Rebecca White MP and Minister Barnett, Minister for Resources, Minister for Building and Construction (January 2021)

The applicant sought four incoming ministerial briefs prepared for Minister Barnett upon his appointment as Minister for Resources and Minister for Building and Construction. The briefs were from the Department of State Growth and the Department of Justice. Minister Barnett decided the briefs were entirely exempt pursuant to s27 and/or s35. In relation to s27, Minister Barnett asserted that any factual information contained in the briefs could be located by other means such as departmental websites and annual reports. In relation to s35, the Minister argued that the public interest in protecting the deliberative process outweighed the public interest in release of the information. Ms White applied for external review, asserting that much of the information could not be publicly located. Ms White further submitted that the public interest test had been incorrectly applied in the decision.

The Ombudsman varied the Minister’s decision, determining that most of the information in the ministerial briefings was ‘purely factual information’ within the meaning of s27(4) and s35(2). As such, that information was not exempt and should be released to the applicant. A table overview of [then] ‘current prosecutions and significant investigations’ under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 was now no longer: current; nor exempt under s30.

The Ombudsman agreed that some information was exempt under: s26(1)(d); s27; or (after applying the public interest test, only the name of the mother of a deceased worker) s36.

Rebecca White MP and Minister Barnett, Minister for Resources, Minister for Building and Construction  (PDF, 3.2 MB)

Michael Atkin and Tasmania Police (October 2019)

Mr Atkin, an ABC journalist, submitted a request to Tasmania Police seeking information in relation to the gun trafficking trade in Tasmania in February 2015. Nearly 300 pages of information were claimed exempt under a range of different sections given the sensitivity of the information. The application of the various sections was largely supported by this office with a few minor changes to Tasmania Police’s decision.

Michael Atkin and Tasmania Police (PDF, 1.1 MB)