A Member of the Legislative Assembly and Queensland Corrective Services Commission; a Prisoner (Third Party)
(1997 S0071, 25 July 1997)
In this 'reverse FOI' application, the Information Commissioner rejected a claim by the MLA that the FOI Act did not apply to a letter in the hands of the respondent, which the MLA had written to the respondent, passing on concerns raised by members of the public about a prisoner. The Information Commissioner decided that s.11(1)(b) of the FOI Act does not exclude a document from the application of the FOI Act merely because it was created by, or refers to, an MLA; rather, the letter in the hands of the respondent was a 'document of an agency' and subject to the application of the FOI Act.
The letter did not identify the members of the public who had complained to the MLA. Applying the principles discussed in B and Brisbane North Regional Health Authority (1994) 1 QAR 279, the Information Commissioner determined that the letter was not exempt under s.46(1)(b) of the FOI Act. The Information Commissioner found that there was no evidence to support an express or implied mutual understanding that the letter would be treated in confidence. Nor could it reasonably be expected that disclosure of the particular letter would prejudice the future supply of like information. The Information Commissioner also discussed the application of s.42(1)(f) of the FOI Act, indicating that, even if a relevant method or procedure for protecting public safety could be identified, disclosure of the letter in question could not reasonably be expected to prejudice its maintenance.