The Federal Government has invited "continued engagement" in response to online criticism of its Open Government promises and mandatory internet filtering proposal.
Last Friday, outgoing Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner made a 'Declaration of Open Government', in accordance with recommendations provided by the Gov2.0 Taskforce in December.
"[The Government] is committed to open government based on a culture of engagement, built on better access to and use of government held information, and sustained by the innovative use of technology," it declared.
"Collaboration with citizens is to be enabled and encouraged. Agencies are to reduce barriers to online engagement, undertake social networking, crowd sourcing and online collaboration projects and support online engagement by employees, in accordance with the Australian Public Service Commission Guidelines."
Tanner's invitation to engage was followed by 71 comments on his AGIMO blog entry, before the comments were closed for the election period yesterday afternoon.
Many posters welcomed the declaration, but some took issue with the promise of openness while the Government planned to introduce a mandatory, ISP-level internet filter.
One commenter, Gail Tuft, asked: "How can the Gillard government declare Open Government as a commitment when the same government is playing hardball on a mandatory secret censorship system?"
"You can't have both," Tuft wrote. "You are either open and treating Australian adults as adults in the modern world or you are censoring and treating Australian adults as though they are children."
Others, posting under the names Chris, Kanook, Luke P and Greg Khun, suggested that the declaration was "hollow" and a "statement without substance".
"I'd like Labor to be open about your precious internet filter, ACTA, NBN discussions, the constant piling on of matters into the 'Refused Classification' category..." Luke P wrote.
Addressing the criticism, a spokesman for the Department of Finance and Deregulation told iTnews: "As stated in the Declaration, the Government welcomes open discussion and continued engagement."
The declaration is accessible from the Department's website.
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