ANU lecturer appointed as FOI chief

Australian National University adjunct lecturer in the school of computer science Dr James Popple has today been appointed to the role of Australia's first Freedom of Information commissioner.

Australian National University adjunct lecturer in the school of computer science Dr James Popple has today been appointed to the role of Australia's first Freedom of Information commissioner.

Popple will be charged with the job of monitoring, investigating complaints and reviewing government's decisions in relation to FOI requests.

"Dr Popple's appointment signals a new era of transparency and accountability in Australian government when it comes to freedom of information," Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said in a statement. "The newly created role of FOI commissioner underscores Labor's commitment to improve public access to information across the Federal Government."

O'Connor said that Popple's experience working as first assistant secretary of the civil law division of the Federal Attorney-General's Department made him ideal for the role.

"Dr Popple has a strong administrative law background and extensive experience providing legal and policy advice to government," he said. "Added to this, his experience in academia and the public service stands him in good stead for this important and challenging new role."

Popple will join recently appointed Privacy Commissioner Tim Pilgrim along with Australian Information Commissioner John McMillian in the newly created office of the Australian Information Commissioner from 1 November.

Pilgrim mentioned his imminent move into the office during an appearance before a Senate inquiry into online privacy this morning, where he was critical of the attorney-general's proposal to implement a data retention policy in Australia that could see users' web-browsing history recorded.

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