Australia takes important step towards more open government

Australia takes important step towards more open government

Australia’s inaugural Open Government Forum, a group working towards more open and transparent government, will meet in Canberra tomorrow. The group, comprised of equal representation from civil society and government, will monitor and drive implementation of the current Open Government National Action Plan, help to develop the next plan and raise awareness of open government.

The Government’s National Action Plan was created in consultation with civil society and sets out how Australia will improve openness across issues of critical importance, including transparency and accountability in business, open data and digital communication, access to government information and integrity in the public sector.

Emily Howie, Director of Legal Advocacy with the Human Rights Law Centre, has been appointed a civil society member of the Forum.

“I am looking forward to working with the Open Government Forum towards greater transparency in Australian government. It’s absolutely vital to a healthy democracy that government is as open and accountable as possible,” said Ms Howie.

Australia’s current commitments include improving whistleblower protections in the tax and corporate sectors, the accessibility of government data and ensuring confidence in the integrity of the electoral system and political parties.

“Although Australia has, in many ways, a strong democracy, secrecy has noticeably increased across government. Australia’s commitment to the Open Government Forum is a step towards addressing some of the transparency issues that hold us back,” said Ms Howie.

Nearly 70 countries around the world – including Australia – are part of the Open Government Partnership. Those countries partner with civil society to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to improve open government. Australia’s Open Government National Action Plan and the work of the Open Government Forum are part of our domestic implementation of the commitments in the partnership.

For interviews please contact:

Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519