One month, no reply from VicPol Chief on AWU. 3 hours after complaint to Professional Standards we get a reply.
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We asked Commissioner Ashton to update us on Gillard/Wilson/Blewitt - he fobbed us - here's our response

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Michael Smith <[email protected]>

Attachments2:35 PM (0 minutes ago)
to Chief Commissioner of Police Ashton's office
Dear Mr Nicholls,
Thank you for your note today on behalf of Chief Commissioner Ashton.   You have helpfully and accurately set out the purpose of my letter - "requesting information in relation to Operation Tendement".
My standing as the complainant 
I refer to the Affidavit of Detective Sergeant Ross Mitchell made in the Magistrates' Court at Melbourne on 6 September 2013.
Detective Sergeant Mitchell describes my role as the complainant in Operation Tendement's investigations (from page 5, paragraph 15 to paragraph 17, attached).  
It's been 3.5 years since my complaint and it's more than one year since I've heard from police about its progress.  I would appreciate some feedback for me and my readers - as I said in my letter:
I advised CCP Lay that I would make a public disclosure about my report to him and any replies I received.   More than one million individuals have visited the website where I published the correspondence - and many of them, like me would like to know what’s become of the investigation.


Victoria Police obligation to treat people equally
Victoria Police is obliged to act consistently with the human rights set out in the Charter.   Under that legislation, everyone in Victoria has a right to be treated equally.   Does Victoria Police require all complainants to make application under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 to receive information about the progress of their complaint?
If not, why does Victoria Police purport to put me to that expense and inconvenience?
Is access to Information about Operation Tendement subject to FOI legislation?
There has been widespread publication of general information about Victoria Police Operation Tendement.   Media reports have examined Tendement's activities in detail  (its search warrant on Slater and Gordon, subsequent court proceedings, travels interstate to interview witnesses, attendance by Ralph Blewitt to make statements etc).   In the past senior officers of Victoria Police have been interviewed in the media and have answered questions similar to those I posed to CCP Ashton.
Hundreds of Tendement's exhibits were publicly exhibited by the Trade Union Royal Commission and remain published to the internet.   Royal Commissioner Heydon noted in his rerport:
  1. Before turning to the facts it is appropriate to acknowledge the assistance and co- operation this Commission has received in investigating the (AWU Workplace Reform) Association from the Victorian Police Force.

  2. Particular mention should be made of Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Ross Mitchell and his team, who have carried out a detailed investigation into the activities of the Association and generously made available to the Commission the results of those inquiries. 

You say that my "request for access to this information (an update about Tendement) is subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 1982".

That act is here - it gives citizens the right to access documents about the activities of government agencies.   

I did not request documents.  I do not want any existing Victoria Police documents.

My request is for information, for feedback, for a statement, for answers to questions.  As you summarised it, I sent you an "email requesting information in relation to Operation Tendement".

Is Victoria Police sure that a request for information is subject to the requirements of the FOI Act?   

What "requirements of the FOI Act" am I "subject to" when I ask Mr Ashton a question?


I understand that there are limits to what Victoria Police can say.   I wrote in the belief that the community has a right to receive reasonable feedback about such an extensive, lengthy and expensive police investigation.

Subject to any operational or legal limitations, I reiterate the request set out in my note to Commissioner Ashton of 16 February.

Yours sincerely,


Michael Smith


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