Anthony Albanese’s handiwork in abusing FOI laws is about to come under close scrutiny after the Senate voted to hold an Inquiry. Governments are notorious for abusing Freedom of Information laws to hide government corruption from the media and public and the Albanese government has quickly shown they are no exception.
I also have firsthand experience of the Albanese government abusing FOI laws in an application I made in August 2022 regarding the $18 million Australian Future Leaders Program fraud attempt by the GG David Hurley and others. But more on that in a minute.
The Senate Inquiry will focus on the resignation of FOI Commissioner Leo Hardiman which I regard as a constructive dismissal (Click here to read more) and resourcing for FOI applications and reviews. It is also reported the Senate might also look into the possible “creation of a statutory time frame for the completion of reviews”. (Click here to read more)
If a statutory time frame for the completion of FOI reviews is legislated then credit should be given to former Senator Rex Patrick as he is involved in court proceedings against the current government demanding better FOI compliance by government departments.
I published the below video (29/3/23) with further information on this matter.
Shane Dowling’s FOI application regarding the $18 million fraud attempt by the GG David Hurley and others
I decided to file a Freedom of Information application in August 2022 looking for information reading the $18 million Australian Future Leaders Program fraud attempt by the GG David Hurley and others. I used the Transparency Warrior FOI service, run by the former independent federal Senator Rex Patrick, which helps people with FOI requests.
The FOI application cost $275 ( paid for courtesy of people who donate to this website) but it was money well spent as Rex Patrick gave good advice on how to approach it. He sent FOI applications to the Finance, Treasury and PM&C departments on the 29th of August 2022 which meant they should have responded by the 28th of September 2022 which is the 30-day time frame they are meant to respond with documents. The fun and games started almost immediately.
Unknown to me, Twitter user Jommy Tee also filed an almost identical FOI application at the same time in August 2022 and I found out in October when he started publishing it on Twitter as per below because he claimed the old media had in effect ripped off their story without giving credit.
Finance and Treasury did hand over limited documents in relation to my request in September and October 2022. Click here and here for Treasury Department documents and click here and here for Finance Department documents.
But we were told that the PM&C had most of the documents and PM&C kept asking for an extension of time. After fun and games with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet for 7 months, documents were finally handed over on the 20th of March 2023 here, here and here.
Why did Jommy Tee get his documents within the 30-day limit, or close to it, and I had to wait almost 7 months?
I never dealt directly with the government and they dealt with Rex Patrick for my FOI applications so to my knowledge they never knew I was behind the applications. As I say in the above video, I think the delay was because the government would not like someone like Rex Patrick putting in numerous FOI applications and taking them to court which Rex Patrick has.
But with the Senate Inquiry now afoot the government can’t afford the play games with Rex Patrick or anyone else from now on at least until the Senate Inquiry is over.
What should have been a simple investigation by me into the corruption of the previous government and Governor-General turned into a corruption investigation into the current government and their abuse of FOI laws.
I wrote extensively about the current government’s abuse of FOI laws a few weeks ago in an article titled “Prime Minister Anthony Albanese sacks Freedom of Information Commissioner Leo Hardiman by constructive dismissal” which you can read so I won’t write more about it now.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the government are digging a huge hole for themselves which will only get deeper with the Senate Inquiry. Anthony Albanese should have delivered on the government transparency he promised when elected and he wouldn’t have this problem now.
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