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The Forum > General Discussion > Opinions required regarding matter of FOI

Opinions required regarding matter of FOI

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I would like to ask the opinion of On Line Opinion readers in relation to a matter of FOI (Freedom of Information) presently being dealt with by my family.

I have two FOI applications before the Administrative Decisions Tribunal (AD) and I have to reply to submissions with regard to matters set out below.

1. In response to an FOI application requesting details of the cost of the contract that the Department of Education (DET) have with the external agency Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER), to run an academic competition to identify the highest test scoring students.

2. In relation to a request to see the results of an audit that was done on the Selective Schools Unit wherein there were 32 recommendations made.

As a member of the public I have concerns about money being wasted. I wish to know how much money is being spent providing students who already get the highest of test marks with even more advantage and I want to know what issues were brought up in the audit report and whether they are being attended to or not.

I have this concern because the DET continuously cries poor when it comes to disadvantaged and disabled kids and we have had serious issues with Selective Schools test results and the handling of complaints.

The DET have argued that

A. If they release the amount of the contract then competitors would know and they would then be able to undercut them.

B. Audits are confidential as if staff know that they are going to release the Audit then staff will no longer tell the truth when they are being audited.

I canít get my head around the replies it seems that they donít want any competition and they do not want to show people what is going on.

My concern is that these matters should be open to scrutiny and agreement by the public otherwise DET staff can just as easily lie and nobody will ever find out as it is kept secret!

Any ideas how I might present this argument?
Posted by Jolanda, Monday, 20 October 2008 6:34:43 PM
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"As a member of the public I have concerns about money being wasted."

Do you? Then you must be concerned at the amount of public money being wasted on this protracted personal vendetta of yours.

"I wish to know how much money is being spent providing students who already get the highest of test marks with even more advantage.."

The whole flawed system of 'selective schooling' means that public funds are channelled into assisting students who are already advantaged. This has never bothered you in the least. Your only concern has always been that your own kids missed out on being part of this advantaged little clique. If your fight was really against money being spent unfairly on already advantaged students, it might have had some merit and gained some support.

How many threads have you started on this same tired issue now, Jolanda? Give us all a break, and move on.
Posted by Bronwyn, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 12:08:21 AM
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I have doubts the wind mills you are tilting against even exist.
On this matter I agree with Bronwyn.
Others have highlighted concerns for your children, are they truly interested in your claims?
Life chucks things at us we have to live with.
And sometimes we needlessly wrestle phantoms.
Posted by Belly, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 3:54:47 AM
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Jolanda
Its termed Tendor.
Governments cant give out information that would provide 'inconfidence' privy biz information of a tendor.

However if you look in the correct places- and its hard to find you will be about to get those figures.

Its called research.

It will be broken up under several departments and found in the most unlikely places- such as Arts Transport etc.

Its possible your doing great harm to your kids by keeping up this agenda even if thats not you meant to do.

Perhaps teaching these kids to have a chip on their shoulder and that they are being hard done by isnt a good thing.

Try teaching them how lucky they are to live in the best country in the world.
Teach them to stop and smell the roses because we arein for hard times soon.

No water food and then perhaps even worse.

Bronwyn, made sense.- even Belly on this occassion.

Try listening for not only the kids sake but your own state on mind.
Posted by People Against Live Exports & Intensive Farming, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 5:06:30 AM
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This is quite amazing I have a right to request information under FOI. It is our democratic right. My family have lodged applications against ACER for their contract not just to see how much they spend, but also to see what their agreement is with the DET because they refuse to give me direct access to my children's test marks and we have evidence that they have been manipulated by the DET and my four children have been targeted year after year.

My family have also been denied procedural fairness and natural justice with regard to handling of our complaints. We know for a fact that there is bias and corruption in the Selective Schools unit and we want to know what the audit exposed to make sure that the 'holes' and 'avenues' available for manipulation have been closed.

Yet all some of you can do is attack me for fighting for my children's right to be treated fairly and with respect. It is my duty to protect my children.

Here is how it goes. I am not interesting to hear what people think about my issues with the DET. We have a right to complain and we have a right to obtain documents and my family have justifiable good reason to complain. I am just interested in seeing if anybody can help me put an argument together. If you cannot help then please keep your comments to yourself as I will not respond. I will just do it myself.

As for my children, they expect me to fight this. They have been cheated and humiliated and they want justice oh, and the DET are not the only ones who have spend money but the key is that we should have a right to this information. They shouldn't be allowed to keep secrets and withhold information as that allows for corruption.
Posted by Jolanda, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 6:54:13 AM
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People Against Live exports my children do not have a 'chip on their shoulder' nor are they sitting at home worrying about this except in the context that two of them are doing their HSC and they are worried about their marks because for the past 8 years there has been constant evidence of marking down and manipulation and the DET will not protect them.

I have tried to find the information in the DET annual reports and all over the place and it doesn't exist. I just cannot see how they can keep this information secret. What is to stop them from having an agreement with ACER where they pay them top dollar and then pass money under the table. The amount spent on identification of these students should not be more than the amount spent helping disadvantaged and disabled kids.

Oh and Bronwyn remember selective schools are not for gifted children, they are for students who can get the highest test marks, there is a difference. Often gifted children are struggling to have their needs met in the comprehensive system and if they do not have parents who can afford coaching then they will struggle to win a place in this competition as they have to compete against coached and Private school kids.
Posted by Jolanda, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 6:59:28 AM
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