[LINK] @piawaugh 22 hours ago: "Just opened Australian Government consultation

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Wed Nov 18 12:15:36 AEDT 2015

At 11:40 +1100 18/11/15, Marghanita da Cruz wrote:
>Pia Waugh ?@piawaugh 22 hours ago: "Just opened Australian Government consultation to develop
>@opengovpart national action plan http://ogpau.govspace.gov.au  #ogpau #opengov Woot!"

The recent history of openness at Commonwealth level has been a series of unmitigated disasters, with John Faulkner's reforms undermined, then completely defeated, and the Information Commissioner and the FoI Commissioner both disestablished by administrative fiat.  (It was very arguably illegal - but illegal behaviour by federal government agencies is becoming scarily mainstream and generally goes unchallenged).

So this initiative will be highly unpopular amongst 90% of the mandarins, and they'll be working very hard to defeat it:

So it's very important that we get right in behind it, by:
-   submitting supportive and constructive comments
-   demanding that the process be genuinely participative

The third of the four principles be pushed hard:
>Participation: Mobilisation of citizens on government policies or programs to provide input or feedback and make contributions that lead to more responsive, innovative and effective governance.

Firstly, real participation is not pseudo-consultative 'engagement'.
(That's the current public service term for the manipulation that's performed by public relations sections).

Secondly, for participation to be effective, it needs considerably more than a web-form where people can send comments. 

It's vital that genuine public interest advocacy organisations be inside the door, and at the table, as members of each of the levels of board, committees and panels that such an initiative needs to use.

The normal sequence is that:
-   NGOs are initially refused any 'special treatment'
-   after much gnashing of teeth, a concession is grudgingly made
-   but only already-tame NGOs are invited
or  if no NGOs are already-tame, funds are offered to them,
    and they progressively become captive, and make no waves

So we also need to beat that normal sequence.

See http://www.opengovpartnership.org/how-it-works/civil-society-engagement

Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 2 6288 6916                        http://about.me/roger.clarke
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law            University of N.S.W.
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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