Freedom of information

Your rights

The 2 main objectives of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 are to provide members of the public access to official documents of the Commonwealth Government and its agencies, and enhance the transparency and accountability of policy making, administrative decision making and government service delivery.

The Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) is committed to transparency and accountability. Under the FOI Act, you can request access to Agency documents by making a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act):

  • request access copies of government documents (subject to some exemptions)  
  • allows you to request access of information held about you , as well as requesting correction if that information is wrong or misleading
  • establishes an information publication scheme requiring agencies to publish online details about their functions and structure, and
  • allows agencies and ministers to release documents that would be exempt under the FOI Act, unless prevented by a secrecy requirement in another law.

What documents are covered by the FOI Act?

You have a right of access under the FOI Act to a document held by government unless the document:

  • is held by an agency exempt from the FOI Act
  • falls under one of the exemptions in the FOI Act
  • falls under one of the conditional exemptions in the FOI Act, and releasing the document would be contrary to the public interest, and
  • is accessible to the public under other arrangements, whether at no cost or for a fee or charge.

You can ask to see any document that we hold. We can refuse access to some documents, or parts of documents that are exempt. Exempt documents may include those relating to national security, documents containing material obtained in confidence (such as documents including secret/sacred material) and certain material placed in the national historical collection

Documents available outside the FOI Act

You may be able to get certain information, including personal information we hold about you, without following a formal process under the FOI Act.

Please ensure before lodging a FOI request, that the information that has been published under the Agency Plan and FOI Disclosure log to check if the information are seeking has already been made available.

How to make an FOI request

Your request must:

  • be in writing  
  • state that the request is an application for the purpose of the FOI Act;
  • provide enough information about the requested document(s) to assist us to process your request; and
  • provide an address for reply (postal or email address).

No reasons are required for why you want the information.

Requests can be sent by post or email:

FOI Contact Officer
Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House
GPO Box 3934
Manuka ACT 2603

If you require assistance with your request, please contact the FOI Contact Officer on Telephone – 02 6270 8269.

Requests to access personal information

If your request is for documents that contain personal information (either yours, or another person’s, on their behalf), you must include sufficient evidence of your identity with your application. If your request is for documents containing personal information on behalf of another person, both you and the other person must provide evidence of identity.

FOI requests made on behalf of another person

If you ask a third party to make an FOI request on your behalf, you need to provide a specific, written authority to send copies of documents to you, care of that person, or to allow that person to inspect copies of documents containing information about you.

Fees and charges

There is no application fee for an FOI request.

There are no processing charges for requests for access to documents containing only personal information about you. However, processing charges may apply to other requests. The most common charges are:

Search and retrieval: time we spend searching for or retrieving a document

  • $15 per hour

Decision making: time we spend in deciding to grant or refuse a request, including examining documents, consulting with other parties, and making deletions

  • First 5 hours: Nil
  • Subsequent hours: $20 per hour

Transcript: preparing a transcript from a sound recording, shorthand or similar medium

  • $4.40 per page of transcript


  • $0.10 per page

Inspection: supervision by an agency officer of your inspection of documents or hearing or viewing an audio or visual recording at our premises

  • $6.25 per half hour (or part thereof)

Delivery: posting or delivering a copy of a document at your request

  • Cost of postage or delivery

 If we decide to impose a charge, we will give you a written estimate and the basis of our calculation. Where the estimated charge is between $20 and $100, we may ask you to pay a deposit of $20, or where the estimated charge exceeds $100, we may ask you to pay a 25% deposit before we process your request. We will not process your request until we receive a response to the charges estimate.

We may cancel, reduce or not impose processing charges for any reason.

Response time

We will tell you within 14 days that we have received your request. We will also give you an estimate of the charges that apply to your request. We will give you our decision within 30 days unless that time has been extended. If a document contains information about a third party, we will need to consult them and may need to extend the time to give you our decision by another 30 days. We may also seek your agreement to extend the time by up to 30 days if your request is complex.

Information you will receive with the decision

You will receive a notice including the following in writing:

  • the name and designation of the person making the decision
  • a statement of reasons for the decision and the facts used in making that decision
  • the public interest factors that were taken into account if the decision concerned a conditionally exempt document, and
  • information about your rights to have the decision reviewed.

If a decision is not given to you within the required timeframe, this is called a ‘deemed refusal’. You then have the right to ask for a review (discussed in the next section). 

If you disagree with our decision

If you have a ‘deemed refusal’ or you disagree with the decision, you can ask for an internal review in writing. This means that a different officer will reconsider your request and make a fresh decision within 30 days.

Please note: these do not apply if the principal officer of the agency, or the minister made the decision personally.

 You can ask for the following decisions to be reviewed:

  • if we refuse access to all or part of a document or if we defer giving you access
  • if  a charge is imposed
  • if we refuse to change or annotate information about you that you claim is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading.

A third party who disagrees with our decision to give you documents that contain information about them can also ask for our decision to be reviewed.


If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request, you can complain to the Australian Information Commissioner who may investigate our actions. More information is available on the OAIC’s website. The Commonwealth Ombudsman can also investigate complaints about our actions. However, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner will consult to avoid the same matter being investigated twice.

Additional information

If you require more information, please contact the FOI Contact Officer on 02 6270 8269 or by email at

Certain documents that we have released under the FOI Act can be obtained at our FOI disclosure log page.

Information about our Information Publication Scheme can be obtained on the OAIC website.