Australia to Join OGP; Membership Up to 59

22 May 2013

Australia May 22 announced its intention to join the Open Government Partnership, bringing membership to 59.

In the recent days, the total dropped to 57 with Russia’s resignation (See previous FreedomInfo.org report) and then went up to 58 with Ireland’s decision to join (See previous FreedomInfo.org report).

Australia’s decision was announced by Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, who said,  “Australia shares the values of the Open Government Partnership and we have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with other nations in the partnership.”

Since the OGP began almost two years ago, OGP officials have wondered that Australia did not join. Australian parliamentarians, non-governmental organizations and bloggers began raising questions about Australia’s absence.

Recapping a strong of official comments in a posting hours before the announcement, Australian FOI blogger Peter Timmins wrote:

In February, Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator Carr said he supported in principle Australia joining. Membership had been proposed by Attorney General Roxon last year. Australian Information Commissioner Professor McMillan has said Australian membership is inevitable, only a matter of time.

The announcement came on the eve of the two-day Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Global Conference in Sydney.

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