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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Attorney General and AGD to lead on Open Government Partnership

During Senate Estimates for Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet yesterday, in response to questions from Senator Faulkner, Deputy Secretary Leon said the Prime Minister "wrote to the Attorney-General on 15 May this year agreeing not only that the Attorney-General would be the lead minister but agreeing that his department would take on the role of lead agency."

Not the Prime Minister with all that might convey, unfortunately. 

But with the leadership issue cleared up, it's now onward and upward.

Big broad innovative thinking, hopefully from deep within Robert Garran Offices on the what and the how of a National Action Plan.

The Hansard extract follows: 

 Senator FAULKNER: I have one question in relation to the Open Government Partnership. I was very pleased to see the press release that Attorney-General Dreyfus issued in relation to Australia's plans with the Open Government Partnership. What I want to ask, and I am not sure which agency to ask, but it seems to be logical to start with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Has it been determined in government—in other words determined by the Prime Minister—what is the lead agency and who is the responsible minister for the OGP? Can you assist me with that?
Ms Leon : I believe the Attorney-General is the lead minister.
Senator FAULKNER: Has that decision been made?
Ms Leon : I believe so. I will check while we are in session and advise you if that is not the case. But that is my understanding.
Senator FAULKNER: There are two elements to this: the lead minister and the lead agency. So, what portfolio agency, if it is the Attorney-General? And can you say, Ms Leon, is that a decision that is made by the Prime Minister?
Ms Leon : Yes, the decision as to the lead minister is made by the Prime Minister. I will just have to seek some advice about who is the lead agency. I should be able to advise you of that while we are in session.
Senator FAULKNER: Are you able to say when that decision was made?
Ms Leon : I may not be able to say that this evening, but we should be able to find out within the period that this estimates committee is meeting. It just may need to be done in business hours if I cannot find out this evening.
Senator FAULKNER: If you let me know tomorrow—unfortunately we will both be here tomorrow—that is fine. Depending on the answer there may be some follow-up issues. Given that the Attorney made the announcement I assume like you that the Attorney is the lead minister. But could you confirm the lead agency. Also, as you investigate this issue overnight, I would be interested to understand what if any ongoing role the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has in relation to this matter. We can revisit this tomorrow. I would appreciate your looking at that.
Ms Leon : Okay. 
................
Ms Leon : I can already provide an answer to Senator Faulkner's question of a moment ago about the Open Government Partnership. I am not wishing to set too high a benchmark for getting back within session!
The Prime Minister wrote to the Attorney-General on 15 May this year agreeing not only that the Attorney-General would be the lead minister but agreeing that his department would take on the role of lead agency.



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