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Friday, October 25, 2013

OGP Summit-hold that Australian chair!!

A spokeswoman for the Attorney-General said today:

* The Commonwealth Government supports the principles of open government.

* Australia appreciates the opportunity to attend the Open Government Partnership Summit in London.

* Australia will be represented at the OGP Summit in London by Mr John Sheridan and Mr James Kelly. Mr Sheridan is the Australian Government Chief Technology Officer & Procurement Coordinator and First Assistant Secretary at the Department of Finance. Mr Kelly is Minister Counsellor (Economic), who is the senior Treasury official at Post.

1. Good news that the government supports the principles of open government, although that may give rise to a wry smile or two around the traps. But not a single flourish about the importance of transparency and accountability, or word from the Prime Minister or a ministerial colleague to this effect.

2. Welcome news that the government will be represented in London.But no specific commitment here that the Abbott Government intends continuing on the path to join the OGP, as announced by then Attorney General Dreyfus in May, and implicit in a White House statement issued on behalf of the Australian and other governments on 23 September.

3. I'm sure John Sheridan is a capable, fine Chief Technology Officer who has a good background in Gov 2.0 and open data issues through his positions past and present in the Australian Government Information Management Office in the Department of Finance. I'm  sure he's also full bottle or very interested in democratic principles and practices and the scope to improve democracy through practical commitments to advance transparency and accountability on a range of other fronts across many areas of government. And keen to pick up best practice ideas in London for partnering back at home with civil society in the development of a national action plan-assuming it's full steam ahead with that membership application. Ditto Mr Kelly - who would be wise not to bend too many ears in London with the wisdom behind the Treasury Blue Book decision or in explaining the government's satisfaction to date with the limited transparency arrangements that apply to the use of parliamentary entitlements...sorry it's late.

The only other Australians attending that I'm aware of are Open Australia co-founders Dr Matthew Landauer (courtesy of the OGP Support Unit) and Katherine Szuminska.

Travel well and

Go Team!! 

Update-Memo to the Team and others following the OGP with interest: take a look at the London 'buzz' as gathered by Toby McIntosh.


  1. Anonymous12:49 pm

    Hi Peter, great post. Just wondering if there a link to where the announcement was first published or made? Thanks, Amy

  2. Amy,
    Copy email sent to Sean Parnell FOI Editor The Australian in response to questions. This might be the first time published.