EDH and Griffith University; Lewis (Third Party)

Application number:
1993 S0121
Decision date:
Tuesday, Jul 30, 1996
(1996) 3 QAR 315

EDH and Griffith University; Lewis (Third Party)
(1993 S0121, 30 July 1996)


Applying the principles discussed in B and Brisbane North Regional Health Authority(1994) 1 QAR 279, the Information Commissioner found that certain parts of a doctoral thesis on the process of change within an Australian tertiary institution, were exempt matter under s.46(1)(a).  The Information Commissioner discussed the 'public interest exception' to actions for breach of confidence expounded by the High Court in Esso Australia Resources Limited and Ors v Plowman (1995) 69 ALJR 404.  The Information Commissioner decided that relevant public interest considerations concerning –
·       enhancement of public knowledge and understanding of aspects of the operation of the publicly-funded tertiary institution portrayed in the thesis;
·       the accountability of Griffith University in respect of assessment of theses; and
·       the availability to the community of research subsidised by public funding;
·       were satisfied by the disclosure, which had already occurred, of the vast majority of the thesis.