Freedom of Information refused in application to NSW Education Department: who posted Hitler photo on AUJS Facebook?

August 19, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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NSW Labor frontbencher Walt Secord has accused the NSW Education Department of protecting a staff member who earlier this year wrote a “vile anti-Semitic pro-Hitler” Facebook post by formally blocking an inquiry into the matter.

Last week, the NSW Education Department wrote to Mr Secord saying that it refused his formal freedom of information application to get details on what action was taken on a departmental employee who made a “vile anti-Semitic pro-Hitler”  post on an AUJS executive member’s Facebook page.

The unnamed individual posted a photograph of Adolph Hitler with the words: “It’s such a shame he didn’t finish his job”.

Walt Secord is Shadow Minister for Police and Shadow Minister for Counter Terrorism – and deputy chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel and the patron of the NSW Labor Israel Action Committee.

Walt Secord

On August 13, the Education Department’s Professional and Ethical Standards executive director Daryl Currie wrote to Mr Secord saying that he was refusing the release of the information because he deemed it was not in the public interest and they wanted to protect the confidentiality of the person who made the posting.

Mr Currie wrote: “However, in considering the factors against release, I find that the public interest in protecting the third parties’ privacy considerably outweighs the public interest in releasing their personal information to you. I find that there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information and have decided not to provide you with access to the records as they reveal the personal information of other individuals.”

Mr Secord said: “It is the height of insensitivity that the Education Department would argue that the `person may reasonably be expected to have concerns about the disclosure of the information’.”

“Something is deeply wrong when the Education Department is only concerned about the rights of the person who posted pro-Hitler comments rather than disciplining them. I am deeply disgusted.

“This is political correctness gone mad. Why is the Education Department shielding an employee who posted antisemitic pro-Hitler comments?”

“It is a bizarre world when the NSW Education Department moves to protect the perpetrator.”

Minister Sarah Mitchell

On July 20, under the Government Information (Public Access) Act, Mr Secord formally requested all “correspondence, briefing notes, parliamentary briefing notes, emails and legal advice relating to a pro-Hitler, anti-Semitic Facebook posting by a person working within the Department of Education”.

In State Parliament in June, NSW Labor frontbencher Walt Secord also raised the matter with the Education Minister Sarah Mitchell during NSW Parliament’s Question Time.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell told Walt Secord: “The NSW Government rejects discrimination in all its forms, and I found the post in reference absolutely abhorrent.

As I said when the post was originally brought to my attention, any discrimination is unacceptable and requires a full investigation followed by appropriate disciplinary action. I am advised that the investigation is ongoing.”

Walt Secord told J-Wire: “I commend Australasian Union of Jewish Students for their relentless efforts to combat antisemitism in schools and especially on campuses.”

Mr Secord said he would now consider his further legal options and possible appeal avenues.

Comments

One Response to “Freedom of Information refused in application to NSW Education Department: who posted Hitler photo on AUJS Facebook?”
  1. Bella Ceruza says:

    Just further confirmation as to why anti-Israel issues are found in education posts /topics and within the curriculum as topics ‘for discussion’.

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