Open Government Partnership – Australia

Announcing the members of the Interim Working Group for Australia’s OGP National Action Plan

30th August 2016

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is pleased to announce the members of the Interim Working Group for Australia’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan. The Group is comprised of six government and six non-government members, keeping with the collaborative spirit of the OGP.

The civil society representatives were selected from an extremely competitive field, reflecting the deep level of ongoing public engagement with Australia’s process to join the OGP. They bring a wide breadth of experience across a range of fields relevant to open government, and represent a diverse range of interests and sectors.

Meet the civil society representatives:

  • Ms Fiona McLeod SC (co-chair): Fiona is the President-elect of the Law Council of Australia and has also previously served as the President of the Australian Bar Association, as Chair of the Victorian Bar, and as a member of the Law Council Executive Board. Fiona brings considerable leadership experience to her role as co-chair, and substantial experience working with government, corporate and non-government sectors. The Law Council engages closely in parliamentary and public sector reform processes related to transparency and strengthening the integrity of public offices.
  • The Hon. Dr Ken Coghill: Ken is an Associate Professor at Monash University with research and teaching interests in government accountability and governance. He is also a former Member of Parliament in Victoria, and Deputy Chair and Treasurer of the Accountability Round Table, which advocates for transparency as a key factor of accountability. Ken has written extensively on Commonwealth, State and Territory government accountability and parliamentary reforms.
  • Mr Mark Zirnsak: Mark is the Director of the Social Justice Unit of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting Church in Australia. In this role, he has advocated for transparency, accountability and open government, including through his involvement in Publish What You Pay Australia, Transparency International Australia and as a member of the Secretariat for the Tax Justice Network in Australia.
  • Ms Maree Adshead: Maree is the CEO of the Open Data Institute Queensland, a node of the international Open Data Institute. She has held a number of industry representative roles, including as past Chair of the Technology Council of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland, and past Chair of the Australian Information Industry Association Queensland. ODI Queensland promotes the release of public data to increase accountability, improve efficiencies, and to drive technological innovation.
  • Mr Peter Timmins: Peter is the Interim Convener of the OGP Civil Society Network, a coalition of civil society organisations and individuals committed to making government work better through transparency, participation and accountability. He also has considerable experience engaging with freedom of information and privacy laws, including as a member of the Australian Law Reform Commission Advisory Committee for the Inquiry into Secrecy Laws and Open Government in Australia, and the NSW Information and Privacy Advisory Committee.
  • Ms Katherine Szuminska: Kat is the Co-Founder and Director of the OpenAustralia Foundation and also sits on the Steering Committee of the OGP Civil Society Network. The OpenAustralia Foundation uses technologies and tools to encourage public participation in the political process, and to advocate for more transparency and accountability in government. Kat has a strong knowledge of the OGP, having been involved in various international OGP events.

Meet the government representatives:

  • Dr Steven Kennedy (co-chair): Deputy Secretary, Innovation & Transformation, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
  • Dr Stein Helgeby: Deputy Secretary, Governance & APS Transformation, Department of Finance.
  • Mr Iain Anderson: Deputy Secretary, Civil Justice and Corporate Group, Attorney-General’s Department.
  • Ms Meghan Quinn: Division Head, Financial System Division, The Treasury
  • Mr Timothy Pilgrim: Australian Privacy Commissioner and Acting Australian Information Commissioner.
  • Ms Anne Lyons: Assistant Director-General, Government Information Assurance & Policy, National Archives of Australia.

The NSW Information Commissioner, Ms Elizabeth Tydd will also be a non-voting jurisdictional member, reflecting the Commonwealth’s desire to build stronger relationships with the states on open government matters.

Thank you once again to everyone who submitted an expression of interest. The Interim Working Group will be continuing to engage with all interested stakeholders as they work to co-draft Australia’s first National Action Plan. We invite you to sign up to the mailing list for updates, and stay tuned to this blog for meeting agendas, meeting minutes and other details of the Interim Working Group’s progress.

Selection process

The submission period closed at 5pm AEST on 24 August 2016 and PM&C received around 40 expressions of interest for the civil society positions on the Interim Working Group. In parallel, PM&C invited senior executives from key agencies to represent the Government on the Interim Working Group.

PM&C assessed all submissions received according to the criteria in the call for expressions of interest. Candidates were shortlisted and ranked by suitability against these criteria, which included their experience and expertise in open government and open data, and their experience in engaging with stakeholders and/or government.

We strived for a diversity of civil society representatives, and the applicants were assessed with regards to breadth and diversity against a number of factors (e.g. demographics, geographical region, access to a variety of sectors and indusry, engagement on OGP issues, and relevant skills). The selected civil society representatives provide a good mix of experience across the spectrum of open government issues, and bring a wide variety of backgrounds and skillsets.

The OGP project team contacted all applicants with the outcome of their expression of interest on 29 August 2016. All applicants are welcome to contact OGP@pmc.gov.au for feedback on their application.

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