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Freedom of Information and Democracy in Australia and Beyond


Stubbs, RBF, Freedom of Information and Democracy in Australia and Beyond, Australian Journal of Political Science, 43, (4) pp. 667-684. ISSN 1036-1146 (2008) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1080/10361140802429270


Freedom of Information laws (FOI) throughout Australia have been routinely studied by law and media scholars. These authors have revealed widespread challenges to functioning FOI regimens, which range from government hostility to public sector restructuring to globalisation. Nevertheless, analysts have only begun to fully appreciate and explore the symbolism of FOI. Access laws are situated at the very heart of state and citizen relations, and they are especially sensitive to broader assumptions about citizenship and democracy. This paper aims to explore this sensitivity through a contextual examination that is as much about democratic theory as it is about access law. Many of the deficiencies outlined by various studies, it is argued, can be best viewed as a cluster of concerns that relate to one major problem - a lack of popular sovereignty. Australian and global democracy must be viewed and conducted in a more generally robust manner in order to strengthen FOI.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Freedom of Information legislation, FOI, democracy, access law, democratic theory, sovereignty
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Political science
Research Field:Citizenship
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Civics and citizenship
UTAS Author:Stubbs, RBF (Mr Rhys Stubbs)
ID Code:54842
Year Published:2008
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Government
Deposited On:2009-03-01
Last Modified:2013-03-18
Downloads:3 View Download Statistics

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