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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Should Parliament be exempt from FOI laws?

In the UK, debate on a private member's bill that would exempt the Houses of Parliament from the Freedom of Information Act, will resume on Friday. It's been a hot topic there for months with some suggestions recently that the Government, or at least some prominent government MPs, are rallying the numbers to support the move.

Meanwhile in New Zealand, things may be going in the opposite direction. The Speaker of the House wants the Official Information Act extended to include the Parliament, and the Deputy Prime Minister thinks the idea has merit.

As previously noted here, none of the Australian FOI Acts cover the parliament. There may be better answers - requiring routine publication of information about payments, expense claims and travel undertaken by members of parliament, would be a boost to transparency and accountability.

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