Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

Right to Information …

*Pic: Image from here, where there is a biography of Rick Snell

An interesting article published in the Examiner (May 20) re outgoing UTAS Deputy Dean of Law Rick Snell. I wish him well.

FOI law provides citizens with access to government documents with the aim of promoting transparency and accountability of government, its officials, and their actions.

Previously we had FOI in Tas but then it was changed to Right to Information (RTi).

I recently enquired again of Ombudsman Tasmania about the length of time it was taking to provide me with RTI releases.

On the 26th April it was confirmed my Hydro (Basslink) request was lodged on the 15th February 2017 (434 days ago).

My DPIPWE (smoke regulations) request was lodged on the 6th October 2017 (201 days ago).

Add to this another 35 days at the time of writing this letter.

Information is held under lock and key by Tasmania Police, taking up their resources. Why?

Dr Snell went on to say …

“If you think the hard issues – the floods, the cable car, the fisheries [including] both fish farms on the West Coast or East Coast expenditure on infrastructure [and] child services … if you name the whole raft of sensitive hot topic issues, your chances of getting reliable, quick information from the government at the bureaucracy is almost next to none, or it would be significantly delayed.” And there are many other hard issues not mentioned by Dr Snell.

To achieve secrecy, our current State Government is determined to under-resource the Ombudsman so he cannot provide information in a timely manner under the Act, or at all.

The Act is there to assist democracy. Obviously this is not what the Liberals are about.

Clive Stott is a former city branch, vice-president of the Tasmanian Young Liberals. He doesn’t like the amount of secrecy the current Liberals operate under …

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. john hayward

    June 3, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Like the Easter Bunny and Santa, the idea of an FOI/RTi is a charming but politically correct idea that has no place in a right-wing kleptocracy.

    The Tasmanian Ombudsman of some years ago brought this home a while ago when I sought his opinion on a council’s comprehensive flouting of the Judicial Review Act. After a number of transparent evasions, the Ombudsman informed me that he would no longer correspond with me if I wasn’t more cooperative.

    The rationale for our TPi can be clearly seen in Russia, where Vlad regularly cites the silence of that country’s justice system as proof that he does no wrong.

    We can only ponder why Rick Snell waited post-retirement to unload on this increasingly preposterous failing in our own system.

    John Hayward

  2. Clive Stott

    June 3, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    A DPIPWE member was seconded to the Ombudsman’s office to help out for a short time.

    Guess who paid for this because of insufficient Ombudsman funding? DPIPWE of course.

    Robbing Peter to pay Paul – and this government tries to tell us everything is OK. Fake news!

    Can you imagine the stress being inflicted on these departments and their employees?

  3. Kevin Moylan

    June 3, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    December 1999. Ombudsman, Jan O’Grady, informs me “We’re very sorry Kevin, but we can’t find your file.” Post retirement, intellectual and University of Tasmania Rick Snell is as weak as water. I approached him countless times to publicly support me and other public interest Whistleblowers. “It’s not my job” he said.

    They ‘pretend’ and ‘portray’ to support free speech and ethical dissent, but in the end all they are concerned about is their annual Irish winter holiday, and feathering their own UTA privileged nests.

  4. Clive Stott

    June 4, 2018 at 5:20 am

    I wrote this article to share my experiences. Others must be having similar problems.

    Usually one person is responsible for assessing all external reviews across the 70 or so public authorities that the Act encompasses. This is a huge job and it requires more full-time funding.

    I feel people should use RTI more and speak up more, and not consider it a waste of time or too hard to put in a request for information, or wait for someone else to do it.

    As a footnote, I was advised today that a preliminary decision has been made on the DPIPWE matter.

  5. Robin Charles Halton

    June 6, 2018 at 8:45 am

    #4 … Unfortunately my dear Clive, the government needs to keep up a smoke screen (excuse the pun) to keep those prying and emotional Greens from receiving information with which they can detonate the media.

    The Greens like to reveal too much, too soon, resulting in explosive time-wasting debates in Parliament.

    Eventually Hodgman will face the chop, and hopefully a new leader will emerge from the Liberals, and you know who I mean, who may have a different slant on FOI .. a leader who may be less afraid of what the public and the Greens think at time of release.

    Letting the cat out of the bag too soon is not something the Hodgman Government is confident enough to handle.

    Until we have highly respected leader at the top, inadequate access to FOI will remain, or actually get worse, as decision making continues along vague lines of communication!

  6. Poppy Lopatniuk

    June 7, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Some years ago I approached the Ombudsman’s Office where I was met with sympathy and directed to Medical Ombudsman where I was met with sympathy again and directed to health minister of the day and told she would help me.

    After repeated attempts I could not get an appointment to see her, but later letter arriving giving me the brush-off. Probably Clive, having been through the long drawn out attempts for justice .. Ethics Comittee etc etc .. the tethers wear very thin.

  7. William Boeder

    June 14, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    Yes, Clive, there is much amiss in the State of Tasmania, the issue of nil transparency of government, the now lengthy delays in the compliance to the Right to Information Act that thwarts the accessibility to Tasmania’s State government departments, being they that are failing the purposes of their enabled office of authority and regulation.

    Add to the list the serious issues of health and welfare, then also the Liberal party desire for more harsh or greater suppression of public opinion, I must include here the noticeable decline in Constitutional governance, lastly the next to nil representation obliged to the Australian people. (For what reason does the State host a Governor who seems only to concern herself with those who have branded themselves as Tasmania’s Exclusives?)

    I had observed the ugly agenda which had commenced with a silent unannounced gusto, from the day a certain Liberal party stoat was elected to perform the role of Australia’s Prime Minister, unfortunately, it was to be in the form of John “Fibber” Howard.
    It is fair to say here Clive, that people our age have witnessed the diminishing public representation by the power-crazed Liberal faction, then one is reminded of John Howard’s buddy-buddy liaisons with that cur of American politics, George W Bush.
    Bush will be long remembered for the covert false-flag event of demolishing America’s Twin Towers, also the demolishment of the lives of 2,753 American citizens. All done to create a reason to invade Iraq and commence the plunder of Iraq’s wealth and resources. (Not forgetting John “Fibber” Howard’s immediate commitment of Australia’s military forces to his best mate, George W Bush.)

    https://theconversation.com/keating-says-howards-iraq-war-commitment-brought-the-spectre-of-terrorism-to-australia-62205

    The most prominent agenda of the Liberal party today is to disempower the voice of the people and to retain political office no matter the means to obtain that refractory objective.

    Inevitably the current Liberal State government (through the disingenuous wiles of Senator Erich Abetz) have launched this traitor-like Liberal party defiance upon the people of Tasmania. Thus we as the Tasmanian citizens are bogged down by the government ignored citizen-voiced concerns, the overall reduction of citizen health & welfare budgets et al, which has since deeply darkened our lives through and by the presence of the thug-bully warship of Liberal party design.

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