The Department of Health and Ageing is dealing with 20 freedom of information requests related to tobacco – 19 of them from tobacco companies. This we learnt from the department’s secretary, Jane Halton, at the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Estimates hearing on Wednesday (142-page transcript is here)

Here is a copy of the FOI requests (thanks to Senator Rachel Siewert’s office for providing them).

It seems that the industry is laying the groundwork for some expensive litigation against the Government’s plain packaging of cigarettes initiative.

This may be good news for certain law firms, perhaps, but not such good news for those concerned with the opportunity cost. Presumably, these requests are going to extract a large toll in departmental time and resources, which could be used for so many better purposes.

Any thoughts on which request did NOT come from industry, or who was behind it?

I wonder if anyone has done an analysis of FOI requests to governments generally, re what proportion come from individuals, journalists, corporates, politicians, NGOs etc?

If so, please let me know…


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