News 25th January 2016

Australian Open Government Partnership Foundation Meeting

by Kat

The meeting of interested parties in Sydney on 11 December 2015 resolved to establish the Australian Open Government Partnership Network.

Those attending in person or via telephone conference (not all for the entire meeting) were
David Solomon and Tim Smith (Accountability Roundtable), Greg Thompson and Alan Wolfe (Transparency International Australia), Katherine Szuminska (OpenAustralia Foundation), Avaro Maz (Code for Australia), Laurie Patton (Internet Australia), Mark Zimsak (Synod of Victoria and Tasmania Uniting Church of Australia), Jessie Cato (Publish What You Pay), Bruce Francis  (Oxfam), Dr Johan Lidberg, Bruce Baer Arnold, Rosie Williams, Craig Thomler, Leanne O’Donnell (Blueprint for Free Speech) and Peter Timmins.

The network is a coalition of individuals and organisations formed to engage with government and others on issues arising from Australian membership of the OGP.

The network will provide a forum for the exchange of information and ideas on areas for reform during development of the national action plan, seek to ensure the plan is developed in the true spirit of partnership, work to assist government in the determination of priorities for consideration and monitor actions taken to deliver on those commitments.

The network’s foundation statement are these terms of reference that set out agreed rules and procedures for the operation of the network.

This document will be reviewed after July 2016 following completion of Australia’s first national action plan and an election of steering committee members will take place thereafter.

The meeting discussed possible names for the network including whether “Civil Society” and an advocacy role should be incorporated in the name but decided on Australian Open Government Partnership Network.

The meeting considered whether there was a need for a co-chair arrangement. It was decided that open data and other interests could be reflected satisfactorily through membership of the steering committee.

Members of the interim Steering Committee to guide the operation of the network through this initial period, subject to acceptance by those not present are

representing organisations:

Dr David Solomon (Accountability Roundtable), Chair,
Greg Thompson (Transparency International Australia) Mr Thompson indicated he will be replaced in early 2016 by Phil Newman, who will take up the position of Executive Director TIA.
Nominee subsequently confirmed Kat Szuminska (OpenAustralia Foundation)
Dr Nicholas Gruen (Open Knowledge Australia)
Leanne O’Donnell (Blueprint for Free Speech)
Jon Lawrence (Electronic Frontiers Australia)


Dr Johan Lidberg, School of Journalism Monash University
Craig Thomler, Social Media Planner, Digital Specialist, Gov 2.0 Advocate

The Steering Committee may select a person to bring the number of committee members to nine and fill any vacancy that occurs at its discretion.

Peter Timmins is interim Convener until the review and election scheduled in 2016.

Priorities for the network are to encourage participation in the soon to commence consultations on the national action plan, to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas about issues for consideration for inclusion, to advocate that the consultation process and decisions concerning the plan reflect the true spirit of partnership through a more formal government-civil society mechanism.

TI Australia will explore the possibility of a small grant. David Solomon will raise the issue of funding with Griffith and other universities. Steps will be taken to ascertain if government funds might be available to assist establishment of the network.

The network will respond to the invitation and funding from the OGP Support Unit to facilitate attendance by an Australian to attend a CSO Leaders Workshop in The Hague in January 2015  by nominating Katherine Szuminska should she be the Open Australia Foundation nominee to the Steering Committee and in a position to attend. (Subsequently confirmed.)

Peter Timmins