Monday 24 October 2011

Australia And Their Stirling University Problem

This story from upside-down land will seem strangely familiar to regular readers here.

THE Federal health department is considering taking action against big tobacco for lodging "vexatious" Freedom of Information (FOI) claims as part of the industry's fight against Labor's plain-packaging push.

Health department secretary Jane Halton says the department is being "swamped" with FOI requests as part of a deliberate campaign by cigarette manufacturers.
The 'vexatious' part being their wish to find out what government has planned which affects their legal business selling products to willing customers. The bastards!

British American Tobacco Australia (BATA) argues it's been forced to rely on freedom of information applications because Health Minister Nicola Roxon refuses to consult industry.
Eminently believable, I'd say. Perhaps, Nicola, you should have expected such requests when you first set out down the road of excluding an industry from discussions about how they conduct business. Or, with all the bullying you've been doing, had you forgotten that tobacco companies aren't actually cowering lily-livers, after all?

The amount the department can charge for processing requests "goes nowhere near meeting our costs", Ms Halton said.

It can only charge $15 per hour for search and retrieval and $20 an hour for decision-making time. The staff doing the work can earn up to $50 an hour.
Sounds like the federal government has been rather inept then, doesn't it? Are we meant to be surprised by this?

"Documents (already obtained) from the government show they have concerns about the need to pay compensation to the tobacco industry for removing our intellectual property, the growth in illegal tobacco once all packs look the same and an increase in smoking rates due to cheaper cigarettes," BATA spokesman Scott McIntyre told AAP in a statement.
Well, that would go some way to explaining the government's squealing, wouldn't it? How embarrassing if the released documents reveal that, privately, Roxon and her chums are fully expecting the serious problems that, in public bravado, they declare are not going to happen, eh?

We know a Scottish university which is similarly currently in a bit of a cleft stick over FOI requests potentially exposing them as duplicitous, don't we boys and girls?

H/T Cherie, the Aussie informer


nisakiman said...

Stirling seems to have dropped out of the limelight recently - are they still refusing to comply with the FOI act? They really are a bunch of charlatans, aren't they...

john miller said...


$50 an hour to shuffle paper?

$104,000 a year?

I'm on the first flight out sport!