Steve davies's Blog Posts Tagged 'transparency' (19)

Carving out Freedom of Information is not good government

Yesterday, 12 April 2016 was the International Day of Human Space Flight

April 12, 1961, was the date of the first human space flight, carried out by Yuri Gagarin. This historic event opened the way for space exploration. In 2011 the UN declared April 12 as the “International Day of Human Space Flight” to remember the first human space flight and to promote the exploration and use…


Added by steve davies on April 13, 2016 at 12:00pm — 2 Comments

The Lords of Secrecy and Australia's Surveillance State

I recently purchased Scott Horton's book Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America's Stealth Warfare. The book shows how the growth in the power of bureaucrats has undermines democracy. The major tactic being the misuse of secrecy and the amplification of fear through the exaggeration of threat.

These tactics have been employed by most democratic governments and are a threat to both democracy and good governance. Australia is no exception to this and most…


Added by steve davies on July 27, 2015 at 12:00pm — No Comments


The Australian Public Service's obsession with reputation and winning at all costs is well known. That obsession is also a source of abuses of administrative, legal and medico-legal power.

So it was with some interest I have been reading the Australian Public Service Commission's latest missive, Handling misconduct: a human…


Added by steve davies on June 15, 2015 at 10:00am — No Comments

Truth and Understanding - Time to reclaim government

During 2013 and 2014 we saw the Australian Public Service retreating from open government at a spectacular rate. In particular, the public service put great effort into creating a climate of fear to ensure that public servants self-censor and that any discussion or disclosures concerning the health and actions of the public service were stifled.

The Australian Public Service Commission took the lead on this. They even threw up a wall of silence on the issue of the monitoring…


Added by steve davies on January 28, 2015 at 11:30am — 45 Comments

APS silence is not golden

On 6 October Michaela Banerji - the public servant unjustifiably hounded out of her job for posting anonymously as a private citizen - sent a submission to the Australian Public Service Commission to assist them with their work concerning the disclosure of the outcomes of misconduct complaints.

Michaela prefaced her submission with the following points:

  • The commission cited a recent case where the Immigration Department was found to have hidden behind…

Added by steve davies on October 9, 2014 at 10:10am — No Comments

APS Misconduct - Putting the public first

18 September 2014 The Canberra Times says Australian Pubic Service bosses told to open up on complaints. In his piece Canberra Times reporter Noel Towell writes,

In a discussion paper about what information should be provided to complainants, Merit Protection Commissioner Karin Fisher says departments "err on…


Added by steve davies on September 30, 2014 at 2:00pm — 4 Comments

Media Briefing - Australia's silent state

For some months I have been working with a group of very courageous and community minded people examining matters that go to the heart of what is wrong with the Australian Public Service. Indeed, of systemic practices involving breaking the law, breaching the public service code of conduct and, arguably, breaches of the Criminal Code Act 1995.

What is striking is that no matter what incidents we look at the pattern is the same. What we have is very ugly picture of the culture…


Added by steve davies on March 15, 2014 at 8:41am — 15 Comments

Australian Public Service games FOI to hide surveillance

22 November 2013

We obtained information indicating that public service agencies are purchasing software and services to monitor social media activity. What is being said and who is saying it.


Australia: One nation under surveillance raises reasonable suspicions that Australian…


Added by steve davies on February 6, 2014 at 11:14am — No Comments

Is the Australian Public Service Commission hiding monitoring and surveillance?

Last month I wrote an extensive  piece entitled Australia: One nation under surveillance. In this post I outlined the role of Australia Public Service agencies in monitoring and surveillance. Logical argument was put and evidence provided.

On 26 November 2013 I lodged a Freedom of information request with the Australian Public Service Commission. In that request I pointed…


Added by steve davies on December 2, 2013 at 8:30am — 6 Comments

Do we need a Public Service Defence League?

It is no secret that I'm critical of the Australian Public Service. Unlike some, my criticism is based on my knowledge of the service, numerous conversations and solid research and analysis.

