Sorry Saga - New Blitz Edition


I vote bigallan as Secretary of the Department of Health to sort these jerks out.


Haha - Health wouldn’t permit


Article in today’s Age about Ivanka Trump not knowing what complicit means. There are a few ASADA, Health Dept, AFL employees and journalists who seem to have Ivanka’s problem.


Mr Hunt:
Having read the briefing notes to you from Health officials, I find it regrettable that they have misinformed you.
In a legal setting, the advice and conclusions would be classified as having the character of apprehended bias.
The evidence provided misrepresents the facts and omits important new and substantive evidence.
Evidence of bias is underscored by the adverse comments on the character of certain Essendon officials, not supported by relevant omitted evidence. The authors should apologise.
ASADA ‘s reputation was tarnished by its handling of the Essendon case. Sadly, it now seem that your Health officials are no less tarnished.


That is to the point and more likely to elicit a response than Bruce’s bombasts.

Well said BA.

will you send that to him? If not you who else can?


I won’t ( for complex reasons) but anyone else is free to draw on it.


I respect your reasons. I hope someone in J34 with the knowledge to do so can act on your advice.


I have worked closely with Health officials on difficult policy issues and they have my respect.
This briefing is is out of character. It can be read two ways: : tellling him what he wants to hear; political cover up by those involved


It is a problem.

McDevitt sent his response letter to the Privileges Committee and they claimed parliamentary privilege over it. Its not written into Hansard either.

So the plan is for J34 will go in hard and provide proof beyond reasonable doubt that McDevitt lied to the Senate.

Essentially, in an FOI appeal, J34 are calling out McDevitt and the Privileges Committee.

Good plan or not? Consequences are what, exactly?


Was it the Privileges Committee that claimed privilege over a document which it did not originate?
There are a few
Journos without any interest in the saga who are relentless in their pursuit of the pollies on FOI. Sean Parnell is one of the fiercest. Alice Workman at Buzzfeed might be interested

To my mind there is an important public policy issue here. Two people have documented their allegations, but are not permitted to see the response. They have no way of knowing whether MCDevitt told the truth in his response. How would it be if the shoe were on the other foot, if MCDevitt were not permitted to see the documented allegations? That seems grossly unfair.
In the past the Privileges Committee has published its reports.


I don’t understand your second last paragraph.
What do you mean by an FOI appeal?
To me it’s self evident McDevitt misled the Senate. However, the relevant Senate committee denies he did. I suspect a cover up, a circling of the wagons, whatever. But where do we go to get traction?
If we could get the media to take it up to shame the Senate, and in particular Senator Dunium, the Chair of the Committee that denies McDevitt misled the Senate, that would be a start.
But how do we do that?
The consequences for McDevitt are limited given he is no longer employed by the Commonwealth. However, establishing he lied, would lead to all actions of ASADA being re-examined and would disprove Hunt’s contention that there is no new information which he has used as a cover for not instituting an investigation.


A tactic might be to go public on twitter or whatever, keep it simple, avoid detail and legalities of FOI.
For example:
Two members of the public made claims about a witness at a senate Inquiry. They are not allowed to see his response. That’s not due process by our legislators.


An appeal is being prepared to ask for McDevitt’s letter to Privileges Committee to be released.

It was mentioned previously that the best course of action to get this document released is to show exactly how he misled the Senate. That is what is happening.

This is what ASADA have written on the subject:

ASADA submits:

The advice also referred to Senate standing order 37 and Senate procedural order of continuing effect No. 4 which provides that “The Senate confirms that any disclosure of evidence or documents submitted to a committee, …without the approval of the committee or of the Senate, may be treated by the Senate as a contempt.”

ASADA’s decision to exempt the document under section 46 of the FOI Act was based on the fact that the Senate committee, had not published it through Hansard or other senate publications and despite an FOI request the committee had decided not to publish it.

I note your submissions of 10 May 2017, which state:

The rationale used to refuse the release of this correspondence, which in fact clears a government employee from misleading the Senate, is perplexing given the importance of this issue and the public interest in this anti doping case. Disclosure would promote accountability and transparency.

However, the s 46 exemption does not require consideration of public interest factors. That is, the public interest is an irrelevant consideration when deciding whether or not a documents is exempt under s 46.

In my preliminary view as case officer, that disclosure of the document would infringe the privileges of the Senate. Therefore, the document is exempt under s 46 of the FOI Act.


All ASADA has to do is to ask permission from the Senate Committee to release the document.
Francis and Hird did not need to ask the Senate permission to release their documents.


Stabby: just to note the operative word is “may”.
In its response ASADA has converted it to “would”. In legal terms they are not synonyms.
How does ASADA know it “ would” be contempt if the Senate had not made such a ruling? In effect, ASADA is usurping the authority of the Senate to make such decision.


I’d say it is the second reason but then I am not impressed with our current government


I think we all know why they didn’t on this occasion


Leaving aside the legal technicalities of FOI, it is an astonishing statement that public interest is irrelevant when considering to exempt a document, particularly given the Senate has flexibility under the “ may “ word.
I gave up on pursuing FOI, whose underlying object and purpose is now being disregarded and is operating as a protection racket.
It is useful to make FOI requests, but importantly , to document the refusals on the basis of transparency and natural justice- and to avoid getting into legal games.


A cheap shot at ASADA ( and leaving out some of the bits, but ASADA deserves it.
How would it be if the Human Headline were to run the line that ASADA claims public interest is irrelevant in refusing an FOI request?


Can’t find any rule that says the FOI decision maker is PROHIBITED from applying a public interest test