Finally you have an opportunity for input into making the Australian Government more open and accountable now that the government has signed on to the international Open Government Partnership agreement. You can show your interest by participating in the rounds of Government public consultation and by joining the Australian Open Government Partnership Network
To keep you informed and up to date, a summary of the key issues is below.
The Australian Community has been provided with a unique and very significant opportunity to reform our Commonwealth Parliamentary Democracy by addressing, in partnership with the Government, the serious weaknesses and problems that have developed in that Democracy in recent years. It has the potential to be the most important development in Australia’s Democracies since Federation. Whether that is realised will depend, in very large measure, on the Australian Community’s response within this new Partnership.
ART has made a submission to the Government addressing the matters it has raised in the first stage of the development of the National Action Plan. ART submits that it will be critical for the successful formulation of Australia’s first NAP, that the Partnership, from the outset address the following. ¶
- Identify what should guide all the participants in this Partnership enterprise. This includes –
- the Objectives of the OGP and its Mission Statement,
- the nature and purposes of parliamentary democracies and
- a fundamental but long forgotten ethical and common-law principle – that public office is a public trust and that those holding public office are under a fiduciary obligation when exercising their powers entrusted to them to place the public interest first and ahead of their own interests and other private interests.
We also submit that the absence of the public office public trust principle from our Australian consciousness for many years has been a major factor in the problems that now exist in our Commonwealth Democracy;
- Accurately and completely establish not only the past history of our Commonwealth Democracy but also its current reality, good and bad. We submit that significantly more work is needed to complete this task — in respect of both the good and the bad.
Applying the above objectives and principles to the actual realities, past and present, the Partnership can proceed with reasonable confidence in choosing, in the public interest, the
- OGP “Grand Challenges” and “Principles” that should be taken up and
- the specific commitments that should be given priority in the National Action Plan .
The Partnership can also articulate its Vision and fine tune the proposed Framework for the development of the National Action Plan .
The Submission discusses these issues, the relevant evidence and the choices of the OGP Grand Challenges and Principles that will best serve the public interest in the Commonwealth of Australia.
We hope that it will be found helpful in each stage of this historic exercise.