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Thursday, March 25, 2010

NSW leaders to go at it, hopefully with a nod to FOI reform

Tomorrow NSW Premier Keneally and Opposition leader O'Farrell are in debate (on Sky) one year out from the NSW election.  I'm hoping the stalled NSW Freedom of Information reforms get a mention. As noted in February the Premier has said nothing on the subject that I'm aware of since she came to office, thereby sending a different message about the pace and scope of anticipated change after predecessor Rees used a megaphone to foreshadow what was to be expected from the commencement of the GIPA act. Nothing along these lines from the minister responsible, the Attorney General either.

Today's Telegraph includes the following Q&A in advance with O'Farrell, but no similar question was put to the Premier.  And yes, we've heard plenty of this from opposition leaders over the years. The new yet to commence law passed by Parliament last June is reasonably good, and the yet to be appointed Information Commissioner that the Government has been searching for since last September hopefully will make some difference before next March:
(Q ) What will you do, immediately, if you are elected in March next year, to gain the trust and respect of the people of NSW?
( A ) I understand the community's loss of confidence in public sector decision making and, if entrusted with the position of premier, I am determined to head an ethical, honest, open and accountable government -- in which decisions are made on the basis of public interest every time. I will put the community first. I have announced a series of measures we will introduce to increase the accountability, honesty and integrity of government, including campaign finance reform, upgrading Freedom of Information and Whistleblower laws, strengthening the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the NSW Audit Office and examining the application to NSW of a recall election mechanism.

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