Bayliss and Department of Health; Another (Third Party)

Application number:
1995 S0176
Decision date:
Monday, Apr 28, 1997
(1997) 4 QAR 1

Bayliss and Queensland Health (Department of Health); Another (Third Party)
(1995 S0176, 28 April 1997) 

The Information Commissioner found that matter which would identify a person who had made a complaint to the Minister for Health about the applicant's work as a medical practitioner was exempt under s.42(1)(b).  The Information Commissioner rejected the applicant's contentions that the complainant could not be regarded as a confidential source because: 

(a)   the disclosure of the information by the third party to the Premier, the Minister for Health, the Medical Board and the Health Rights Commission, amounted to 'substantial dissemination' of the third party's views, negating any claim to confidentiality; 

(b)   the applicant asserted that he was aware of the identity of the third party (the Information Commissioner considered that in making such an assertion the applicant was engaging merely in guesswork and that for reasons which would be apparent to any independent arbiter permitted to examine the matter in issue, the Information Commissioner was satisfied that the applicant had no confirmed knowledge of the identity of the third party); 

(c)   the third party communicated with the various authorities for no other reason than to cause a mischief (the Information Commissioner stated that s.42(1)(b) was not intended to involve an examination of the motives of the putative confidential source of information); and 

(d)   the matter communicated by the third party was already, to the knowledge of the third party, under investigation by the Medical Board. 

The Information Commissioner disagreed with the respondent's finding that the information given related to the enforcement or administration of the Health Services Act 1991 Qld (since that Act concerns the organisation and delivery of public sector health services in Queensland, rather than the private health services which the applicant provided), but found that the information in issue related to the administration and enforcement of provisions of the Medical Act 1939 Qld and probably also the Health Rights Commission Act 1991 Qld.