. The department resolved all matters by dealing directly with the complainants and without the need for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to become formally involved. Additional information is reported in Appendix 7.

The department was asked to make three internal reviews of decisions under the Freedom of Information Act 1982. Clients have accepted our reasons for delays in releasing documents in the few cases in which deadlines have not been met under this Act. We received one request for reconsideration of access decisions under the Archives Act 1983, but no appeals. There were no adverse decisions of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in relation to departmental decisions. We regularly received letters of thanks from the public for our actions under the Archives Act 1983, and received no complaints from any clients relating to this Act.

We made a strong start with One Hundred Years of Australia’s Engagement with Asia, the volume of history commissioned as the department’s major contribution to the Centenary of Federation. The introduction and 10 draft chapters were sent to the Advisory Committee.

We completed editorial work on Australia and Indonesia’s Incorporation of Portuguese Timor, 1974–76.


YOU ARE CURRENTLY AT: Outcome 3 > Output 3.1 > Freedom of Information and archival research and clearance

Annual Report 1999-2000Annual Report 1999-2000 home page

ContentsContents > Overviews > Outcome 1: National Interests > Outcome 2: Consular & Passports > Outcome 3: Public Diplomacy > Management > Financial Statements > Appendixes > Glossaries

 

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