If a serious issue is discussed by senior government officials but no record of that exists, did it really happen?
The answer — like the answer to “If a tree falls” — apparently, is no. Unless a whistleblower pops up.
This week that happened, when an ex-staffer charged that senior government officials habitually react to requests for information by deleting emails.
Nothing to see here.
It’s tempting to write off the comments as coming from a disgruntled ex-employee. Except the pattern of evading a legitimate right to know has already been amply demonstrated.
Recall that in the “quick wins” scandal, a political plan to use government resources for partisan benefit was discussed over private emails.
Text messages are also routinely used as a way to circumvent privacy laws. We’ve entered the age of government by Snapchat.
As the Opposition has repeatedly pointed out, a disturbing number of Freedom of Information requests are returned with “no records found.”
Ultimately it’s about control. On a fundamental level, people hate being held accountable. That goes double in politics. There’s a disturbing trend of government keeping a stranglehold on information, to keep the truth from getting in the way of official messaging.
A critical public often likes to blame the media for failing to ask the “tough questions.” But frequently the questions just aren’t being answered.
It’s worth noting it’s not just reporters and Opposition politicians who the government is keeping in the dark through these practices. It’s the public who elected them.
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