Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Australia on the international stage, with OGP notes in the bag?

 With Foreign Minister Bishop in New York meeting lots of friends and others and sitting briefly in the chair as President of the Security Council and then to join Prime Minister Abbott for a visit to Jakarta later in the week, somewhere in all the briefing books there must be an item "Australia and the Open Government Partnership"?

Just in case someone asks our intentions, as David Cameron did of Prime Minister Key in London last week. Or better still, because we wish to get in ahead with an assurance that Australia's commitment to join remains despite the change of government, and that the Coalition's silence on the subject to date is of no significance.

Particularly in meetings with the Indonesians given the fact that Indonesia is a co-chair of the OGP with the UK, and will become the lead co-chair after the Steering Committee and Summit meetings in London at the end of the month. And that the issue is managed in Jakarta from the president's office, suggesting it has a high priority there.

The ten foreign policy and other reasons for getting on board with the OGP suggested last December still make sense. 

An eleventh is that explaining an about turn on Labor's announcement in May of intention to join won't go down well in Jakarta, London or Washington, where it is described as President Obama's 'signature governance initiative,' and will lead to head scratching in 56 other capitals as well. 

A twelfth is walking away on an initiative that sees members commit to more transparent, effective and accountable governments with institutions that empower citizens and are responsive to their aspirations would be difficult to square with the Prime Minister's intention to restore trust.

And because as chair of the G20 from December we wouldn't want to be outside the loop on the transparency issues that have been and remain high on that agenda.

So here's hoping that the briefing notes are in the bag and that a strong robust public commitment to stand firm with the OGP is forthcoming.
(Update-seems so)

To be followed by a meaningful partnership with civil society here at home to identify and get cracking on concrete goals that improve the way our democracy works. 


No comments:

Post a Comment