OpenAustralia Foundation should be congratulated for it launch of the www.righttoknow.org.au project which makes the process of lodging a freedom of information request easier and allows the public to track requests and the result to a possible 361 federal authorities, says Greens Senator and democracy spokesperson Lee Rhiannon.
Senator Rhiannon has moved a Senate motion (below) urging the government to use the site, provide feedback, and support the Foundation in its aim of encouraging effective citizen access to government information.
"This new website enhances transparency and accountability by amplifying FOI requests beyond the person making it and publishing the application and its results to the world," Senator Rhiannon said.
"Prime Minister Julia Gillard came to office spruiking her commitment to transparency and this project is a step in the right direction.
"Ideally government agencies should be making more information publicly available as a matter of course.
"This website further levers off what has traditionally been a tightly sealed lid on government held information in Australia," Senator Rhiannon said.
Motion to the Senate - 26 November 2012
I give notice that on the next sitting day I shall move:
That the Senate -
1. Notes that:
a) there is widespread community support for broad freedom of information laws and transparency in government;
b) the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Australian Information Act 2010 are currently under review ;
c) the Prime Minister Julia Gillard on taking office in September 2010 stated, "we will be held more accountable than ever before, and more than any government in modern memory. We will be held to higher standards of transparency and reform, and it's in that spirit that I approach the task of forming a government"; and
d) the OpenAustralia Foundation has developed a new website 'Right to Know' to improve the ease with which Australians can lodge Freedom of Information requests and to make the whole request and response process public.
2. Calls on the Senate to:
a) note the new 'Right to Know' website
b) congratulate the OpenAustralia Foundation for their 'Right to Know' initiative which will further improve access to government held information
c) urge the government to use the site, provide feedback, and support the Foundation in its aim of encouraging effective citizen access to government information.