International Right to Know Day — September 28 — has undergone a transformation in recent years. For some, it’s still a day to grumble about onerous Freedom of Information requests. While for many others in government it’s an opportunity to consider how greater access to government information and data can help deliver better public services and build confidence in the public sector.
The latter is what Australia and New Zealand’s Information Access Commissioners are doing today at a meeting in Brisbane to discuss and promote the importance of open government and the right for citizens to access government-held information and data.
The nine commissioners and ombudsmen put out a statement that “a citizen’s right to access government-held information and data, participate in government decision-making, and have transparency in how decisions are made is central to any effective democracy.
“Right to Know Day is an opportunity for all Australians and New Zealanders to reflect on their access rights and the benefits of a more open, transparent and accountable government. It is also a reminder to government that greater access to government information and data can deliver better public services, strengthen economic outcomes and build public trust and confidence in the public sector.
“We invite you to join us in celebrating Right to Know Day on 28 September 2017.”
Accountable government and the media
The internationally marked day also coincides with Queensland’s annual Solomon Lecture, this year delivered by journalist Kerry O’Brien. The long-time 7.30 Report host will draw on the 30th anniversary of the Fitzgerald Inquiry in Queensland as an opportunity to revisit some of the lessons learnt over the past three decades around open government, including the media’s role.
A live-stream will be available from 9am.
We’re not sure if final video of the lecture will be available at the time you read this, but it will likely appear on this page. It also has video and transcripts from past lectures including from Dr Nicholas Gruen, Professor Richard Mulgan and Professor Anne Tiernan.