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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Australia's Open Government Partnership ambition-twaddle or true commitment?

2016 should tell!

Judith Sloan writing in The Australian includes Australia's commitment to the OGP in her list of contenders for Twaddle of the Year 2015, along with the innovation statement:
My favourite part of the innovation statement is the bit about government as exemplar, an example of twaddle-speak itself. But let me turn to the master: “Right across the board you will see there are measures to ensure that government is digitally transformed, so that it is nimble, so that you can deal with government as easily as you can with eBay or with one of the big financial institutions.”
And just to give substance to this government as exemplar gig, you will be pleased to know that “Prime Minister Turnbull has committed the Australian government to membership of the Open Government Partnership and public consultation was launched to develop the National Action Plan for open government. The Open Government Partnership is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder international initiative created to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.”
And here’s a further heads-up: “the Prime Minister’s aim is for the first Australian National Action Plan to include ambitious actions that support the OGP grand challenges of improving public services and better managing public resources. If we want this to happen, Australia needs your suggestions and input!”
Sloan in the end gives the prize to Ban Ki Moon for comments about the Paris climate conference.

The Prime Minister can put Sloan herself up there as a contender with deeds that match the words: by July 2016 an OGP National Action Plan developed in the true spirit of partnership with civil society containing a set of ambitious, concrete commitments to reform on transparency, open government, citizen participation and technological innovation.

And before the consultation process gets into second gear, canning the bill to abolish the Office of Australian Information Commissioner. 

The bill is opposed by a majority in the Senate and sits in the Bills List not just gathering dust but strengthening the hand of Sloan and others of sceptical bent.

The Australian Open Government Partnership Network and its members are prepared to take the PM at his word at this stage.

The Network's Interim Steering Committee is
Dr David Solomon (Accountability Roundtable), Chair,

Greg Thompson (Transparency International Australia)

Kat Szuminska (OpenAustralia Foundation)

Dr Nicholas Gruen (Open Knowlege Australia)
Leanne O'Donnell (Blueprint for Free Speech)

Jon Lawrence (Electronic Frontiers Australia)

Dr Johan Lidberg, School of Journalism Monash University

Craig Thomler, Social Media Planner, Digital Specialist, Gov 2.0 Advocate.

Convener Peter Timmins.

Sign in here to learn more about the Network as things move ahead in the new year. 

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