Australian Open Government

Australian Open Government Partnership Civil Society Network

The Australian Open Government Network

The Australian Open Government Civil Society Network is a coalition of civil society organisations and individuals committed to making government work better for people through transparency, participation and accountability. The network collaborates with and challenges governments in Australia to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms through Australia’s membership of the Open Government Partnership.

The Australian Open Government Network was formed in December 2015 after the Australian government reaffirming its commitment to join the OGP.

There are over 80 members in the network (mid March 2017)

In addition to individual members,organisations represented include Transparency International Australia, Accountability Roundtable, Electronic Frontiers Australia, Australian Privacy Foundation, Australian Press Council, Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, International Association for Public Participation, Open Knowledge Foundation Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting Church in Australia and Publish What You Pay Australia.

The Network is coordinated independently of government and has a steering group,is convened by Peter Timmins.

The Steering Group for 2017

Dr Ken Coghill (Chair)  (Accountability Roundtable)

Dr Nicholas Gruen (Open Knowledge Foundation Australian Chapter)

Dr Moira Paterson (Individual member) Professor, Monash University Faculty of Law

Professor Matthew Ricketson (Individual member) Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance representative on Australian Press Council (both members of the Network)

Beth Slatyer (Co-Convenor,  Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy)

Kat Szuminska (OpenAustralia Foundation) Cofounder and board member of OpenAustralia Foundation

Greg Thompson (Transparency International Australia) Board member of Transparency International Australia (since 1995), Australian Volunteers International (since 2008), Anglican Board of Mission(since 2015).

Mark Zirnsak (Justice Mission, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting Church in Australia)

Director of the Social Justice Unit of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania,

Uniting Church in Australia since 2005. This includes active membership of Transparency International Australia and Publish What You Pay Australia.


The group was founded by:

View our Terms of reference to learn more about how we work.

Open Government

Open government is the simple but powerful idea that governments and institutions work better for citizens when they are transparent, engaging and accountable.

Open government has three parts:

  1. Transparency – opening up of government data and information on areas such as public spending, government contracts, lobbying activity, the development and impact of policy, and public service performance.
  2. Participation – support for a strong and independent civil society, the involvement of citizens and other stakeholders in decision making processes, and protection for whistleblowers and others who highlight waste, negligence or corruption in government.
  3. Accountability – rules, laws and mechanisms that ensure government listens, learns, responds and changes when it needs to.

Good open government reforms can transform the way government and public services work, ensuring that they are properly responsive to citizens, while improving their efficiency and effectiveness, and preventing abuses of state power.

The Open Government Partnership

OGP logoThe Open Government Partnership is an international initiative that provides a platform for reformers 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 2,000 commitments have been made by 65 participating countries, covering a third of the world’s population.

Countries must meet a set of basic eligibility criteria and agree to an Open Government Declaration to join. Once a member, governments must develop a National Action Plan with civil society in their country on a biennial basis. The government must regularly report on its progress and work with civil society to achieve the agreed reforms. Progress is evaluated at regular intervals by an independent researcher appointed by the OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism. The OGP emphasises partnership between government and civil society at all levels. Its steering committee is formed of equal government and civil society representatives, with co-chairs drawn from each.

Malcolm Turnbull committed the Australian government to fulfilling our OGP member in November 2015. You can find official resources and announcements from the Australian government at its Open Government Partnership – Australia website. This includes the framework and schedule for government and civil society to create Australia’s first OGP National Action Plan by July 2016.

This website

This website helps the Network create ambitious OGP action plan commitments that address key challenges we face in Australia.

It does this by:

  1. being a workspace for network members to develop and present ambitious action plan commitments
  2. helping people learn about, join and coordinate working groups
  3. attracting and enabling a diverse set of people to join the Network

The OpenAustralia Foundation built it on WordPress and hosts it on behalf of the Australian Open Government Partnership Network.

Big thanks to the UK Open Government Network and Helpful Technology for their extra help in creating this site. The WordPress theme we’re using is adapted from their open source theme and they kindly passed on some additional bits to help get it set up.

If you find an error or bug, or would like to make a suggestion, please contribute it to our GitHub Issues list.