Register of Members’ Interests update

We’ve been in email exchange with the Registrar of Members’ Interests, Bernard Wright. He’s been very helpful but the situation with the Register of Members’ Interests falls somewhat short of ideal.

Not only, as mentioned before, is the register only kept in one office in Canberra, and not available online for everyone to see, it is not even available in electronic form.

Rather, the Register of Members’ Interests is a set of 7 binders with around 1500 A4 sheets in them, which are continually updated (by hand) throughout the course of the parliamentary term. Supposedly, many of the sheets are handwritten. Eek! What a lot of work for the Registrar, and what little gain for the public!

It does seem anachronistic that such an important public document remains so difficult for ordinary citizens to gain access to.

We’ll keep plugging away at this to ensure that this document goes online in the near future. We’re not sure how yet, but we’re working on it!

Anyone want to help? We’d love to hear from you with ideas or practical assistance :)

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3 Comments

  1. Posted June 4, 2008 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Hi Guys,

    Not sure how political Google would want to get, but if it could be spun enough / given a high enough profile, perhaps the technology behind Google Book Scanner could be used?

    The scary thing is that I’m not too surprised about this.

    Good Luck!
    ~Wade

  2. Mark McMahon
    Posted June 17, 2008 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    This is an old technique. Some years ago when I worked in the world on investigating insolvent companies, I found that the entire corporations registry for the US State of Nevada was administered similarly, except that they used index cards in a series of wooden boxes. To my mind, in today’s world, if it is government and it is not electronically searchable, then that is a clear lack of transparency and accountability. Yet, this was set up by a former Prime Minister who in his early years appointed a major coal mine owner from Queensland as Minister for Primary Industry!!

  3. Posted June 21, 2008 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Yeah I want to help. I think this is totally outrageous. I suggested on my blog tonight (gdayworld.com) that we create some awareness about this and get it changed asap. I’d be happy to help out in any way I can. Perhaps we create an online petition to have it changed?

2 Trackbacks

  • […] bad thing I read was on the OpenAustralia blog where they have been trying to get access to the Register of Members’ Interests. What’s […]

  • By OpenAustralia | Stubborn Mule on May 8, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    […] of their blog, I was fascinated by a post about the Register of Member#8217;s Interests. The Register details investments, directorships and other interests that provide important […]

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