Government success

Government Laws and Public Access to Information

Every government enacts a number of laws that all citizens must abide by in order for it to function effectively and run the nation. In order to prevent boycotts and large-scale protests, it also creates laws that make sure that the public's complaints and requests are met.

The Freedom of Information Act and its Advantages

The Australian and New South Wales governments created the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act to formally enact the right to access public records. It encompassed the State's ministers and agencies. According to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, the legislation had the following advantages. It gives the Citizens the freedom to view all the data that the government records regarding them and to request for amendment if they find out that the information is erroneous or biased.

It ensures openness and accountability of all the activities of the government. This act provides that the greedy leaders do not misuse the country's resources.

Motivates the society to get involved in the public duties of the nation. It builds patriotism and leads to the development of the country.

This law is very crucial has it protects the citizens from abuse of their human privileges by the government and prevents secret torture during war or conviction. The core purpose of this paper is to establish how FOI Act is applied both in Australia and NSW. It will also determine whether the rights of the citizens under this law are fully adhered to or are they violated.

Relevant and Strongest Grounds of Review

There are several cases which involve the denial of information to the public by the government. Aloysia began requesting for files stipulated under the FOI Act in 2012. This request was addressed to primary state's units like the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, Attorney General, and Foreign Affairs and Trade. The following are some of the suits in Australia:

The Prime Minister and the Cabinet

This case involved the mistreatment of the Australian Citizens by the Central Intelligence Agency at Guantanamo Bay. The citizens were detained illegally, tormented and abused by those who were supposed to protect and guard them. The evidence of the communication between the United States delegates and the government of Australian leaders was researched and finally found. It included a dialogue between the Vice President of US Dick Cheney and the new Prime Minister in Australia Howard in 2007 February. The citizens wrote to the office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to seek for the information for more than two years, but no single detail was advanced to them. This process has been recurring over and over, but the office has delayed giving feedback during the stipulated interval in the constitution, in several events. The first application was made away within claim that the office had to discuss the matter with the government of the US and that the process will cost them a lot of funds. To find the cause of the mistreatment of the Australian citizens, the Information Commissioner passed a decision that the office of the Prime Minister had to submit the required documents to the plaintiff within thirty days. This rule took place in June 2015.

Foreign Affairs and Trade department

The Information Commissioner had a case concerning Guantanamo and David Hicks. The Australian citizens sought information regarding the situation of detention in Guantanamo, some claims of oppression, and medical treatment. The main agenda was to ascertain whether the prisoners were given a just trial in the 2006 Military Commissions Act, the level of political disturbance in the particular trial of David Hicks. The initial files that were known to exist went missing and could not be traced. Among the missing documents, one of them had details on the dialogue between David Hicks's lawyer and Alexander Downer. It proved that the government of Australia was insisting on an appeal agreement. Moreover, there was a proof of contrast between what the state was publicly saying about Hicks's handling in Guantanamo and the real information exchanged via telephone lines. A new appeal was made in place of an internal review of the files. However, this process also yielded to nothing since the information obtained showed no relevance to the case. Due to this pattern, an appeal was made to the Information Commissioner in 2014 April. The outcome of the case is still on hold.

The Attorney General Office

The appellant demand sought for any pictures, files or accounts that contained information about the detention in Guantanamo, the Australian government supplication deal with the US government. Some details were lost, and only eleven papers were availed. These papers proved that the government of Australia was informed that David would not get a just hearing in the Military Commission. They also brought to light that David was ill-treated and a proof of conversation that entailed he was not to receive a fair judgment. The trial has not yet been solved.

The defense department

In this case, the accuser wished to find out whether the Joint Special Operations Command was training the forces of Australia in Melbourne at Swan Island. Her earlier plea to the information was refuted in a claim that the release of the particular information will harm the state's security. The petition was taken to the Information Commissioner to establish whether there were any relations between the US forces and the Australian security officers. The evidence concerning this case was later presented to the claimant on October 2014. It proofed that actually, the US forces trained the Australian forces on matters regarding defense and use of weapons such as guns.

