Page 2694 - Week 07 - Thursday, 3 July 2008

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frustration for these people who are the subject of such a complaint when they are repeatedly contacted by the commission and advised of this type of baseless complaint. On this basis, the committee’s observation about a right of amendment in the ACT Freedom of Information Act is somewhat misplaced in that vexatious or baseless complaints may not meet the threshold test for amending a personal record in any event.

The practical experience of the commission is that people who are the subject of these types of complaints have asked it to stop wasting their time by contacting them repeatedly about baseless complaints. Common sense should prevail in these circumstances. Complaints which are vexatious, frivolous or lack substance are not genuine complaints and the commission would not have formed any view about them which would affect the reputation of the person complained about in them. Further, the commission keeps a record of such complaints. These records are maintained in the commission and are archived in accordance with government record-keeping procedures.

I agree with the committee that privacy and reputation are important considerations, but this needs to be balanced against a respondent’s desire not to have their time wasted by the commission’s duplicative bureaucratic processes. I also note the committee’s comment that there are good grounds to argue that the person complained about should be made aware that the complaint is to be referred to another statutory office-holder. In the circumstances where the commission refers a complaint to another statutory office-holder for consideration, the person complained about would be notified of the complaint by the other statutory office-holder.

The amendment is seeking to address the situation where people simply send a complaint to the wrong place and the commission basically acts as a post-box to refer the complaint on to the appropriate agency. The commission, in accordance with the proposed legislative amendments, would have already consulted with the receiving statutory office-holder and would have formed the view that the receiving office-holder is the appropriate authority to investigate the matter. The person complained about would then be notified by the receiving office-holder regarding the nature of the complaint to facilitate proper investigation and resolution of the matter.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Bill as a whole.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (12.26): I seek leave to move amendments Nos 1 and 2 circulated in my name together.

Leave granted.

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