The foundation of much of my criticism is that Australian Public Service agencies need to be more transparent, more accountable, less bureaucratic and, with that, have stronger focus on justice - for both citizens and employees.

From a cultural perspective the public service…


Added by steve davies on September 9, 2013 at 12:30pm — 9 Comments

Royal Commission into Systemic Corruption within the Australian Public Service

Yesterday I received an email from Brendan Jones of Victims of DSTO concerning systemic corruption within the Australian Public Service. This has been a long time coming and Brendan is to be applauded for the public service he is doing by disclosing these matters.

I spent much of the evening pouring over the files Brendan sent me. What they show are patterns of bureaucratic denial, defensiveness, buck passing and stone…


Added by steve davies on August 30, 2013 at 2:30pm — 8 Comments

The Australian Taxation Office announces social media lock down

Just under couple of years ago I had a few words to say about the Taxation Office's Corporate Management Practice Statement on digital media. The document was in draft at that stage. Yes. It was the some old game. Create fear, uncertainty and doubt to shut people up.

Recently, I was asked to provide another party with my views on the latest version. Well, all up it has taken the Taxation Office just under three years to hone the documents into a weapon to shut people…


Added by steve davies on July 15, 2013 at 3:00pm — 6 Comments

Whistleblower Protection : Government Response

I have been reading the Government Response to to Whistleblower Protection. It makes interesting reading. The Government has agreed to introduce a Public Interest Disclosure (PID) Bill this year.

The Government has agreed to many of the recommendations and they do indeed provide a starting point for the development of the PID…


Added by steve davies on May 23, 2012 at 2:00pm — No Comments

State of the Services Reports and Employee Surveys

This post is a work-in-progress. What I am starting to do is pull together State of the Service Reports for various jurisdictions. These reports are compiled by central agencies within each State/Territory jurisdiction.


The purpose of doing so is to assist people to compare the various reports and form a view on the degree of openness of each jurisdiction. These reports contain information that provides an indication of the organisational health of the public sector of each…


Added by steve davies on February 24, 2012 at 11:42am — 1 Comment

Transparency and the APS State of the Service Report

On Club Troppo is an interesting paper by Nicholas Gruen -  The David Solomon Lecture: Government 2.0 a couple of years on . . .


One aspect of the paper I find especially interesting as it has direct bearing on transparency and the performance of individual agencies is the…


Added by steve davies on October 10, 2011 at 3:00pm — 1 Comment

Open government - Is it all in the language?

The transparency and accountability initiative seems to have slipped under quite a few people's radar. I might be wrong of course, but could this be due to the language we use.

Open government, Web 2.0 and Gov 2.0. In many instances these terms are almost used interchangeably. To make matters more complex, how these terms also depends on the focus and background of whoever is doing the talking.

So, for example, if your are steeped in the language of Web 2.0 and are a… Continue

Added by steve davies on August 22, 2011 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Culture of secrecy

Interesting piece from Marcus Mannheim, Public Service reporter for the Canberra Times. Costly veil of secrecy descends over PS


And you do have to wonder how costly this is.


The first thought that ran through my mind was that statistics should be available to the public showing the number of documents classified…


Added by steve davies on May 29, 2011 at 1:44pm — No Comments

Australia's Gov 2.0 future

A great initiative from Kate Carruthers and Craig Thomler. It is fascinating how, unlike other government initiatives, Gov 2.0 has effectively become a movement. Both within and outside the public service and, indeed, among some politicians.


While this is obviously a big plus that speaks volumes of the dedication of many visionary and…


Added by steve davies on February 6, 2011 at 7:41pm — No Comments

Australia - Declaration of Open Government

On 16 July Lindsay Tanner, Minister for Finance and Deregulation issued the Declaration of Open Government on behalf of the Australian Government. A fantastic job by many people with talent, foresight, courage and passion.

Absolutely fantastic and a breath of fresh air for public servants and the community. Now the hard work begins to create a public service that is in tune,…

Added by steve davies on July 17, 2010 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

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