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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 5169 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

My amendment seeks to amend the original bill by better defining open-source software and adding a secondary requirement to avoid the procurement of software which does not adhere to open standards. Open-standard software is software which is available for all to read and implement. Open standards create a fair competitive market for implementations of the standard so that they don't lock the customer into a particular vendor or group; they are free for all to implement with no royalty or fee.

The reason why it is important that we are looking at open standards, and how they will be implemented, is that people who want to communicate with the government will be able to do so. At the moment if you are using an open standard or open-source software product and you want to log in and do your tax return online you can't, because the Australian Tax Office is mandating that you use Microsoft to be able to communicate with them. This is the government saying to the community, "If you want to talk to us, you have to talk in our software; you're not allowed to do it in software that you've developed; you're not allowed to do it in software that is recognised across the globe."

I think that is why it is important that we do start opening up our computer systems, that we are allowing accessibility. If we are serious about accessibility, then we are serious about open source and allowing other computer systems and other operating systems access to our documents, access to our information, and allowing them to be able to communicate with us online. That I think is one of the important additions to the amendment that I have put forward today, and I hope that these amendments are successful.

MRS CROSS (9.21): I have already spoken to my amendments, Mr Speaker, so I don't need to speak again. I have already explained why I put the amendments forward.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, and Minister for Sport Racing and Gaming) (9.20): We will support these amendments because, as I said, they will, I think, now bring the legislation pretty well back to what is required in more general terms, I have to admit, than the current legislation anyway. That is very desirable at this point of this argument.

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (9.21): The Liberal Party will be supporting the amendments, Mr Speaker.

Mrs Cross ' amendments agreed to.

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (9.22): I move the amendment circulated in my name [see schedule 3 at page 5206].

Mr Speaker, it just inserts a sunset clause that says it expires three years after the date it commences. If there is any undue effect from this bill this evening, then of course it should be reviewed in a reasonable period of time after the effect has begun, to see whether or not it has achieved the purposes that it was put there for. Three years I think is a reasonable time.

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