Monday, April 28, 2014

Why freedom of information matters

Writing in The Guardian, Australian Senator Joe Ludwig has a strong reminder of why freedom of information matters:

As technical as it can sound, the open and transparent operation of government isn’t a fringe issue. It goes to the very heart of what politicians do, and it speaks volumes about the respect and trust a government has for the public.


A strong FOI act matters because, to lift a phrase, it keeps the bastards honest. Ministers and departments should reflect every time they pick up a pen, write an email or make a decision which will impact the public.

A strong OIA is something we take for granted in New Zealand, and it does keep the bastards honest. Our MPs and officials do think every time they write anything down, because they know it may be scrutinised - and our policy is better for it. But more importantly than that, it makes it clear which way the power relationship goes in our democracy, and that they work for us, not the other way round.