Open Gov Week: tune in to catch up on progress towards open government

By Mel Flanagan

Thursday May 10, 2018

Open Government is a growing global movement. It’s global Open Gov Week (May 7-11 ), and we think this is cause for celebration and the perfect time to ramp up the discussion.

Many Australians aren’t aware that Australia in fact has open government initiatives at federal and state levels.

If we are to make open government a success and embed it into our culture, we all need to work together. The first step is to raise awareness, spread the word. The second, is to get more people and organisations involved.

Australia is already a participant in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) following Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s confirmation of the nation’s commitment in 2015.

The OGP is an international initiative that provides a platform for people inside and outside governments around the world to develop reforms that “promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance”. Since its foundation in September 2011, over 70 participating countries have made over 2500 commitments.

Australia’s first National Action Plan was developed in 2016 and the 15 commitments are currently at various stages of implementation. Our second National Action Plan is currently in development.

To celebrate Open Gov Week, we are holding a webinar tomorrow, Friday May 11, from 11am to 12pm AEST.

If you are interested in knowing where things are up to, you can get involved in a conversation with supporters of Australia’s Open Government Partnership.

We’ll be discussing Australia’s OGP commitment progress from the civil society perspective, hear from the author of the independent report on Australia’s performance, and find out more about the public participation commitment from the Department of Industry, Science and Innovation. Contributors include:

Peter Timmins, interim convener of the Australian Open Government Partnership Network and leading Freedom of Information (FOI) authority, will bring us up to date on Australia’s open government initiative. In 2017 the Australian Press Council awarded Peter a Press Freedom Medal for his advocacy for the open government cause.

Daniel Stewart, Senior Lecturer at Australian National University and author of the independent mid-term report commissioned by the Open Government Partnership will provide his summary of Australia’s progress on the commitments in the first national action plan. His report and comments by the Network Steering committee can be accessed at: View the OGP Independent Mid-term Report.

Damian Carmichael from the Department of Industry, Science and Innovation will update us on their experience so far with developing a framework for public participation in the Australian Public Service, a commitment in the 2016-2018 plan.

Mel Flanagan from Nook Studios, a Sydney based company of designers and makers of open government content and services, will facilitate the conversation.

A Q&A will follow the discussion. We welcome you to post your questions for the panel before or throughout the webinar. During the Q&A you can get involved in the conversation by:

  1. Posting questions on the chatroom in the webinar
  2. Messaging on Twitter@opengovau. Please include the hashtag #OpenGovWeek to contribute to the conversation.
  3. Email questions to

If you are unable to make it but would like to get involved, you can sign up for updates in two places:

For people in Sydney, we are holding a social gathering tomorrow, Friday May 11, from 5pm-9.30pm at the Dove and Olive in Surry Hills.

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