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Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Prime Minister's travels: sign up to OGP for an easy announcable all hosts will welcome

The Prime Minister leaves tomorrow for visits to Indonesia, France (First World War  commemoration) Canada and the USA. British Prime Minister Cameron is sure to be at events in France as well.

The briefing books have been done and dusted, and behind the scenes discussions have already taken place to sort out what leaders want to say has been accomplished during meetings.

 But has anyone joined these dots for an 'announcable' that all the PM's hosts would welcome? 

The Prime Minister in this Media Release, issued before the announcement of the visit to Indonesia, spoke of the United States, Canada and France as long standing friends of Australia who "have always shared a commitment to democracy, to enterprise and to people’s right to be free."

That commitment is one we share with Indonesia as well.

Indonesia is lead co-chair of the Open Government Partnership. France has announced its intention to join. The UK and US  are both founding members and former co-chairs and Canada is also a member.

The Prime Minister only weeks ago declined an invitation from President Yudhoyono to attend OGP meetings in Bali. Other Australian ministers invited did not attend. A Finance official attended as an observer.

Opening the Asia Pacific Regional Conference President Yudhoyono, as reported in The Jakarta Post said
 Indonesia encourages Asia-Pacific countries to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a movement that is aimed at promoting openness, accountability and transparency to establish an effective government. “Only 10 Asia Pacific countries are OGP members. We want more countries to join with this movement so that our voices can be represented well via the OGP,”...The President said the role of the OGP, especially in Asia Pacific, was crucial as it wielded influencing power to facilitate the sharing of ideas, expertise and lessons learned on the issue of government transparency. “I believe this region is crucial to promoting the OGP. I’m sure Asia Pacific can be a global growth machine. Together, we declare an Asia Pacific that is prosperous, stable, dynamic, inclusive and oriented to the future,” said Yudhoyono.
Finance Minister Cormann last week said the government had not yet decided to join the OGP. Nor had it decided to withdraw the previous government's notice of intention to join.

An announcement this week that Australia will join the OGP would clearly be welcomed by the Indonesian Government.

And by France, the UK, Canada and the US whose leaders the Prime Minister meets later in the week.

Hopefully we might see something along these lines during the PM's travels:

 The Joint Statement issued in February by President Obama,Canadian Prime Minister Harper (and President Pena Nieto of Mexico) included a commitment to support the OGP, transparency and open government and to promote democracy, human rights and respect for international law throughout the world.

In September 2013 following a meeting with Prime Minister Cameron, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced that at "the request of the UK, New Zealand will formally express its intention to join the Open Government Partnership.
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