Fairall and James Cook University

Application number:
2001 S0095
Decision date:
Friday, Jun 29, 2001

Fairall and James Cook University
(2001 S0095, 29 June 2001) 

This was a 'reverse FOI' application in which the applicant objected to the disclosure of documents relating to expenses incurred on a trip to South Africa, which was undertaken by the applicant in his capacity as Head of the School of Law at the University.  The FOI access applicant, a journalist with The Courier-Mail, had already published a story about the applicant's trip, including the fact that the applicant had been obliged to reimburse the University almost $1,700 in overpaid allowances. 

The applicant contended that the matter in issue, which the University was prepared to disclose to the FOI access applicant, was exempt matter under s.39, s.41(1), s.44(1) and s.46(1) of the FOI Act.  Assistant Information Commissioner Shoyer found that none of the matter in issue qualified for exemption from disclosure under s.39, as it did not relate to an audit by the Auditor-General; or under s.41(1), as it did not constitute an opinion, advice or recommendation; or under s.44(1), as the University had already correctly determined that those segments of matter which concerned the applicant's personal affairs were exempt from disclosure; or under s.46(1), as it did not disclose anything which was not already in the public domain.