Free the information! Free the information! :-)

I was reading an email I got today from Crikey, a really good alternative news source for anyone who is interested, and this little snippet struck me as kind of cheeky.

“Game plan revealed. This Age article today gives away the IPA and Tim Wilson’s game plan for fighting the carbon price, says one Crikey reader:

Right-wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs has received a warning from the Department of Climate Change after it submitted more than 750 freedom-of-information requests in four months. The institute, which strongly opposes carbon pricing, has made more than 95 per cent of FOI requests lodged with the department since April …

… It is believed Mr Wilson submitted about 440 information requests on one day in late July and more than 140 on one day last week. A government source said it took about 39 hours of staff time to process each application.”

Now, not only do I think it is a bit cheeky to bog the Department of Climate Change down with frivolous Freedom of Information requests but I think it is particularly cheeky coming from an organisation that regularly spouts off about how inefficient the public service is and how we need to let the private sector run everything. I am paraphrasing here, and they word it a little more subtly on  their website, but that is basically what they believe.

In the interest of fairness (though why I should, it is my blog! 🙂 ), you can read the IPA’s response here. I really like this bit though,

‘Mr Wilson has, very reasonably, agreed not to lodge more requests while the bureaucrats tackle the backlog. We hope this does not give them an excuse to dawdle. The department estimates it takes 39 hours for an officer to process one request, which begs the question of whether our public servants need a dose of productivity training.’

Good game plan. Make lots of requests at 39 hours a piece and then complain about how inefficient the public sector is. Did anyone notice the missing information in this seemingly reasonable piece about our right to know? If you said the lack  of information about what the 750 requests were for then you are right. Bit rich coming from an organisation that believes ‘since in our book there can never be anything vexatious about exercising the public’s right to know. No ifs, no buts.’ and ‘Transparency is about putting as much information in the public domain as possible, not about limiting the flow’.

I mean, 440 requests in one day, how much information do they want to free?? You do have to admire their balls though. 🙂

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