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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Message for Howard: it's more than the economy stupid!

What a difference a day makes.

The Federal election yesterday in which the Labor Party has swept to power means that what John Howard had to say about anything has been rendered irrelevant with immediate effect.

So it doesn't matter that he failed to make any positive commitment during the campaign to greater transparency and accountability in government, or to freedom of information reform. Howard's party has not only lost government, but Howard himself almost certainly has lost his seat in Parliament.

It doesn't matter either that Peter Costello had 'form' as the minister prepared to argue that freedom of information laws were primarily designed to enable individuals to gain access to information about themselves. Or that he got that wrong, because FOI is essentially about public rights to access information about government's conduct of public functions.

Costello today has announced he won't be a candidate for leader of his party in opposition. He is now effectively a lame duck, as he has plans to pursue a career in commerce at the end of his three year term.

What does matter is that Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party have made commitments to improve Freedom of Information laws, introduce whistleblower protections that work, and ensure executive government is accountable to the Parliament and the public.

The PM elect has emphasised that he plans to govern for all of us. These commitments need to be acted upon promptly.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:01 pm

    Peter Timmins,
    Yes, the new government must move over it's term to ensure that 'executive government is accountable to parliament and the public'; it must also move to ensure that the higher echelons of the public service-eg. Dr Sheargold and Dr Henry (re your earlier blog comments) recognise that 'public service' means just that, ie. a duty to inform and serve-the wider public, not political masters frightened of embarrassment.