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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ministerial advisers unaware of changing times

The Open Government Declaration, and the message about routine disclosure being pushed by Australian Information Commissioner Professor John McMillan may have gone unnoticed to date in ministerial offices. From Crikey today (emphasis added). Refusing to provide details of who works for who is old order nonsense.
This morning Business Spectator (subscription) launches a first for Australian political reporting: a guide to the government’s ministerial staff -- the faceless people behind those who run the country. It was surprisingly hard to get this information. The men and women who work behind the scenes advising ministers and devising their policies, dealing with journalists, lobbyists, business people and bureaucrats, writing their speeches and generally picking them up and dusting them off when they fall down, definitely prefer to remain behind the scenes. Their bosses prefer that too. As a result, all governments’ ministerial staff generally remain unknown to those outside Parliament House, even though they are, in many ways, the heart of the government, responsible for the policies and politics of the ministers who front them. Most of the ministerial offices refused to co-operate with us, so we had to work behind the scenes ourselves. It took a few months, but we have now come up with a full list of ministerial staff and advisers.

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