QUESTION: Non compliance with freedom of information legislation

In Question Time, Mark asked the Minister for Health and Wellbeing when he will obey the law and provide the Freedom of Information documents that he was ordered to release by the Ombudsman in September. This is the second question Mark has asked the Minister about the release of these documents which are Government consideration of market impacts if the proposed federal deregulation of new GM techniques were approved.


The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: Three weeks ago I asked the Minister for Health and Wellbeing why he had not yet complied with a determination of the Ombudsman to release certain documents to me under the Freedom of Information Act. These were documents that related to the subject of genetically modified organisms, which I note has occupied a little of the time of the other place today. The documents the Ombudsman ordered to be released were followed up by my office after the 30-day appeal period had expired. They were followed up again by email and again today, and yet we still have no indication that the Minister intends to abide by the law.

The problem that I have is that I don't have the right to go to SACAT on appeal, because I am not aggrieved at the Ombudsman's decision. The Ombudsman made a most excellent decision. I've got no right to go to court, yet there appears to be no mechanism to force the Minister to obey the law.

My questions again of the minister are:

When will you obey the law?

When will you comply with the Ombudsman's ruling? and

When will you provide these Freedom of Information documents that you were ordered to provide back in September?

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing): I have every intention of abiding by the law. In relation to the Freedom of Information law, there are processes for review not only of a Minister's office or department's decision but also in relation to decisions of the Ombudsman. We will continue to consider our options in relation to the freedom of information.


You can read Mark's previous question to the Minister here.