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Ministerial veto scrapped in Australia

The Australian Government has introduced legislation to remove the power to issue conclusive certificates under the Australian FOI Act, the equivalent of the ministerial veto in the UK Act. This means that all exemption decisions in Australia will now be subject to full external merits review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Special Minister of State, Senator John Faulkner, said “I believe public confidence in government decision making is increased if those decisions are open to being fully tested by an independent review process. This Bill marks the first step in the Government’s plan to undertake the most significant overhaul of the FOI Act since its inception in 1982.”

However, Matthew Moore, the Sydney Morning Herald’s freedom of information editor, writes that the timetable for further reform has been slipping.

All talk, little action from Rudd so far, Matthew Moore November 29 2008

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