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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Silence on Open Government Partnership five days from Mexico deadline

Will we, won't we?

Not a peep out of Canberra (except these unsourced positives) in response to the request from the OGP Steering Committee in July that Australia indicate its position prior to the Global Summit in Mexico City commencing on 27 October.

But out of Berlin a letter to Prime Minister Turnbull  from Cobus de Swardt Managing Director of Transparency International urging Australia to fully sign on, and send a delegate to the summit which will include a side meeting on how the OGP contributes to the fight against corruption:


Transparency International would like to extend our sincere congratulations to you on becoming Prime Minister. We look forward to working together to achieve a consultative and open government that effectively tackles corruption.

For Transparency International, a first step towards these aims is for the Australian government to realise its outstanding membership requirements as part of the Open Government Partnership (OGP).
Australia made a May 2013 commitment to join OGP, a multilateral initiative with 66 member countries that aims to “secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.” Yet in the 30 month period since joining, Australia has made little public progress on advancing such commitments while other nations have designed and implemented one or more OGP national ‘Action Plans’ in collaboration with civil society.

There is an opportunity to correct this. On October 27th, the President of Mexico will host all the OGP governments at a Global Summit in the country’s capital. Transparency International encourages the Australian government to take a strong public stand ahead of the summit and state that it will fully comply with the OGP membership requirements. The government should also send a delegate to the summit and join the planned side meeting the Mexican government will convene on how the OGP contributes to the fight against corruption.
At this stage it looks as if Australian involvement -government and non government alike- will be minimalist if registrations as at 19 October are anything to go by. A list seen by Open and Shut includes nineteen hundred names, no kidding, but only one from Australia-Silvana Fumega from Tasmania.  


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