Attorney-General Christian Porter has suggested freedom of information requests should be triaged in order to be processed faster, while flagging changes to whistleblower protections that go beyond what was called for by an expert reviewer.
Speaking at the National Press Club on Wednesday, Mr Porter said there was "room for significant improvement" on the freedom of information scheme.
It comes as the Home Affairs department faces an Information Commissioner investigation into the its repeated breaches of statutory processing timeframes. Australian Federal Police commissioner Reece Kershaw also copped flack on Friday after his department redacted an emoji from WhatsApp messages released under FOI on the basis it revealed personal information.
While Mr Porter said he would reserve his judgement until the parliament's intelligence and security committee handed down its findings, he said there were clear shortfalls in the way the scheme was working.
He said even the ABC fell behind regularly while processing requests.
"In the way that the original FOI Act was drafted - because everyone has an equal right to process - there's no triage in the process. One way in which you can actually get better responses is trying to have some reasonable ability on departments - whether they're Home Affairs or the ABC - to work out which are the more or less substantive or important FOI applications," Mr Porter said.
Mr Porter also said he would soon release the government's response to Philip Moss' 2016 review of the Public Interest Disclosure Scheme.
That review found the scheme had been difficult to apply, and whistleblowers felt their concerns had not been properly addressed.
Mr Porter said he found the scheme "almost impossible to understand".
"It is a very, very difficult piece of legislation," Mr Porter said.
However Mr Porter signalled his government would go further than Mr Moss' recommendation to reform the scheme.
"In my observation, there is a need to go further than those recommendations to actually ensure that the Public Interest Disclosure Act - which defines when you are or are not a whistleblower - is actually clear and understandable to the people who need to use it," Mr Porter said.