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Monday, November 03, 2008

ACT Government sees the green light on FOI and other reforms.

Enthusiasm for improved transparency, accountability and integrity will be evident in the new ACT Government to be sworn in this week, after The Greens with four Assembly members included changes for these purposes as part of the deal to deliver government to Jon Stanhope and the Australian Labor Party.

Many of the changes will be to the way parliament operates with agreement on what The Greens describe as a"Parliamentary reform agenda which will establish the ACT Assembly as a world leader in scrutinising and opening up the processes of government and taking a more collaborative and inclusive approach to the processes of parliament."

Other commitments include:
Demonstration of Government leadership in enhancing integrity in Government by working with oversight institutions to establish the concept of an integrity branch of government - comprising all those oversight institutions, in recognition of their joint interest and their separation from the Executive, Parliament and the Judiciary.

Completion of inquiries within 12 months into reform of the Pubic Interest Disclosure Law and Freedom of Information Legislation (including the appointment of an independent Information Commissioner).

Removal of provisions in the FOI Act which currently allow for conclusive certificates, except where they provide for the protection of national security information held by the Territory.

Passage of legislation which will require all political donations to be disclosed within one month of receipt and in an election period, on a weekly basis".
There is a world of difference between getting things done in the pocket-sized ACT and running the nation as a whole, but this last commitment makes proposed Federal disclosure of donations-twice a year, within eight weeks of the deadlines, and to be on the web as soon as practicable- look minimalist.

Full details are in the ALP Greens Agreement.

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