Search This Blog

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Brandis late entry for chutzpah 2009 prize

I've still got my feet up but didn't miss this opinion piece by Opposition front bencher Senator George Brandis in The Australian yesterday, serving it up to the Rudd Government (which deserves quite a bit) over Freedom of Information reform, but going overboard with claims that nothing has been done, and without the slightest note of irony, commenting (as a former minister in the Howard Government) that ministers must lead on the culture change issue. Peter Timmins of Potts Point managed to put aside the Steig Larsson to offer this comment:
Promised reforms not heard of, not one iota of progress? Senator Brandis fails to mention that the Government did legislate to get rid of those odious ministerial certificates and on the last day of scheduled sittings, introduced FOI Reform legislation into Parliament, which has now been sent off to a Senate committee for report in March.The pace (2 years to get this far) and scope of reform have been major failings and deserve criticism. So does the fact that "culture change"is still reserved for when an Information Commissioner emerges sometime in 2010. Starting to send a message about how and why things were to be different should have started in December 2007, as soon as a government committed to reform got its hands on the wheel. Senator Brandis of course won't need reminding that the Government of which he was a member completely ignored 106 recommmendations for change in the ALRC Open Government Report released in December 1995, and took not the slightest step to do anything about a prevailing culture of secrecy during its 12 years in office. I wonder what he reflects back upon when he writes things won't change unless ministers themselves take the lead in encouraging a culture of disclosure? We won't go into Howard Government inaction on the 500+ secrecy provisions in Commonweath statutes including the draconian Section 12 of the Crimes Act, whistleblower protection, and shield laws for journalists.Or the now Opposition's blocking of a move to bring the threshold for declared political donations down from Howard's $10000+ to $1000. But its good to see Senator Brandis at least interested in the topic."
I'll get to that Annual FOI Report he refers to soon, helpfully released on 22 December, but meanwhile back to the much more entertaining The Girl who Played with Fire.

No comments:

Post a Comment