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Friday, November 23, 2012

Dear Dr Hawke (2)

Rick Snell posed the questions below to Dr Hawke and AGD Assistant Secretary Richard Glenn in an email to the FOI review over the weekend, prodding about visibility and public engagement in the review process. Reprinted with Rick's permission. No reply as yet and I know the feeling!-see 13 in the list.

The "no news" I'm hearing out of Canberra confirms two poor process aspects-no issues paper will be forthcoming and Dr Hawke is planning to meet some interested parties and is or about to make appointments - suggesting the old "one by one" process that is hardly conducive to creative thinking, if that's part of the challenge here.

Rick's questions:
1. What is the level of support and resources being given to the Review?
2. I assume that this is being provided by Mr Glenn's branch but that is unclear?
3. Is this in addition to the Branch's normal budget allocation or has extra resources been made available?
4. Why was the 7th of December chosen for the close of submissions?
5. Could the details of the review and the closing date be placed in a more prominent position?
6. Could other agencies be asked to bring the Review and the closing date for submissions to the notice of their staff, stakeholders and other people interested in that particular portfolio?
7. Will Dr Hawke be giving any media interviews to promote the review and to solicit submissions?
8. Will a facility be added that will alert interested parties (such as an RSS feed) when new submissions have been posted?
9. Will agencies be encouraged to make submissions well before the deadline so that other submitters have a time to consider key points made by the agencies?
10. Have you considered using a blog or other method to encourage people to float ideas/suggestions and for other people to indicate their support (or modifications to the idea/suggestion)? For instance at the National Information Law Conference held in Canberra last week a number of people who had not responded to the AIOC's discussion paper on the timing of release of requested information on government web sites nevertheless reacted positively to the suggestions of others once aware of them
11. When will the consultation with stakeholders and other interested parties begin and what form will it take?
12. Will Dr Hawke even at this late stage in the lead up to the deadline for submissions be issuing any idea/issues generators for submitters to consider or respond to?
13. Peter Timmins recently on his blog Open and Shut asked of Dr Hawke "The announced "tell us what you think and we'll go away and write whatever we think appropriate" approach may be the way they do things in AGs. But something more is generally expected in good practice consultative processes these days. Particularly in this case given the review is about the operation of legislation that has as an object the promotion of Australia's representative democracy by increasing public participation in Government processes."  Will Dr Hawke be adjusting his approach to the review of FOI to better facilitate a more effective  dialogue on FOI?


  1. > 8. Will a facility be added that will alert interested parties (such as an RSS feed) when new submissions have been posted?

    I've created a very basic scraper of the submissions and created an RSS feed.

  2. Henare,
    You're terrific. Thanks. Peter.