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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Integity and accountability paper sparks ideas

There were 114 submissions in response to the Queensland Green paper on Integrity and Accountability with many urging parliamentary reform, including for Australia's only unicameral state system, an upper house of parliament. (The 17500 word submission from the Clerk of the Parliament makes the news in the Courier Mail this morning)

The Information Commissioner made some suggestions including specific transparency and accountability measures that would be applicable in other jurisdictions as well. Some could have been but weren't included in the Ministerial Guidelines on Publication Schemes

All expenditure of public money
The push agenda of Right to Information reforms (transparency) should be applied to the expenditure of all public monies, including Ministerial and Parliamentary allowances unless it can be shown to be clearly contrary to the public interest.

Who's influencing what
Ministers should be required to publish the names of the groups whose interests are brought to their attention ; inviting submissions during public consultations should be on the basis that submissions will be made public, unless it can be established that publication would be contrary to the public interest and to be made in a form that the writer is comfortable with the document being made public; the community should be informed how that information was used and weighed in the decision making process.

Gifts hospitality and travel on-line
Gifts and hospitality received by Ministers, Members of Parliament and public sector employees and
travel and entertainment expenses should be registered and published online.

Government intentions
There should be more publication of information about forthcoming projects, upcoming consultations and the forward policy agenda, not just what has been done.

Agency files
The publication of a list of titles of files created in the central office of a department or portfolio agency for the relevant period, with some exemptions should be included in agency publication schemes.

The Commissioner also plans to take some initiatives regarding contract disclosure, and raises the need for specific powers to investigate the use of confidentiality provisions.


  1. Anonymous11:57 am

    Something that had a ripple, then faded away? Any comments?
    Senator Fielding's Britt Lapthorne Bill -
    no comment (not that I would expect it) on the Privacy Commissioner's website, nor on DFAT's.
    The Age had a short repeat of Fielding's speech, with the only real comment "The Government did not declare its position on the bill, but it is believed it would be unlikely to support it."

    A short google search of the media didn't find much comment. Does that say more about Fielding's status or the oddity of the bill?

  2. Peter timmins10:07 pm

    This is a reference to a bill introduced by Senator Fielding on thee first anniversary of the death of britt Lapthorne in Croatia that would require notification of parents in the event that a person is reported missing, said to overcome privacy problems in the lapthorne case that delayed notification for six days.This Open Australia link is the best way to see what Senator Fielding had to say.

    I haven't looked at the ALRC Privacy recommendations to see what they had to say on the subject but will try to tomorrow.

  3. Kevin Stiller of Kev's Office2:39 pm

    This public relations exercise in Ql’d has not been very well done, and I have failed on several occasions to obtain info from the Premier’s Office, on the exercise.
    The Government’s website has indexed 240 submissions, but has only posted 224.
    They have place for comments to individual submissions, but have posted less than half of comments made.
    I personally submitted seven submissions, have four posted, two rejected, with the seventh submission on vilification in limbo (?).
    I have tried several times to obtain from the Premier’s Department............
    1. The total number of submissions received.

    2. The total number of submissions posted. (Perhaps some are posted elsewhere. After all, this is ‘THE SMART STATE’).

    3. The present whereabouts of my submission on vilification.

    4. Hard copies of all submissions made. This because there have been alterations to at least two of the posted submissions, and I would like the opportunity to compare the original with the posted copy.

    I believe that it is in the public interest to view this information in it’s entirity