Tuesday, December 23, 2008

MP interests to be published online

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald a few days ago, Open Australia has requested, and plans to soon publish, the register of MP interests.

Per the article, Interests of MPs to go online - it's about time, while the register is publicly available, currently 'public' means that,

As things stand, if you want to know which MPs has been given trips abroad, who has investments in mining or pharmaceutical companies, or who has real estate holdings in areas ripe for development, you have to go to Canberra, get into Parliament House, find the Senate or House of Representatives offices where the registers are held and leaf through vast volumes of forms.

The cost and effort of such an exercise mean that while politicians claim the document is public, few members of the public ever see it.


When the committee responsible for the register, the Privileges and Members Interests Standing Committee, was asked why it had not previously been placed online, the Chair, Brett Raguse said to SMH,

When asked why his committee had not simply put the register online, Raguse said it was "a good question" but was "something no one had really thought about" until now.


I hope other departments and committees are thinking about whether they should put their public information online.

Where government information is already available publicly, surely using the internet for distribution is logical and supports the credibility of a serious egovernment agenda.

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