Monday, April 06, 2009

What's the government's role in improving access to information about government online?

I love the work that Matthew Landauer and a small group of non-partisan, patriotic Australians have done to set up OpenAustralia.

If you're not aware of the site, it's designed to make the discussions on parliamentary floors visible to the public in an easily accessible way.

The site also provides information on Members' interests (on the record) and with further development could also support parliamentarian voting records, track bills and their amendments (and who is proposing them) and more.

OpenAustralia is modeled on (and uses the open-source software developed for) a similar (not-for-profit) UK site, TheyWorkForYou. Further sites of the same type are appearing around the world and attracting significant audiences - demonstrating there is a public interest in political processes and activities by elected representatives.

My question is, should this type of site be developed by individuals in their spare time, or it is an area that the Australian government needs to invest in itself to support the democratic process?

Below is a presentation with more information on OpenAustralia.

And here is a video by the founder/developer of TheyWorkForYou.


  1. Thanks Craig, same goes for Super idea, is it 'transferable' from the UK? I've asked them, let you know the response. Some $$ from Govt preferred but reckon will take a group of Adelaide techos working late with coffee supplies to deliver. Cheers

  2. Great post.

    Here in New Zealand we also have a TheyWorkForYou - and Twitter account -

    I also run the NZGovtFeeds Twitter account ( with more examples of using NZ Govt feeds -

    I see a huge wave of people from all around the world grabbing interesting Govt data and getting it out there in even more interesting ways - top stuff.

    And love this blog, great stuff!

  3. Hi Fergus
    Get in touch - we've also been looking at the fixmystreet stuff - might be able to work together somehow. I have done a little investigation into gov funding too.
    s at dalt dot net

  4. Hi Steve,

    I'll make sure Fergus has your details to get in touch with you.