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Monday, August 10, 2009

Queensland parliament rains on open access party

Amid all that good Queensland news is this downer that the Clerk of the Parliament there has knocked back a request by Open Australia to allow republication of Hansard online which would enable them to add the search capabilities that have made their Federal effort a real winner. To the extent there are problems here, the attitude should be let's solve them.

More generally, concerns of this kind, flowing from “loss of control” of information and sitting alongside others such as cost recovery and copyright will be a big part of the coming culture debate as FOI reform with a new proactive publishing requirement moves to implementation phase in several jurisdictions. Of course parliaments everywhere in Australia remain outside the scope of access to government information legislation.Nevertheless those responsible need to respond to the same contemporary challenges by making information available for use and reuse in a way that suits the needs of citizens. At least the letter from the Clerk shows some serious consideration of the issue- I’d be surprised if it has received much attention at state parliaments elsewhere- and Queensland sounds as if it might be a step ahead in publishing on-line, documents tabled in parliament.

Let's hope the Queensland Parliament (and other states) says how can we make things like this happen, not how many problems we can identify that mean we can't.

The Federal Government 2.0 TaskForce (see Nick Gruen's comment about dealing with the overly risk-averse attitudes of public servants) hopefully will help help kick things along, not just in Canberra.

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