Right to Know Day
International Right to Know Day is celebrated every year, on 28 September, to raise awareness of the importance of open and accountable government and the community’s right to access government held information.
This right to access government held information is essential for transparent and accountable government in a democratic society, by promoting and facilitating greater public participation and scrutiny, and supporting better decision-making.
The Queensland Office of the Information Commissioner held the annual Solomon Lecture on 28 August 2019. Fiona McLeod SC delivered the lecture, titled Accountability in the Age of the Artificial. The lecture focused on transparency, openness and accountability in the context of increasing adoption of technologies such as artificial intelligence in government functions and decision-making. The lecture was followed by a panel discussion. For more information see here.
Community expectations and FOI – are they at odds?
OVIC held a public forum on whether community expectations of FOI and how the FOI Act is administered are at odds, and if so, how they may be reconciled.
Professor Moira Paterson, Monash University, moderated a panel featuring the following guest speakers:
- Clay Lucas, The Age
- Melanie Olynyk, Maddocks
- Robin Davey, Victoria Police
- Joanne Kummrow, Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner
To view a recording of this event see here.
City of Kingston Right to Know Day forum
The City of Kingston held a Right to Know Day celebration on 26 September. Local government is unique and important in the FOI system in Victoria given the high number of FOI requests they receive and the personal nature of the information it holds about its citizens. The Information Commissioner Sven Bluemmel gave the keynote address which can be found here.
As part of Right to Know Day, we published the following media releases:
In the lead up to Right to Know Day 2019, new research measuring community attitudes towards freedom of information in Victoria, commissioned by the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC), shows Victorians feel strongly about the importance of having access to government information. The media release summarises the Victorian results from the research.
In 2019 OVIC commissioned Associate Professor Johan Lidberg, Monash University, to facilitate a pilot study and produce independent research on the culture of administering the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) and the Victorian information access system overall. Following completion of the pilot study, which was conducted between May and August 2019, Associate Professor Lidberg produced a report titled The culture of administering access to government information and freedom of information in Victoria. The media release discusses the results of the report.
For more information see our blog post Report into the culture of FOI in Victoria: key insights.
Information Access Commissioners and Ombudsman from NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, the Commonwealth of Australia and the Ombudsman from ACT released findings of their first cross jurisdictional study of community attitudes to access to government information. The Information Access Study 2019 is part of Australia’s Open Government National Action Plan 2018-2020 and measures citizens’ awareness of the right to access government information, and their experiences and outcomes in exercising that right. See highlights of the results here.