Intelligence Agencies should to be subject to freedom of information laws, Information
Commissioner, John McMillan (pictured) says.
He expressed concern about “mixed messages” on open Government and transparency from the Federal Government.
In an interview with the Guardian Australia newspaper, Professor John McMillan said Intelligence Agencies should be subject to freedom of information (FoI) legislation.
“I think the FoI Act can suitably apply to any Agencies, Parliamentary Departments and the Intelligence Agencies,” Professor McMillan said.
“The exemptions are adequate to protect whatever has to be protected.”
Currently, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Australian Secret Intelligence Service and the Australian Signals Directorate are all totally exempt from FoI laws.
In the United States, the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency are both subject to FoI laws.
However, Professor McMillan said he was not confident changes would be made to freedom of information laws.
“I’m also realistic and do not put a lot of time into arguing that case because I think it unlikely in the near future that there’s going to be any change,” he said.
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