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Key decisions

  • Australian Information Commissioner v Elstone Pty Ltd [2018] FCA 463
  • CPJ16 v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection [2018] FCA 45
  • Comcare v Wuth [2018] FCAFC 13


What is a ‘matter’?

In Australian Information Commissioner v Elstone Pty Ltd [2018] FCA 463 (9 April 2018) the Court was considering a referral of two questions of law by the Australian Information Commissioner (‘the Information Commissioner’) under s 55H of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (‘FOI Act).

A company (‘Sydney HeliTours’) made a freedom of information request (‘FOI request’) to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (‘CASA’) for access to a copy of a complaint made to CASA against it. CASA decided that the relevant document was exempt in full and Sydney HeliTours sought a review by the Information Commissioner under s 54L of the FOI Act of CASA’s decision (‘IC review’). Before the IC review was complete, CASA decided to vary its decision by providing Sydney HeliTours with access to some material in the document but redacting parts of the document. Sydney HeliTours pressed for access to the document in full in the IC review. CASA’s view was that the IC review now related to its varied or revised decision. However, there was a construction of the applicable provisions of the FOI Act in decisions of the Administrative Appeal Tribunal (‘AAT’) to the effect that an agency cannot vary its original decision under s 55G by giving the FOI applicant access to more information that is not the entire document or the entire material requested (at [12]).

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