Nelson and Department of Education
(1993 S0229, 18 November 1994)
This was a ‘reverse-FOI’ application in which the applicant opposed release by the Department of Education of certain letters concerning the affairs of a State School Parents’ and Citizens’ Association.
The applicant claimed that the information in issue concerned his personal affairs and was exempt under s.44(1), however, the Information Commissioner found that (with the exception of two small segments of information) the matter in issue could only properly be characterised as information concerning the affairs of the relevant Parents’ and Citizens’ Association. Two small segments of information which concerned the shared personal affairs of the applicant and other persons were found to be exempt, applying principles set out in B and Brisbane North Regional Health Authority(1994) 1 QAR 279 at paragraphs 172-178.
The applicant also claimed the documents to be exempt under s.46(1)(a) and (b) of the FOI Act, however, the Information Commissioner found that the information in issue was not confidential in nature (it described events which took place in public meetings, and the applicant had canvassed in his local community for supporting signatories, in the manner of a petition) and was not communicated in such circumstances that the respondent understood or ought to have understood that it was communicated in confidence.