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Tuesday, July 05, 2016

A messy election outcome could bring open, transparent government in out of the dark

It's still up in the air as to who governs - and therefore gets to call most of the shots - and perhaps what the successful major party leader will have to agree to in order to form a government. 

Then on an ongoing basis, there is uncertainty about the constraints or influences that will apply to the government policy and legislative agendas because of numbers in the House and Senate.

Transparency, accountability, public integrity, citizen participation, all elements of good government, hardly rated a mention on the campaign hustings.

But one welcome outcome from the current mess is that three major players, Labor, the Greens and NXT have more open, transparent government on their list of priorities. 

In contrast to the Coalition which offered nothing in this space during the election campaign other than open data and more digital services. Those new commitments came on top of the Turnbull government decision to join the Open Government Partnership, a decision so far not fleshed out with the required ambitious commitments to “promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.” 

EFF Designer Hugh D"Andrade
Nick Xenophon on ABC AM this morning:
Nick Xenophon, you're the only potential kingmaker to say that you're willing to strike a formal agreement with either side to form a minority government. The others have ruled it out so far. Why are you open to it?

NICK XENOPHON: Because if you run for election with a particular agenda about saving jobs, about strengthening manufacturing and farming jobs, about tackling predatory gambling and making governments accountable, if there's an opportunity to achieve that agenda with either side of politics, particularly if you come from the political centre, then it's an opportunity you should take up.....And when it comes to government accountability the fact that whistleblowers in this country aren't protected, that there is a real issue about the mechanisms of government with our freedom of information law and the like, which shows that we really need to have government to be more open, more transparent, and I think these are issues that need to be debated and discussed.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Is this result ultimately a necessarily a recipe for chaos?

NICK XENOPHON: No, it's not. It can be a recipe for cautiously having a framework in place that leads to better government, more accountable government, and I would like to think a greater confidence in our political institutions if you have those reforms, if you have greater transparency in government processes, if there is more accountability.

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