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Freedom of Information in Australia, Canada and New Zealand

Hazell, R; (1989) Freedom of Information in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Public Administration pp. 189-210. 10.1111/j.1467-9299.1989.tb00721.x.

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Abstract

In 1982, Australia, Canada and New Zealand introduced freedom of information (FOI) laws. The author visited all three countries in 1986-7 to study how the legislation was being used, and its impact on the workings of Westminster-style government. A table summarizes the main features of the legislation. The article discusses the different appeal mechanisms; the implications for ministerial accountability; the level of take-up; the different categories of user; administrative costs and benefits; staffing requirements, refusal rates, fees, etc. Apart from requests for personal files, the level of demand has been relatively low; ministerial accountability remains unchanged; the legislation has successfully protected government secrets; and the overall cost has not proved too great. FOI has not realized its more ambitious objectives, such as increasing public participation in government decision-making; but at the same time, it has not fulfilled many of its opponents' worst fears.

Type: Article
Title: Freedom of Information in Australia, Canada and New Zealand
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9299.1989.tb00721.x
Keywords: freedom of information
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/113641
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