Eccleston and Department of Family Services and Aboriginal and Islander Affairs
(1993 S0015, 30 June 1993)
In this case, the Information Commissioner was asked to review a decision of the Department refusing to grant access to documents comprising consultation comments on policy proposals being developed by another agency for eventual consideration by Cabinet. The basis for the agency's refusal to grant access to the documents sought was that they comprised matter relating to the deliberative processes of government within the meaning of s.41(1)(a) of the FOI Act, and that disclosure of that matter would be contrary to the public interest.
In the Information Commissioner's decision, the Commissioner explained the proper construction of s.41 of the FOI Act. The decision contains an explanation of the concept of the 'public interest' in FOI legislation, and an explanation of the objects of Queensland's FOI legislation, which include enhancing openness and accountability of government and promoting informed public participation in the decision-making and policy forming processes of government.
The Information Commissioner determined that the applicant was entitled to have access to the matter which had been claimed to be exempt under s.41 of the FOI Act, except for a small portion of one document which was exempt matter under the 'Cabinet matter' exemption provided for in s.36(1) of the FOI Act.