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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 April 2011) . . Page.. 1390 ..


(2) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) make a declaration of open government;

(b) adopt a presumption of information disclosure rather than confidentiality;

(c) make appropriate datasets freely available, in particular ACTION timetable data;

(d) copyright all ACT Government publications under creative commons licences;

(e) save all information in formats which have open standards;

(f) sponsor a competition for creative use of ACT Government datasets;

(g) investigate the use of information and communication technology to facilitate participatory democracy; and

(h) report back on these issues by the last sitting day in September 2011.

I am very pleased to move this motion today because it brings together two things that I am very interested in. One is the concept of information, the concept that information should be freely available. I will start with a couple of quotes. From George Orwell:

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.

And from the Bible:

The truth will set you free.

Unfortunately, the other corollary to this, as the government and all of us here well know, is knowledge is power. I think we could say that what we have today in all Western democracies, unfortunately, is a declining trust in governments. We have a retreat from civic engagement. People have a feeling that they lack trust and that they do not have a voice in government. I think that one of the ways that we can address these issues is by looking at information—freedom of information. Fundamentally, that is what this motion is about. It is about freedom of information. Secondly, it is about information technology, which can be used to make information freely available very cheaply. That is my second interest because, as members may remember, prior to my election to this place I was the IT manager and a director of Australian Ethical Investment, so information technology is another of my interests.

I will go through my motion and point out to you—and hopefully you will agree—how right it is. First we state:

… that government information is a public good and unless there is a compelling public interest otherwise, all information created by the ACT Government should be freely accessible …


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