Freedom of Information, Privacy Protection & Public Interest Disclosures in the Northern Territory : annual report 2011-2012
Commissioner for Information and Public Interest Disclosures annual report 2011 - 12
Northern Territory. Commissioner for Information and Public Interest Disclosures
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Northern Territory Government
Commissioner for Information and Public Interest Disclosures annual report; Annual Report
Office of the Information Commissioner
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Northern Territory Government
Page 36 Prima facie decision 2 Select Committee information requested The complainant applied to see a submission that was handed up to the Legislative Assembly's Select Committee on Youth Suicides in the Northern Territory in October 2011. Access was refused on the basis of section 54(a), which applies when releasing the information may pose a serious threat to the life or health of a person. The complainant then complained to the Information Commissioner. The decision maker identified that the information was potentially subject to the parliamentary privilege provisions in section 49(e), and sought further information from the parties on this point. The respondent provided information that the Select Committee had restricted publication of the document sought and had not subsequently authorised its publication. Section 22 of the Legislative Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act provides that it is an offence to disclose a document submitted to a committee unless the committee has authorised the publication of the document. The decision maker was also provided with a transcript of the relevant part of the Select Committee proceedings where the Chair restricted publication. The complainant chose not to make any submissions on the topic of parliamentary privilege. The decision maker found that all available evidence unequivocally suggested the information in question was subject of parliamentary privilege. Consequently, the decision maker concluded that there was insufficient prima facie evidence to substantiate the matter complained of and dismissed the complaint. Prima facie decision 3 no decision by the respondent The complainant sought access to certain information that the organisation held about the complainant. The organisation made no original decision and no review decision because it claimed that it was too busy with other matters. The organisation therefore did not provide any reasons as to why the information should not be released to the applicant. The organisation was again invited to make submissions about the release of the information but it failed to do so. The decision maker considered the objects of the Act which create a general right of access to information and the requirement that the Commissioner must have regard to the objects of the Act when performing her functions under the Act. The decision maker also noted the absence of any arguments from the organisation to explain why the information was exempt and consequently concluded that there was sufficient prima facie evidence to substantiate the complaint.
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