Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Australia to (re)join the OGP

Back in 2013, Australia announced it was joining the Open Government partnership. But Tony Abbot welched on the deal, and backed out. But now he's gone, Australia is back in again:

Having been quietly shelved two years ago, Australia’s plans to join the multilateral Open Government Partnership are being dusted off by Malcolm Turnbull and an announcement to formally sign-on is expected within weeks.

Prime Minister Turnbull is understood to have considered a proposal last week to move ahead with the OGP, and the final discussions are underway to make that happen.

The Prime Minister was expected to approve in-principal policy, which would provide direction for machinery of government negotiations which are currently underway and which will ultimate decide how Australia’s commitment to the program will be managed.

Good. But its not enough to rejoin the OGP - it has to actually result in real change to the present mindset of secrecy. Restoring the office of the Freedom of Information Commissioner and appointing a replacement (its currently vacant after unsuccessful government attempts to disestablish it) would be a good start.