On the other, somewhat disheartening that public servants are still "going through all of the considerations that need to be gone through before we make a final decision."
With no end in sight apparently, Minister Cormann adding the "government will form a view as soon as possible and will take as long as necessary."
Australia was invited to join the OGP, the "international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens" in August 2011. Sixty four other governments have joined or are in the process of doing so. Just the ticket for those interested in good government you would think.
It took the Rudd-Gillard governments 21 months to reach the decision in May 2013 to lodge a notice of intention to join the OGP.
The Abbott government has now spent 17 months since coming to office 'considering' whether to proceed or not proceed to membership.
Last November the committee was told Finance was doing 'quite a lot of work' on a national action plan (notably,without talking to anyone outside government about it) for completion in December.
The Department wasn't forthcoming with a copy of whatever they were working on at that time and is yet to respond (meaningfully) to this specific request for the action plan or draft.
Back in November the OGP Support Unit, working on the reasonable assumption that Australia was committed to membership as a result of the May 2013 notice and presumably not having been informed otherwise, wrote to Finance (pdf) advising that the government has "acted contrary to the OGP process for this cycle of action plan development" in failing to lodge a national action plan by July last year.
We don't know whether their request for clarification "in the near future" on Australia's participation yielded more or something different from what the committee was told last week.
At the estimates hearing Senator Lundy switched after three questions about the OGP to another topic, the announcement in January by the Prime Minister and Minister Turnbull about the establishment of the Digital Transformation Office.
Secretary Halton told the committee the detail including what functions will transfer from Finance to Communications as a result is under 'active discussion.' (In Yes Minister speak I think this is a notch above the 'under consideration' tag attached to the OGP file. Sir Humphrey once explained one meant 'we've lost the file' the other 'we're trying to find it.')
Senator LUNDY: Can we move now to open government partnerships to continue that conversation. I do not have the previous Hansard with me, but perhaps you could update the committee on those conversations.