Most Advisable Avenues of Review Available

Major reforms were introduced in 2010 by the Australian government. The Freedom of Information Act was amended, and a new law was formed concerning the Information Commission. There was also a formation of the Office of Australian Information Commissioner (AIC), a self-governing legal organization. It linked the administration and the rules they established through the FOI Law. The AIC was given an upper hand on matters concerning data assembling, exploitation, sharing and conservation. The duties of the Freedom of Information commissioner was to spread knowledge, issue the relevant procedures in the FOI Act, make any suggestions about statutory alteration or governmental acts, observe adherence of the agencies to the law and collect all the required information concerning matters of the Freedom Of Information enactment. The current Commissioner of FOI was given more authority like to denial permit to any files, to carry out an internal review of the documents and to make a critical decision concerning a case, a function that was previously entitled to the agency. Analysis by the Administrative Appeal Tribunal (AAT) was readily accessible after an interior analysis within the organization. Another form of evaluation of the FOI examination was by addressing one's grievances to the Commonwealth Ombudsman. In the real sense, outside merits evaluations were redirected from the AAT to the Commissioner of the FOI. As a result of this, the number of trials presented to the AAT was remarkably reduced. Presentation of a review to the AAT attracted a price of $861 while there was no fee imposed in the trial of Information Commission review.

Part 1: Non-judicial review

A review means reasons for a decision or action. Non-judicial reviews are out of court supporting evidence for a particular decision. Reviews result when you disagree with the choices made by the minister or Australian Government under the FOI Act of 1982. That is, you seek for a review if you requested for particular files and was denied complete access if asked for a charge by an agency to process your plea, if another person is to be given a permit to details about you, and if your request to amend your information is not granted. In general, you ask for a review if you are not satisfied by the information in the FOI enactment. A consideration of a decision can be made through:

Internal Review

This report is also known as reconsideration. In this case, an individual is allowed to question the agency to evaluate its conclusion if not satisfied or disagrees with the FOI decision made by the office. It's usually an internal procedure, and there is no need to involve an external body. Another separate agency officer will undertake the assessment, most likely one at a higher rank. There is no cost incurred during an internal review. It's a requirement to claim within thirty days after being alerted about the decision, lest the agency extends the application period. If a person wants to apply at a later date, he or she must communicate with the body to get the approval. The agency must make the review verdict within thirty days. If it's unable to do so, its initial decision is taken as the final choice. If unsatisfied with the ruling, one has the mandate to appeal to an outside body that will look into the matter and make a fair judgment. However, in cases where the chief officer or the minister does the internal review personally, the decision cannot be reversed.

Informal Review

Under this case, the review is undertaken by the Information Commissioner office which is independent. It can review all the decisions made by ministers and agencies in the FOI Act. The commissioner examines all grievances raised about an agency acts under FOI law. It's not a mandatory for one to undergo the internal review first, but one can apply straight to the Information Commissioner. It's always advisable to apply first through the internal review procedure since it allows the agency to correct the earlier wrong decision and your desires may be fulfilled quickly. Normally, it's free to apply for consideration by the Information Commissioner. However, if one is objecting a choice of denial to access certain documents, a demand of a cost or denial to change particular information, the application must be made within sixty days after being informed of the decision. You also have to apply within thirty says if objecting a decision to give a permit to another individual. If one is not able to make an application within the stipulated time, he or she has the right to ask for an extension from the Information Commissioner. The IC will only grant such permission if it considers the reasons for the delay to be substantial. It's not a guarantee that the IC will review your complaints. It can either: make a new decision and do away with the earlier one, affirm the decision or reject the decision. If it realizes that your issues are fictions and lack the basics, or you fail to comply with their requirements or even fail to communicate with it, they can do away with your case. The decision of the IC is final and cannot be appealed. However, you can withdraw your application before the IC arrives at a decision.


