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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

ICAC heat prompts promise of a peek at ministers' diary

Look forward to the detail but this is a step in the right direction.

 As Sean Nicholls reports in the SMH new NSW Premier Baird sees wisdom in more transparency:
A summary of ministerial diaries will be published quarterly by the NSW government to try to improve transparency around meetings with lobbyists and others, following evidence at the Independent Commission Against Corruption...The information made public will include the purpose of the meeting, which organisation is involved and details of any registered lobbyists present. Cabinet matters, personal information and details deemed "commercial in confidence" will not be included. Nor will "strictly" electorate or party political matters. Mr Baird said the publication of ministerial diaries would "help restore the public’s trust in our political system and the MPs that represent them". "There needs to be better transparency and accountability in the way ministers deal with business," he said. "The public has a right to know who is knocking on the doors and sitting in offices with our senior politicians." He said only Queensland has a similar regime in place. "This is an important step that puts on notice any lobbyist or business thinking about breaking the rules or expecting favourable treatment," Mr Baird said. “We are nailing shut the back door to government, and I will be announcing further measures in due course.”
There is plenty of scope for 'further measures." For example appointments of senior minders, department heads and senior executive officers and even meetings with journalists, and their organisations.This could be brought together in a searchable website that includes use of entitlements, travel, gifts, donations and pecuniary interests. 

And something similar for all parliamentarians?

Canberra and the other states and territories to follow the lead?

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