Monday, January 31, 2011

Two Departments?

It has got to the point that I wonder if there are two Departments of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. The difference between the two can be seen in their approach to consultation.

The first is a secretive little empire that carries vestiges of the Department over the last twelve years where endless private deals were done between the Department and the big businesses in the sector. None was worse than the disastrous implementation of "functional separation" of Telstra, a policy that promised much and delivered sod all as the private negotiation between the Department and Telstra saw the policy emasculated.

The not so proud inheritors of this tradition seem to be all those directly involved in the NBN implementation. How else does one explain that submissions to the discussion paper on Universal Service in the NBN Environment have yet to be published on the Department website?

The due date for submissions was 5 November 2010. The discussion paper indicated submissions would be published as received;

Please note that the Department intends to publish submissions on its website.

However, the Department reserves the right not to publish any submission, or part of a submission, which in the view of the Department contains potentially defamatory material, or where it considers it appropriate to do so for confidentiality or other reasons.

Please note that some delays in publishing submissions may occur if a large number is received.

The other DBCDE has really embraced Gov 2.0. This is the part that has taken to releasing exposure drafts of Bills, and I think set a record with the draft ToR for the Convergence Review by actually publishing submissions as they were received, not just after closing date which is previous best practice.

All the world is made up of conspiracy theorists, but I'm usually not one.

But when a Department doesn't publish submissions when received it is hard to resist the conclusion that they have something to hide.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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