Monday, August 10, 2009

OpenAustralia barred from republishing QLD's Hansard

It appears that the the Clerk of Queensland’s Parliament has barred OpenAustralia from republishing the state's Hansard on a series of grounds, in a blow to OpenAustralia's goal of making all of Australia's parliamentary Hansard records available online in a searchable format.

OpenAustralia has blogged about the matter, in the post, Queensland bars OpenAustralia from republishing its Hansard, republishing the email from the Clerk of the Parliament in full.

This is a good example of some of the challenges to government transparency and openness. There can be control issues arising from laws and policies which limit government openness which will need to be reconsidered at parliamentary levels.

There can also be education, responsibility, accountability, process and risk considerations around online openness. Who can approve the release of information, what are the foreseeable risks in doing so and how can they be mitigated?

Without a thorough understanding of the online medium, clear responsibilities and effective processes it can be hard in some instances to identify who has the right to approve government information being released.

OpenAustralia is speaking to other state jurisdictions about Hansard records (and has been for a number of months). It will be interesting to see whether the decision taken by the Clerk of the Parliament in QLD will become a precedent or an anomaly.

By the way, this is how Queensland's Hansard website looks.

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