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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Barack Obama commits to transparency in government

Short posts, on holidays.

Its still a long haul until the US Presidential election in November 2008.

However the candidates are starting to make important and specific commitment. For example, one of the leading Democratic Party contenders Senator Barack Obama, has just released a statement about his plans to improve transparency and accountability.

They include a requirement for members of the Cabinet to use modern technology to engage in "21st century fireside chats"with the nation; restore meaning to the Freedom of Information Act to require release of documents unless there is a reasonably foreseeable harm to a protected interest; conduct regulatory business in public by enabling access to agency deliberations about issues, and use all available tools to allow citizens not just to observe, but participate and be heard on issues; and to make publicly available communications between persons outside Government and all White House staff concerning regulatory policy making.

In Australia, there isn't long to go before our Federal election but we still haven't heard anything from the major parties about specifics on these issues. The Australian Labor Party is committed to "FOI reform". However three months after its Federal Conference, the final text of the party platform containing policy on these and other issues is still to be released.

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