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Friday, December 04, 2009

FOI reforms that work in practice central to winning trust

It gets a mention in the small print of some of the analysis (here in The Australian) of the brief but troubled premiership of Nathan Rees, deposed as NSW Premier yesterday, but as acknowledged here in June, a hat tip to Rees for picking up the ball from Ombudsman Bruce Barbour and pushing major Freedom of Information legislative reform through the Parliament. (And for having a crack at the whole political donations mess.) But it wasn't a wise move to pass over responsibility for the new act to the Attorney General's portfolio, FOI having sat for 20 years in Premier's. As a whole of government matter, the much promised new era- Rees said it turned FOI on its head- of proactive publication and pushing the necessary culture change, should have had stayed with the boss. New Premier Kristina Keneally, with an enormous challenge ahead, mentioned almost as a first thought yesterday, her mission to restore trust in government. Sticking to these reforms, and making the extra yards to make them work have to be an essential part of her formula.

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