Balneus

Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

A glimmer of hope – help if you can

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-05-19


There is some encouraging feedback I received, within 24 hours (and only 3 working hours), from a public servant at egov.vic.gov.au, which has the task of improving "citizen access and transformation" to/of government.  My letter and the response are detailed over the fold.

My note to webmaster@egov.vic.gov.au was prompted by trying to search for an easy way of discovering what (if any) government consultations are happening in Victoria, and what reports from those consultations have been published recently.

My email was to encourage a small step to improve the transparency of the Victorian government, which, since the rise of Kennett, has grown increasingly opaque and prone to awarding contracts for projects with almost no scrutiny of the rationale for the project, with "consultation", if they occur at all, essentially a public relations exercise after decisions have been taken.

Subject: RSS feeds for parliamentary inquiries??
 
Dear Sir/Madam,
I was looking at your list of RSS feeds at http://www.egov.vic.gov.au/index.php?env=-innews/detail:m951-1-1-8-s:n-1093-1-0&n_event=.
nbsp;
I believe it would be useful to add (and if necessary, create)
consolidated RSS feeds from Victorian Parliamentary Committees (http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/committees/), similar to those found on http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/rss/index.htm and http://www.aph.gov.au/rss.htm (specifically http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/rss/new_inquiries.xml, http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/rss/reports.xml and http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/rss/upcoming_hearings.xml).
nbsp;
I’ve tried quite hard to find such feeds, believe them relevant to both the parliament.vic.gov.au and the egov.vic.gov.au site (which is, after all, has "citizen access and transformation" in the banner of webpages!).
 
Can you help?
Regards
David T. Bath

The response was as follows, and suggests that public servants are trying harder than (or even in spite of) the politicians to do the right thing.

Hello David,
Thank you for your email.
I will discuss your suggestion with my colleagues and will let you know what we can/will do
We are currently developing RSS feeds for the main Victorian Government portal – Victoria Online, so your suggestion is very timely.
Thanks again,
Regards
(Name snipped)
Manager eGovernment Research,
Victorian Government Domain Administrator,
eServices Unit,
Citizen Access and Transformation,
Department of Innovation,
Industry and Regional Development

The response suggests that now is a good time to encourage some of the efforts of some decent public servants.  I’d recommend that any of you interested in governance in Victoria write a similar note to egov.vic.gov.au, and perhaps include a request that covers departmental inquiries, not just those of the parliament.

Of course, if you are not in Victoria, you can always do something similar if your own state is equally obscurantist.


Cross-posted at The Wonkery.

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