By MARK PEARSON, Professor of Journalism and Social Media and member of the Institute for Law, Government and Policy.
A recent decision by the Australian Information Commissioner has demonstrated that persistence with a Freedom of Information application can pay off – if you are willing to wait the year or more for the appeal process to take its course.
Farrell and Department of Immigration and Border Protection  AICmr 81 (21 November 2013) was decided recently and may well be subject to further appeal.
On November 15, 2012, he applied to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection for access to a series of incident reports about five self-harming events logged on the department’s FI disclosure log.
On January 14, 2013, the Department provided Mr Farrell with edited copies of five documents totalling 23 pages related to his request, citing its ‘operations of agency’ and ‘personal privacy’ exemptions under sections 47E and 47F of the Commonwealth FOI Act as its reasons for the deletion of material. On February 14, 2013, Mr Farrell applied to the Information Commissioner for review of the information exempted by the Department under s 47E.