Rescuing FoI: Rescuing Democracy

Bill De Maria, University of Queensland


This paper locks the fortunes of Australian democracy to the fortunes of Freedom of Information (FoI). Both, in the author’s view, are in deep trouble. To rescue FoI, one needs to understand historical and contemporary manifestations of the depth of official secrecy in Australia. Numerous vignettes, including data from a recent study of Queensland FoI are projected on to a new explanatory ‘screen’ — a dialectic consideration of the relationship between secrecy and openness. The paper concludes with some consideration of how FoI can be reformed to counter the rising levels of secrecy in Australia.

Dr Bill De Maria is in the Centre for Public Administration at the University of Queensland. He is a long-standing public policy activist with a particular interest in accountability and transparency. He conducted the Queensland Whistleblower Study and his recent book, Deadly Disclosures: Whistleblowing and the Ethical Meltdown of Australia has been nominated for the non-fiction award at the Adelaide Festival.

Download in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format, 199 Kb.