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Monday, April 21, 2008

Morning after reflections on 2020 Summit

Assessments of the 2020 Summit seem mostly positive and realistic about what results when you lock a lot of people in a room for a relatively short time and tell them "discuss" the major challenges facing the nation.But there are also plenty of naysayers as well.

Two pieces of particular interest:David Marr in the Sydney Morning Herald provides some colour on the way things went in the Governance group, making sense of that reference to grumpyness yesterday . Brad Norrington in The Australian gives some additional details of issues covered that included shield laws, whistleblower protection and political party funding.

We shouldn't be satisfied with the assurance that the Government will respond by the end of the year to suggestions on improving openness and transparency, and increasing public participation in government affairs.

Prompt action by the Government on Freedom of Information reform should be seen as low hanging fruit-easy pickings for those who spoke loud and often before the election about what needs to be done to address an enduring culture of excessive secrecy in some government agencies,and a myriad of other problems with the law and the way it has been implemented.

The Initial Report published yesterday urged state governments, all represented by their leaders ,to also take on board the ideas that emerged. None of the states (other than Queensland) have shown much interest in fundamental reform on FOI and related issues.

We live in hope.

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