OpenAustralia: making politics work better for everyone


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Talk given at the Open Source Developer's Conference 2008 in Sydney on how came about what it is and why you should get involved

Published in: Technology, News & Politics
  • Australia's Parliament may start requiring Breathalyzer tests of its members when reporting to work at legislative sessions. The call for breathalyzing of Parliamentarians comes in the wake of several high profile scandals involving public officials who have behaved irresponsibly after hitting the bottle. The public response to the idea thus far has been positive, as it is rightly believed that those who are charged with helming an entire nation should not be drunk at the wheel. Similarly, we all have to soberly tackle our finances, and any temporary dry spell caused by a sudden expense has to be dealt with a reasoned look at the options of filling the gaps, such as no fax payday loans.

    Click here to read the full article yourself on the payday loan money blog at
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  • I still need to add credits for the pictures used in the talk. Bad me!
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OpenAustralia: making politics work better for everyone

  1. 1. OpenAustralia making politics work better for everyone Matthew Landauer Founder/Developer guy @matthewlandauer
  2. 2. Australia is...
  3. 3. ... a country
  4. 4. ... a democracy
  5. 5. Winston Churchill “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government...
  6. 6. Winston Churchill ...except all the others that have been tried. “
  7. 7. Winston Churchill “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. “
  8. 8. Democracy isn’t just...
  9. 9. Let’s look for a moment at the UK
  10. 10. To publish what was said in parliament was illegal
  11. 11. Proceedings of the Lower Room of the Robin Hood Society
  12. 12. From 1771 it was tolerated
  13. 13. You need to know...
  14. 14. So they do the right thing
  15. 15. we So they do the right thing
  16. 16. Who is behind this?
  17. 17. A small bunch of technology geeks • Matthew Landauer • Katherine Szuminska • Nathanael Boehm
  18. 18. We’re doing this in our spare time
  19. 19. Non partisan
  20. 20. In process of setting up non-profit
  21. 21. Always looking for volunteers
  22. 22. Contributions • Daniel Kinsman • Matthew Panetta • Bruno Mattarollo • Khan (Keith) • Alan Liu
  23. 23. Hosting • Andrew Snow • Octopus Computing
  24. 24. Built on the work of mySociety • Richard Allan • Stefan Magdalinski • Martin Belam • Dorian McFarland • James Crabtree • Anno Mitchell • James Cronin • Danny O'Brien • Stephen Dunn • Etienne Pollard • Yoz Grahame • Sam Smith • Phil Gyford • Matthew Somerville • David Heath • Tom Steinberg • Francis Irving • Stuart Tily • Ben Laurie • Julian Todd • Mark Longair • Denise Wilton • Tom Loosemore
  25. 25. How it all works
  26. 26. 3 parts
  27. 27. Parser / Scraper
  28. 28. XML
  29. 29. Web Application
  30. 30. Parser / Scraper • Ruby • Mechanize - follow links with sessions • Hpricot - HTML/XML parsing • RelaxNG - xml schema language
  31. 31. Web Application • php - majority • Python - database loading scripts • Perl - support scripts • MySQL • Apache
  32. 32. <?xml version=quot;1.0quot;?> <hansard xsi:noNamespaceSchemaLocation=quot;../../hansard.xsdquot; version=quot;2.1quot; xmlns:xsi=quot;http://;> <session.header> <date>2008-11-12</date> <>42</> <>1</> <>3</> <chamber>REPS</chamber> <>0</> <proof>1</proof> </session.header> <chamber.xscript> <business.start> <day.start>2008-11-12</day.start> <separator /> <para> <inline font-weight=quot;boldquot;>The SPEAKER (Mr Harry Jenkins)</inline>took the chair at 9 am and read prayers.</para> </business.start> <debate> <debateinfo> <title>BUSINESS</title> <>1</> <type>Business</type> </debateinfo> <subdebate.1> <subdebateinfo> <title>Consideration of Private Members´ Business</title> <>1</> </subdebateinfo> <subdebate.2> <subdebateinfo> <title>Report</title>
  33. 33. <motion> <para>That this bill be now read a second time.</para> </motion> <speech> <talk.start> <talker> <>3</> <time.stamp>09:05:00</time.stamp> <name role=quot;metadataquot;>Bishop, Julie, MP</name> <>83P</> <electorate>Curtin</electorate> <party>LP</party> <>0</> <first.speech>0</first.speech> <name role=quot;displayquot;>Ms JULIE BISHOP</name> </talker> <para>In considering the bills comprising this stimulus package presented by the government of some $10.4 billion, the <inline ref=quot;R4001quot;>Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Economic Security Strategy) Bill 2008</inline>and cognate bills, it is necessary to put them in the context of the global financial crisis which has been unfolding around the world for at least the last 12 months. Some have suggested that the global financial crisis has been caused by extreme capitalism-whatever that means-or corporate greed, but that is far too simplistic an analysis of the cause of the global financial crisis. It has come about because of a number of failures, policy failure, regulatory failure and management failure, and the combination has created what one could describe as a perfect storm which has led to a crisis in confidence and a situation where banks have become reluctant to lend to each other-in fact, banks do not trust each other-so the whole flow of credit throughout economies has been frozen.