Prime Minister Anthony Albanese sacks Freedom of Information Commissioner Leo Hardiman by constructive dismissal

ByShane Dowlingon•( 1 Comment )

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has forced Freedom of Information Commissioner Leo Hardiman to resign from his position by making it impossible for him to do his job properly which is a textbook case study for constructive dismissals.

Constructive dismissal is when an employer leaves an employee with no option but to resign by undermining their ability to do their job.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese won the May 2022 election with a promise of a more open and transparent government which is slowly but surely being proven to be a lie.

Freedom of Information Commissioner Leo Hardiman is a career public servant going by his LinkedIn profile which says he spent 28 years as an Australian Government Solicitor before his appointment as FOI Commissioner which he only started in April 2022.

Mr Hardiman’s length of service under both Labor and Liberal/National governments shows he was not biased even though he was appointed by the Scott Morrison government. So, I doubt that Mr Hardiman was a Liberal Party puppet who has been forced out by the new Labor Party trying to clear the decks.

Given Mr Hardiman is a career public servant it is no surprise he has been very diplomatic in his resignation, but the second last paragraph is what makes it obvious it was a constructive dismissal where he says he can’t do his job properly and/or effectively so he is resigning:

“I have come to the view that I will not be able, in the absence of those changes, to increase timeliness of IC reviews and access in a way which best promotes the objects of the FOI Act. I have accordingly decided the most appropriate course is to resign my appointment.”

His full resignation letter is below and the fact that he has published it on his LinkedIn page is telling:


Based on the evidence Mr Hardiman has been constructively dismissed because PM Anthony Albanese and his government want to weaken FOI laws and processes because they also don’t want to be accountable to the public.

I believe this viewpoint is supported by recent criticisms of the FOI process by former Senator Rex Patrick and by Labor’s weakening of the National Corruption Commission to only have public hearings in exceptional circumstances instead of the reverse of only having private hearings in exceptional circumstances.

The SMH published an article on this matter which starts off:

Australia’s freedom of information commissioner has quit after less than a year in the job, citing lengthy delays to information requests and his lack of power to fix a system that currently has people waiting up to five years for an appeal decision.

Leo Hardiman KC was last year appointed FOI Commissioner, the first in seven years after the Abbott government tried to abolish the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and left the role vacant.

He was appointed to a five-year term in the job that oversees Australians’ access to information held by the federal government and reviews decisions made by agencies and ministers. (Click here to read more)

Former independent federal Senator Rex Patrick, who has a business named Transparency Warrior which helps people with FOI requests, tweeted on this issue:

“Leo Hardiman PSM KC has resigned as the FOI Commissioner over his inability, for reasons beyond his control, “to increase timeliness of IC reviews and access in a way which best promotes the objects of the FOI Act”.” 

and: “Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus and the previous government put Mr Hardiman in an impossible situation. He had more than 1500 reviews on foot (47 going back to 2018), an ever-increasing number of review requests coming his way, and no resources. If FOI is broken, so too is democracy.” (Click here to see on Twitter)

The bottom line is Leo Hardiman was forced to quit his well-paid 5-year contract, by constructive dismissal, in less than a year because Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government would not give him what he needed to speed up the processing of freedom of information requests and reviews which are used to help keep the government accountable.

The stitch-up of Leo Hardiman and weakening of FOI laws and processes is what I call pure corruption which even Australia’s most corrupt Prime Minister Scott Morrison would be proud of.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has read the room badly on accountability thinking he can lie to the public by saying one thing but doing another. If PM Albanese continues down that path millions on social media will be gunning for him and his government at the next election.

I’ve been investigating an associated FOI matter for a while which I will report on soon. You will find Freedom of Information under the Labor Party is just as scandalous as it was before they came to power if not worse.

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Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

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