Appointment of the Information Commissioner Designate

The Rudd Government has today appointed Professor John McMillan as the Information Commissioner Designate.

Cabinet Secretary, Senator Joe Ludwig, said Professor McMillan’s extensive experience will be fundamental in establishing a successful Office of the Information Commissioner.

“I am very pleased Professor McMillan has been appointed the Information Commissioner Designate,” Senator Ludwig said.

“Assuming the Parliament supports the Bill, as soon as the Information Commissioner Bill is enacted, I will recommend to the Governor-General in Council that she appoint Professor McMillan as the Information Commissioner,” Senator Ludwig said.

“The Rudd Government has acted early in appointing Professor McMillan, who will be responsible for ensuring the Office of the Information Commissioner is fully operational as soon as practical after the passage of legislation.”

“As the Information Commissioner Designate, Professor McMillan will have a significant role in implementing the Government’s information policy reforms and in promoting and leading a pro-disclosure culture across government.”

The Office of the Information Commissioner will be an independent agency with oversight of freedom of information and privacy matters.

Professor McMillan welcomed the Government’s announcement and said the creation of the Office of the Information Commissioner heralds a major and positive shift in government.

“The combination of privacy and freedom of information in a new office headed by three commissioners will transform information management in Australian government,” Professor McMillan said.

“This reform package is the most significant reform of Australian administrative law in over twenty years.”

“A key feature of the new reforms is the emphasis on pro-active disclosure of information by government agencies.”

“There will be an irreversible change in government culture. The ground rules for information disclosure and publication are being rewritten.”

Professor McMillan has taken leave from his role as the Commonwealth Ombudsman to work as the Information Commissioner Designate.

“Professor McMillan’s considerable academic and professional experiences place him in an ideal position to undertake the role, particularly his involvement in campaigning Government during the 1970s to enact Australia’s original Freedom of Information Act 1982.”

“He has extensive knowledge of Australian Government and its administration and a strong reputation as an independent office-holder, serving seven years as the Commonwealth Ombudsman.”

The Government’s FOI reform bills are currently before Parliament. Professor McMillan will start as Information Commissioner Designate on 8 March 2010.

Senator Ludwig’s Media Contact: Sarah Cosson 0423 823 843 or (02) 6277 7600
Professor McMillan’s Media Contact: Fiona Skivington 0408 861 803 or (02) 6276 0133

Date of release: 26 February 2010