It is the cheapest and fastest way of resolving your problems. An Ombudsman is a neutral government's arm that is established to ensure that the executive powers are exercised impartially and per the law. Unlike other forms of review appeal like the Supreme Court or even Magistrates Court, Ombudsman costs nothing to the defendant. The other methods are quite expensive and consume a lot of time before concluding. This avenue concentrates with the objectivity and honesty of the decision. It has an extensive investigative authority, but its results are inadequate. It is because it can only make approvals to modify government's actions that cause a wrong decision. It's not a must for a decision maker to adhere to these recommendations for better decision-making, but most of the times they are followed. If one is satisfied with the decision made by the Ombudsman, he or she can appeal only to the Supreme Court, if the court accepts to take up such a case. An Ombudsman research can last for more than twenty-eight days. During this time, an appeal can be made to the Supreme Court. However, the court has no mandate to prolong the fixed period. It's a precise and accurate time. In most cases, an appeal to the court from the Ombudsman is highly likely to fail, lest the Ombudsman's office has no power to e3xamine the grievance. The Ombudsman can fail to investigate the protest if the issue raised is trivial, the complaint made is dishonest, the defendant lacks interest in the matter, or when the problem increase is unjustifiable.

Part 2: Judicial Review

This review checks out whether a conclusion has been made lawfully. It's entirely different from the merits review since it cannot examine the realities or benefits of the trial. It's not also in a position to make a verdict that practices the authority of the initial decision maker anew. If the judicial review ascertains that the decision was made unlawfully, it can only resend the decision to the original decision maker for reexamination.

Jurisdictional Challenges

Not every conclusion arrived at by the government will be in line with the rules of the court to preside that case. Some decisions may be omitted from the significant Act, while others may be viewed immaterial due to elapse of a certain time limit. Even in cases that the administrative body is working with the relevant subject matter, it may over-exercise its powers. For example, enforcing a punishment which it was not mandated to implement. The following are scenarios where the administrative body's decisions can be challenged:

Improper practice of power

A tribunal will intervene in the actions of an executive if it discovers that the body is exercising more powers (ultra vires) than its mandated by the Parliament which implements and amends the laws of the country.

Inappropriate considerations

When there is proof that a governing body has arrived its decisions by using facts or materials that are not related to the subject matter, the court can interfere. For there to be an agreement on what is relevant to the issue at hand, it's good to relate the motives for the conclusion with those allowed by the governing Act.

Wrong Reasons

The managerial body might pass laws that only benefit the leaders and mistreat the citizens. For example, the government might hide some crucial information from the public to squander the country's resources. The courts can interfere with such choices to bring the activities of the government into the light.

Lack of reasoning

The judiciary can claim that the actions taken by the governmental were so irrational that no sound organization would have arrived at it. It proves that the decisions undertaken contradict the law. The decision maker may have reached on this awkward rule as a result of not following the significant facts stipulated in the law.

Bad Faith

In this case, the court can attack the decisions of the administration on the basis that cases of corruption influenced the resolution. It is a very grave accusation on the actions of the government, and the facts must be proven beyond unreasonable doubts.


The courts may argue out that the decisions of the government are so meaningless. It means that such decisions do not prompt people to act on them.

Lack of proper record

Every authority should keep a good record account of the reasons that make them arrive at certain conclusions. Where the court can establish that the power has no evidence for their decisions, it can challenge the decree of such an institution on the basis that it lacks proper evidence on the matter on hand.

Poor delegation

This case occurs where a decision-making body lets an organ make its decisions that it has no control. The court may argue out that the decision made is vague and immaterial since it was not raised by the institution given the powers to do so by the law.


It occurs where the government suppresses and threatens to harm the public if they don't comply with its rules. A court may intervene to ensure that the authority does not use its powers to gain an added advantage over its citizens.


The FOI Act of 1982 was enacted to ensure that the citizens of the Australian government gained access to the government's information and activities. It was made to make sure that the government was transparent to its citizens and for the people to take a direct participation in the activities of the state. However, not all documents were easily available to the citizens. Some critical information was withheld from the public so that some details could be hidden to uphold the right image of the government. It is gross since the government should be on the forefront to ensure that the rules of the law are fully followed. On the other hand, the judiciary should always ensure that the government does not engage in actions that are beyond its powers. It should also ensure that the rights and freedom of the citizens are protected.


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