Aussie Group Launches Alternative Access Site

4 March 2011

Frustrated by a government agency’s unwillingness to post public comments online, an Australian group has launched a website to archive such comments: http://opendecisions.net/opendecisions/

“Normal practice for government departments seeking feedback on policy changes is to publish all submissions received on the web,” explains the website. The founders were irked that the Attorney General’s office decied nto follow this norm for responses regarding the proposed model drug schedules for Commonwealth serious drug offences.

“This website will track this issue, while providing an open and public repository of submissions related to this issue,” the website explains. “It is our hope that a comprehensive record of responses will assist in evaluating the outcomes of the consultation process.”

A founder, Vince Polito, explained further: “Our plan is to make FOI requests for interim documents that summarise the submissions, to ensure there is no bias in the translation from individual submissions to summarised report. Our hope is that with such forced transparency, the government will be able to be held accountable if the decisions made do not reflect the evidence and weight of submissions.

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