The Register of Members' Interests is not available online

As you may know, the Register of Members’ Interests says who or what organisations are paying what to members of the House of Representatives. This is a really important document that explains who is financially influencing your Representatives.

For this reason, we obviously want to include this information in OpenAustralia.

This is what happened when we tried to track it down:

From: kat
Sent: Tuesday, 20 May 2008 5:51 PM
To: Wright, Bernard (REPS); Elder, David (REPS)
Cc: Matthew Landauer
Subject: Register of Members’ Interests online location?

I’m looking to find the Register of Members’ Interests  online.  My initial searches have come up blank.  Please can you let me know if this information is currently available and where I might access it?
Can you then also confirm if the information constitutes part of the Parliamentary Hansard?
Many thanks, Kat Szuminska

This is the reply we received:
From: “Wright, Bernard (REPS)”
Date: 21 May 2008 9:20:37 AM
To: “kat”
Cc: “Brennan, Laraine (REPS)”, “Elder, David (REPS)”
Subject: RE: Register of Members’ Interests online location?
Dear Kat
The register is not available on line. It consiste of a set of binders with hard copies of declarations of interests made by members, and is updated on a continual basis as members notify alterations to their interests. The full register is kept in Parliament House, and is available for inspection – tel 62774224.
It is not clear where you live – – if you are away from Canberra and would like to have alook at the sort of declarations made we would be happy to send you a sample volume.
This material should not be thought of as part of the Hansard record.
Yours sincerely
Bernard Wright

Does something about this remind you of a scene from Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy?

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  1. Posted May 21, 2008 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Looks like we’ll be marching in there with a scanner and good OCR software :-)

  2. Posted May 21, 2008 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    I could just see them using copyright to prevent this being placed online by a third-party.

    An alternative would be to get a tame MP to read it into the parliamentary record through some procedural device. Then it’s in hansard ;) Perhaps the MP could call it “The Beware of the Leopard Act 2008”.

  3. Posted June 22, 2008 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    This is a shocker! Even the South Australian Parliament has their Register online. Scanning is definitely in order and, if the handwriting is too bad for OCR, perhaps we should crowdsource is and get OpenAustralia users to transcribe a few pages each! I’d volunteer for that and it may make for interesting (scary?) reading.

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