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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

ALRC reminder about the main game

In a media release today following Senator Faulkner's announcement about conclusive certificates and reform of Freedom of Information legislation, a polite reminder from the President of the Australian Law Reform Commission that twelve years ago, as now, the Commission concluded that the access to government information challenge wasn't simply a matter of getting the legislation right :ALRC media release.pdf
"Professor Weisbrot noted that the Open Government report also cautioned against viewing legislative change alone as a panacea. “It is critical to get the law right, of course—but even more importantly, we need to nurture a strong ‘pro-disclosure culture’. “The starting point must be that citizens have a right to obtain requested material, absent genuinely compelling reasons to the contrary, and public servants should be looking to facilitate that right rather than seeking loopholes to preserve secrecy. This is why we need a Federal Information Commissioner, to provide continuing oversight and education"
Dare I say it's something beyond even the Commissioner, an idea still just a twinkle in the Minister's eye, but one for which those right at the top, such as the Prime Minister, Minister Faulkner and other ministers need to show strong, unambiguous and continuing commitment.

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