Kevin Rudd’s open government policy was undertaken by the Whitlam government and I edited the journal and wrote for it

Kevin Rudd’s open government suggestion from the smarties’ conference is way in the shade compared with the open government magazine Shelter that I and journalist David Halpin produced for the Whitlam government in 1973. Shelter magazine had articles criticising the Department of Housing and the government on housing and environment policies. The lead article in the first edition was by Professor Henderson’s team on the poverty commission and outlined just how badly housing was going.

Following the example of Shelter the Aboriginal Affairs department also launched theirs but the bureaucrats carefully manipulated that. However it took six months for the department of Housing to kill Shelter’s openess. The problem with open government is that bureaucrats are secretive by nature, and response.

It was very simple to have Shelter agreed to. David and I discovered that the new minister and the old department head weren’t speaking to each other. Pushing the boundaries a little David told his minister that the department head wanted an open government journal and I told the department head that the minister wanted an open government policy. What a beautiful little operation and it revealed the total hypocrisy of the bureaucrats.

It was an amazing succes. The journal had a circulation of ten thousand.I still have copies of the letters requesting it for libraries, builders, architects and all the building industry media and unions. It was an unheard of circulation for a minor department’s publication..

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