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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The IDC on the OGP a mystery no more

There isn't an interdepartmental committee in Canberra looking into Australian membership of the Open Government Partnership.

But there is an"interagency group," a distinction only a public servant, a former one or a Sir Humphrey fan would appreciate. As at February 2013 it had met once, in August 2012. Not several times and not in January.  

This correction of evidence to Senate Estimates by a senior officer from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade sets the record straight. It is dated 21 March, the day after Senator Faulkner spoke in the Senate about discrepancies in the evidence from DFAT and AG's. PDF 36KB.

Here in full - as Sir Humphrey might say, just "to more accurately reflect the facts."

Dr Kathleen Dermody
Secretary of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee
Department of the Senate

I write to correct my evidence given to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
Legislation Committee Estimates hearing on 14 February 2013.

I refer to Hansard pages 44 (line 50), 45 (line 2) and 46 (lines 14 and 30) where I referred to
an "interdepartmental committee" or "IDC" in relation to the Open Government Partnership.
I propose that the references to "interdepartmental committee" and "IDC" identified above
are replaced with "interagency process" which reflects the terminology I more accurately
used on page 47 (line 16).

I additionally refer to Hansard page 46 (line 9) where I stated "The IDC has met several
times." I would propose changing this to "The interagency group has met once." to more
accurately reflect the facts. When giving evidence I was under the impression that the
interagency group had met more than once. 

On page 46 (lines 19 and 20) I stated "I can inform you that to my knowledge the IDC has met most recently in January". I would propose changing this to "I can inform you that to my knowledge the interagency group has met most recently in August 2012." to more accurately reflect the facts.

I would also propose to amend the figures on Page 45 (line 39), which as Senator Faulkner
noted, were not up-to-date. The revised sentence should read "At the moment, 47 countries
have joined the initiative, and 11 have indicated their intention to join."

Yours sincerely
Richard Rowe
First Assistant Secretary/Senior Legal Adviser
ational Organisations and Legal Division

The text of messages from Secretary of State Clinton in 2011 and UK Minister for the Cabinet Office Maude in 2013 for Australia to join, neither of which received an answer, were also tabled in response to questions. PDF 464KB


  1. Anonymous9:16 pm

    This, for some reason, reminded me of a news item from many years ago. It was a piece about the painting of the inside of the Wirrabara Town Hall in SA, to which we lamented the triviality of regional news reporting. The following evening there was a seriously worded correction by the news reader alerting viewers that it was in fact the exterior of the hall that received the new paint job not the internal walls as previously reported. I guess it was the 70s.

    I don't know why this popped into my head after reading this piece but pop it did.

  2. Anon, Thanks, I understand the connection completely.