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Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Opposition and open, transparent and accountable government

My local member is the Hon Malcolm Turnbull. I sent this email today:

'Craig Thomler wrote to you in May with a number of questions concerning the Opposition's position on Gov 2.0, and open, transparent and accountable government generally.

He posted his message to you publicly in June on eGov AU but I understand is yet to receive a response.

Readers of Open and Shut would be interested in your response as well.

One of the issues raised in Craig's message was the Opposition's position on the Open Government Partnership. Since that time Attorney General Dreyfus has announced the Government's intention to join.

I am not aware of any public statement from the Opposition on the OGP and wrote to Senator Brandis and Julie Bishop last week in the following terms:

"I write to seek an indication of the Opposition's position regarding Australian membership of the OGP.

You will be familiar with the initiative launched by President Obama in September 2011.

Australia was invited to join at that time. In June 2013 Attorney General Dreyfus announced the Government's intention to do so. Since, nothing has been said publicly about the process for the development of the National Action Plan, required as part of the application and which must be developed in partnership with civil society organisations.

Australian membership provides an opportunity to improve transparency, accountability and open government here, and to advance our interests more broadly through engagement with the 58 other member countries and in the region in conjunction with the current co-chair, Indonesia.

I would welcome any comment you wish to make about the Opposition's intentions regarding the OGP and would bring your response to the attention of those who take a close interest in these issues.

Because of the international dimension, I have sent a similar email to Shadow Foreign Minister Bishop.

Thank you in anticipation."

Any comments you or your colleagues can make on these important issues will be widely distributed to the many individuals and organisations that take a close interest in good government.'

Peter Timmins.
Open and Shut

(Addendum: on the broader integrity front, Transparency International Australia has sent these questions(pdf) to the parties.) 

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