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Friday, December 05, 2008

Disclosures about ministers and MPs still in the dark ages

Senator Faulkner had a busy day yesterday- his ministerial statement on integrity in government touched off this debate with barbs flying in both directions- and he also tabled three documents concerning travel by ministers and members of parliament.The register of member interests also surfaced in Canberra - The Age thought this was the most interesting entry and this report on others bobbed up in Fairfax papers.

Here is where there is a disconnect between rhetoric about openness, and day- to- day reality. None of the documents containing details about MPs travel or interests are posted on the web (other than a few totals for travel costs by ministers and ministerial staff attached to Senator Faulkner's media release).

So access is limited to those who find their way to the Table Office in Parliament House in Canberra during business hours and ask to see the tabled documents, or to what the media find interesting enough to include in the paper. So those couple of reports on members interests referred to above and this Sydney Morning Herald report on ministerial travel containing a few tidbits (there may be others).

A modern system of open government worthy of the name would provide all of the travel information and the register of interests on-line so everyone potentially interested could see what any or all MPs have been doing at our expense, and what interests they have declared.

Senator Faulkner should know after a year in office that public servants left to their own devices are unlikely to suggest or act on these matters without some strong direction from the top.

Thanks to Open Australia for the lead on the debate in Parliament- this small group are doing a fantastic job

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:56 am

    obama is doing some interesting transparency things:
    Does the labor govt do anything like this?