Home Bridget McKenzie How to hide a rort – just dry it as a cabinet in confidence

How to hide a rort – just dry it as a cabinet in confidence

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In the Morrison administration’s war on accountability, cabinet confidentiality has become a weapon of choice. But a steady pushback against these obstacles to transparency is beginning.

(Image: Private Media / Mitchell Squire)

In the Morrison administration’s war on accountability, cabinet confidentiality has become a weapon of choice. A once rare exemption to freedom of information rules, it is now ritually applied to all solicitation matters, removing transparency and expanding the cloak of secrecy over government affairs.

Now, the exemption has been used to block the publication of Phil Gaetjens’ report on the sports racing scandal. The report was initially buried by Gaetjens, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary and former chief of staff for Morrison, despite a summary finding that there were “significant deficiencies” in the way former Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie decided the grant.

Since then, the media and other parties have requested access to the report under freedom of information laws, but have been rejected. They have taken their requests to the Australian Information Commissioner’s Office, where the government has argued that the report is covered by the Cabinet in Trust and is therefore exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

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