Dear People of the Information Revolution, today is the day!
“Have your say on Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan” decreed the “ogpteam” this morning in an official government press release!
Okay, ogpteam, if you insist, we’ll have our say … this is yet more utterly shameless propaganda. Never has the schism been deeper between government rhetoric and reality.
This is the same government which is plotting to privatise the corporate database – sell it to a monopoly private operator – the very same database which already boasts the world’s most expensive and inaccessible “public” information.
This is the same government, whose Department of Finance spurns Freedom of Information (FOI) requests; the latest being for a scoping study into the sale of this Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) database.
One concerned citizen, James Horton, had sought more open and accessible information from government and submitted an FOI request two months ago. The Department of Finance soon informed him that the cost of “search & retrieval” of this scoping study would be $15.30. The document would take just over one hour to retrieve.
The cost however of “decision-making” for this process – redolent perhaps of the efficiency of the old Soviet Five Year Plans – would amount to $2,561.00, which entailed 128 hours of decision-making by the department’s comrades at $20 per hour.
It gets better. James Horton informed us this morning that – after his volley of correspondence with the Department – he had been informed by the department’s comrades that he could not have access to the “public” information he was seeking anyway.
Meanwhile this morning from the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet:
“The Australian Government has released a draft of Australia’s first ever Open Government National Action Plan for public consultation”.
The Great Draft Plan contains five points. Here they are:
Transparency and accountability in business
Open data and digital transformation
Access to government information
Integrity in the public sector
Public participation and engagement
It is encouraging to know that – just like the Soviets back in the day – our Central Committee doesn’t let reality get in the way of a great plan, or for that matter a new taxpayer-funded body to chew though some public funding.
It is hard to tell what connection the Interim Working Group for Australia’s OGP National Action Plan has with the recently formed new government department, Digital Transformation Office (DTO). Perhaps there is also a connection with the older, yet still extant, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).
The latter is, by its own admission, committed to ”open public sector information” and the integrity and importance of free, public, and open information in government.
”We will champion open government, provide advice and assistance to the public, promote better information management by government …”
Just out of interest it is worth detailing the Opposition’s policy on the sale of the ASIC database. What was Labor’s position on the sale? “Consulting and going through our internal processes”.