Search This Blog

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The short story of seriously progressing a high priority reform

Caucus Secretary and Minister of State Senator John Faulkner appeared before the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee as part of the supplementary estimates hearings on Monday and was questioned about Freedom of information reform plans. It took a lot of questions (page 30) to get confirmation that phase one of the reform process, legislation to abolish conclusive certificates, will proceed; and that phase two reform including the establishment of an information commissioner "is being seriously progressed within government" and remains a high priority for the first term of a Rudd government.(The Government's term runs to near the end of 2010.)

What if any significance should be attached to the fact that there was no mention of "this year" in connection with phase one, or to an original timetable of late this year- subsequently changed to possibly next- for a discussion paper on phase two, I don't know, but some might fear the worst. In any event, for something being "seriously progressed" as a " high priority" for a government elected 11 months ago, visible progress on FOI reform is sooo slooooow.

Senator Faulkner hopefully will have more to say on the topic when he talks to Transparency International on 30 October.

The hearing covered many issues (a couple to be mentioned in my next post) and stretched from 9am to 11 pm, so a full reading of the transcript Finance and Public Administration could be seen to be cruel and unusual punishment. As for those who asked and answered questions.....

No comments:

Post a Comment