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Trust

(This is a new discussion starter, added 14 March 2018.)

Our society works best if people trust each other and if citizens trust government and public officials and institutions. Trust is associated with fairer societies and stronger economies. But we know that trust - in government, and also in business, the media and non-government organisations - has been on the decline globally.

Opening up government may contribute to rebuilding trust and this can be influenced by how all institutions engage with the public. People are generally more able to trust what they can see and understand, and what they can influence.

So how can we open government help reverse this decline in public trust?

What would help build your trust in government and institutions?

Further reading

Discussion questions

  • What effective, relevant, and ambitious ideas related to this theme should the government consider?

 

To participate, you’ll need to register for an account. You’ll then be able to respond to the questions under each of the proposed themes, leave a general comment or respond to those of other participants, and vote on comments.

We expect your comments to be respectful and relevant. As comments are moderated, they won’t appear until they’ve been approved. If, after submission, you do not receive a notification stating that your comment has been queued for review, your submission has not been successfully transmitted to us. In this case, please email your submission to ogp@pmc.gov.au and we will publish it on your behalf. Comments will close 30 March.

If you wish to make a longer submission, you can email us at ogp@pmc.gov.au. We’ll publish all submissions we receive.

The outputs from this and the face-to-face consultations will be made available to the Open Government Forum. At its meeting in April, the Forum will be asked to assess those ideas with substantial support, and make recommendations to government on prospective themes and commitments. When government releases its draft National Action Plan for public comments in June, it will also provide a response to ideas.

 

Submissions and comments received via email

Open Government...

The Canberra consultations were held on 14 March and were attended by 11 participants from both civil society and government. Participants noted that ideas relating to trust were captured in ideas relating to the  other themes.

trust

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Open Government...

The Perth consultations were held on 16 March and were attended by 9 participants from civil society. Key ideas that emerged from discussions relating to trust included:

  • the desirability of ensuring that consultations with citizens are comprehensive and ongoing, descriptively representative, deliberative, and influential, so as to give communities a sense of ownership of their own issues and solutions.
  • the desirability of instituting a high-profile public participation process to build momentum and demonstrate the effectiveness of such a process.
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Open Government...

The Melbourne consultations were held on 20 March and were attended by 18 participants from civil society. Key ideas that emerged from discussions relating to trust included:

  • the desire for an express articulation of the guiding principles and objectives for the Open Government Partnership (OGP), based on public trust principles and OGP commitments.

 

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Open Government...

The Sydney consultations were held on 21 March and were attended by 16 participants from civil society. Key ideas that emerged from discussions relating to trust included:

  • greater engagement of state and territory governments 
  • development of an open government barometer / benchmarks to assist assessment of a jurisdiction’s openness 

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Open Government...

The Brisbane consultations were held on 23 March and were attended by 10 participants from civil society. Key ideas that emerged from discussions relating to trust included:

  • building trust by first entrusting the community, providing them with greater information about public agencies, and ensuring those in positions of power abide by the same conditions as everyone else
  • the importance of building information literacy amongst decision-makers
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Mark Phillips

One point raised in Melbourne consultation group was for there to be a clear statement by the government in to the guiding principals of the Open Government Participation principles and objectives. Further it was suggested by the Brisbane group

“providing them (the public) with greater information about public agencies, and ensuring those in positions of power abide by the same conditions as everyone else”

Trust and transparency in government decisions does seem to be perceived as lacking, hence the strong mention of introducing an anti corruption body. The perception of vested interests, whether personal or business, having a hold on decision making does seem to be prevalent. What seems to be lacking is the Aussie concept of “fair go”.

The Perth consultation group mentioned a need for “high-profile public participation”. I take this as the profile of public participation should be high not necessarily high profile individuals. Public/ community participation in projects is one process that open source communities excel in. Yes, there are issues in this sort of open community approach but those issues are either overcome or at least mitigated by a gatekeeper. In this case I would expect the government to be a gatekeeper as well as a participant. Public participation in decision making making and policy direction would then give a strong feeling of public ownership of the resulting decisions and thus greater trust in the government.

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