Stanford and Crime and Misconduct Commission
(210677, 22 May 2009)
Section 50(c)(i) Matter disclosure of which would be contempt of Parliament
The applicant sought access to documents of the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) relating to the applicant, including documents passing between the CMC and the Queensland Police Service, documents from the CMC to the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee (PCMC) in relation to a complaint made by the applicant and some other documents.
The CMC treated the access application as a request for documents created since the applicant’s previous similar request in December 2007 and:
· decided to allow the applicant access to 39 documents (comprising 108 pages) in full
· notified the applicant that it was unable to locate any documents concerning the applicant sent by the CMC to the PCMC.
Following receipt of further information from the applicant, the CMC located three additional documents (5 pages) comprising correspondence between the CMC and PCMC. The CMC issued an amended original decision refusing access to those three documents on the basis that they were exempt from disclosure under section 50(c)(i) of the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (FOI Act).
The applicant applied for internal review of the original decision. Having not received a response from the CMC within the statutory time frame, the applicant applied to the Office of the Information Commissioner for external review of the deemed decision to refuse access to the three documents under section 50(c)(i) of the FOI Act. Those three documents comprised:
· two letters from the PCMC to the CMC (one of which attached a letter written by the applicant) (Category A Matter)
· one letter from the CMC and the PCMC (Category B Matter).
The CMC decided (in its amended original decision) that the three documents comprised ‘proceedings in the Assembly’ for the purpose of sections 8 & 9 of the Parliament of Queensland Act 2001, the unauthorised disclosure of the proceedings in the Assembly would infringe the privileges of the Assembly and that disclosure of the three documents had not been authorised. In the course of the review, the applicant provided information relating to complaints he had made about the conduct of a CMC staff member and other freedom of information access and amendment applications he had made.
Having considered the relevant submissions of the participants, relevant legislation, case law relating to parliamentary privilege and the operation of sections 8 & 9 of the Parliament of Queensland Act 2001, and previous decisions of the Information Commissioner, Acting Assistant Commissioner Jefferies found that:
· the Category A Matter and Category B Matter fell within the meaning of ‘proceedings in the Assembly’
· the Category A Matter and Category B Matter cannot be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of the Assembly under section 8(1) of the Parliament of Queensland Act 2001
· there has been no authorised disclosure of the Category A Matter or Category B Matter
· the unauthorised public disclosure of the Category A Matter and/or the Category B Matter other than in accordance with parliamentary processes, would infringe the privileges of parliament.
Accordingly, Acting Assistant Commissioner Jefferies affirmed the decision under review by finding that the Category A Matter and Category B Matter was exempt from disclosure under section 50(c)(i) of the FOI Act.