</para> </talk.start> <para>As we all know, this began with the subprime crisis in the United States. This was a result of some policy decisions. Firstly, money was easy to obtain. Between 2000 and 2003 interest rates in the United States fell from 6.5 per cent to one per cent. Secondly, there were the policies from successive United States administrations for homeownership, particularly among the poorer demographics. When you combined this cheap and easy money with this push to ensure that more people got loans for homeownership the result was that many people whose creditworthiness
  34. 34. <?xml version=quot;1.0quot; encoding=quot;UTF-8quot;?> <publicwhip> <major-heading id=quot;; url=quot; parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id:chamber/hansardr/2008-10-23/0000quot;> BUSINESS </major-heading> <minor-heading id=quot;; url=quot; parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id:chamber/hansardr/2008-10-23/0000quot;> Days and Hours of Meeting </minor-heading> <speech id=quot;; speakerid=quot;; speakername=quot;Anthony Norman Albanesequot; time=quot;09:00:00quot; url=quot; display/display.w3p;query=Id:chamber/hansardr/2008-10-23/0000quot;> <p>I present a chart showing the program of sittings for 2009. Copies of the program have been placed on the table. I ask leave of the House to move that the program be agreed to.</p> <p>Leave granted.</p> <p>I move:</p> <p class=quot;italicquot;>That the program of sittings for 2009 be agreed to.</p> </speech> <speech id=quot;; speakerid=quot;; speakername=quot;Christopher Maurice Pynequot; time=quot;09:01:00quot; url=quot; search/display/display.w3p;query=Id:chamber/hansardr/2008-10-23/0000quot;> <p>I will not speak for long, but I think there are some points that need to be made about this program of sittings for 2009, which comes on the heels of the program for 2008. The incompetent leader of government business in the House has yet again managed to restrict the number of weeks of sitting to 18 for 2009, on my understanding for this year and 18 for next year. I have been in this House much longer than most of the people in the House, and I can tell you that most of the time that I have been in this House the normal sitting period has been 20, 21 or 22 weeks of the year.</p> <p>This is a government which prided itself at one stage on having openness, transparency, scrutiny and accountability. The government even got the poor Governor-General in his address at the opening of the parliament to give a speech about accountability and openness and a new era of transparency; yet in 2008 it managed to limit itself to 18 weeks of sittings and in 2009 will manage to limit itself to 18 weeks of sitting. It is not an open, transparent and accountable government; it is far from it. The people of Australia expect us to serve our electorates and legislate, not to spend 18 weeks here when we should be spending 20 or 21 or 22 weeks. This is especially the case with a new
  35. 35. <?xml version=quot;1.0quot; encoding=quot;UTF-8quot;?> <publicwhip> <major-heading>BUSINESS</major-heading> <minor-heading>Days and Hours of Meeting</minor-heading> <speech speakerid=quot;; time=quot;09:00:00quot;> </speech> <speech speakerid=quot;; time=quot;09:01:00quot;> </speech> <speech speakerid=quot;; time=quot;09:06:00quot;> </speech> <speech speakerid=quot;; time=quot;09:06:00quot;> </speech> </publicwhip>
  36. 36. All around the world...
  37. 37. Albania, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Kenya, Lithuania, Malaysia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Romania, United Kingdom, USA
  38. 38. The future
  39. 39. So many possibilities
  40. 40. Register of Members’ interests
  41. 41. Voting
  42. 42. Committees
  43. 43. Bills
  44. 44. States
  45. 45. Video
  46. 46. Think about the possibilities • Follow a bill • See amendments • See it move from between Houses • Watch the votes • Give feedback to your representative • See what other people think
  47. 47. Getting involved • The software - it’s open source, you know. • • email
  48. 48. Or start something new!
  49. 49. OpenAustralia @matthewlandauer