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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Open government commitment still up there in lights

The Federal Government keeps emphasising its good intentions. This from the Governor General's speech on Tuesday in opening the new session of parliament:
"The Australian Government is committed to building a modern Australia capable of meeting the challenges of the future. It is committed to bringing a fresh approach to governing. It is committed to being a government that listens to the Australian people, that consults with the Australian people and that is up front with the Australian people on the problems it can solve - and the problems that lay behind the powers of any government to solve".
In a section of the speech headed "Governance and transparency" the Governor General said the Government will implement new measures to help make government more accessible to the community and more transparent in its decision making, and went on to mention Community Cabinet meetings and the Australia 2020 Summit, and this:
"Rules relating to government information will be enhanced by promoting a culture of disclosure and transparency. This includes enhanced Budget transparency by providing greater disclosure of accessible and useful government financial information. A Freedom of Information Commissioner will be appointed to take overall responsibility for access to government information and improve review processes".
All this given some added significance as a result of the Prime Minister's response to an Opposition question about election promises yesterday, as reported in today's Australian Financial Review (no link available):
"Honouring commitments to the Australian people - not consigning them to boxes called "core promises" and "non core promises" - is in fact the life blood of an effectively operating democracy".

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