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Monday, March 10, 2014

Australia and the OGP: no news is well, no news

But Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop is in London for the Australia -UK Ministerial Consultations this week.  Probably far too undiplomatic for the top table but given UK enthusiasm for the OGP someone from the other side might suggest to one of her entourage that the government should  look at the file and then say and do something positive. Hint: like publicly embracing OGP objectives, moving towards signing the Open Government Declaration and talking to people outside the parliamentary triangle about a national action plan.

And as the government waits for Indonesia to agree on a basis for future co-operation and Minister Bishop points to "about 60 areas of co-operation between Australia and Indonesia covering about 22 Australian government departments and agencies and authorities and that is continuing" you would hope DFAT and AGD are in that mix somewhere. 

They know that Indonesia is the current OGP lead co-chair, and that being positive about the OGP is not just in our own interests but mutually advantageous. And as the Indonesian Government is taking the lead role in calling on the region to come together in Bali in early May to "connect, share and learn from each other on the benefits and opportunities across open and good governance practices" that we should be straining at the leash to grab the opportunity to be there with a smile and a bucket of enthusiasm.

As Attorney General Senator Brandis told the G 20 Anti Corruption Roundtable in Sydney on 28 February:

“Without good governance, the best government, as Jefferson saw, is no guarantee against the deterioration of the state. And of all the threats to good governance, there is none more insidious - and potentially ruinous - than corruption.Combating corruption is for all those reasons a critical issue for all governments, and is something that calls for constant vigilance....... What is most important of all - and this a point made by among others, Transparency International - is to foster, by legislation, by governance arrangements and by widely accepted ethical standards, both in public and private sectors, a culture in which corruption is understood to be the evil that it is; that it is swiftly identified, decisively extinguished and firmly punished.”

C'mon guys!

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