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Australia's Open Government Forum

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Australia's Open Government Forum

Australia’s Open Government Forum (the forum) is made up of government and civil society representatives. The forum’s key purposes include:

  • driving development of Australia’s third Open Government National Action Plan
  • overseeing the co-creation process and monitoring open government reforms under that National Action Plan
  • raising awareness about open government.

The forum has equal representation from the government and civil society and establishes a space for ongoing dialogue and collaboration between the government, civil society and other non-governmental stakeholders, consistent with the Open Government Partnership Participation and Co-Creation Standards. The forum is co-chaired by a government member and a civil society member.

The process for appointing forum members

On 29 November 2022, the Attorney-General put out a call for expressions of interest for civil society members to join Australia’s Open Government Forum (OGF). The invitation was open to anyone, including academia, non-government organisations, media, the private sector, think tanks and individuals.

The Attorney-General’s Department ran the open nomination process for civil society appointments to the OGF, including for the position of civil society co-chair.

Deputy Secretary Simon Newnham (government co-chair) and Professor Kenneth Coghill (outgoing civil society co-chair) formed the selection panel and reviewed applications received against the following published selection criteria:  

  • their demonstrated support of OGP’s vision and the Open Government Declaration
  • their expertise relevant to the OGP, including existing or potential Australian Open Government commitments
  • their ability to engage broad and diverse community networks
  • their previous experience working with and influencing government
  • the desirability of reflecting emerging open government priorities, including integrity, transparency and accountability.

The panel recommended suitable candidates to the Attorney-General. The identification of candidates was informed by the OGP Participation and Co-Creation Standards, Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Direction 2022, APSC Merit and Transparency Policy and the requirements of the Public Service Act 1999.

The full list of forum members was published on 5 April 2023.

Open Government Forum members

Civil society members

Kate Auty

Professor Kate Auty has chaired and been a member of a number of boards and advisory committees on sustainable best practice and collaborative research infrastructure. Her work in the environmental space has focused on the science-community-policy interface. She has held a number of appointments as a magistrate and commissioner, is deeply committed to cross-cultural reconciliation and recognition, and has been a non-Indigenous contributor to the development of Indigenous sentencing courts across Australia.

Kate is committed to working locally on global concerns and she is a member of a number of community action groups in the federal seat of Indi where she lives.

Anne Twomey

Professor Anne Twomey is a Professor Emerita at the University of Sydney and a part-time consultant at Gilbert + Tobin Lawyers. She was for many years a Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Sydney Law School, and prior to that worked for the High Court of Australia, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Research Service, the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee and the Cabinet Office of New South Wales.

Anooshe Mushtaq

Anooshe Mushtaq has a broad range of experience within Information and Communication Technology (ICT) roles and national security non-official engagements.

Anooshe is a non-official consultant to the Australian Government and provides advice on engagement strategies with youth who are at risk of practicing extremist ideology. She has spoken at national security conferences and written extensively on the topic of building community resilience with a particular focus on social cohesion and its importance as a frontline measure in countering violent extremism.

In partnership with the Attorney General’s Department, Google Australia, Love Frankie, Vice Productions, and YouTube, Anooshe developed an alternative/counter narrative to debunk hate speech, racism, and extremist rhetoric as part of the Share Some Good campaign.

Charles Sampford

Charles Sampford graduated from Melbourne University at the top of his class in politics, philosophy and law before combining those disciplines in his Oxford DPhil in 1985. He was invited to return to Melbourne University as a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer before moving to the Philosophy Department in 1990 to establish the Centre for Philosophy and Public Issues where he was Acting Director then Deputy Director and Principal Research Fellow. However, his earlier writings on reforming the law curriculum in response to the Pearce Report into Legal Education led to his invitation to come to Queensland as Foundation Dean and Professor of Law at Griffith University, starting in March 1991. The Griffith Curriculum, which combined theoretical, contextual and skills in mutually reinforcing ways, was hailed by Sir Ninian Stephen as a ‘revolution in legal education’ that was widely praised and much copied.

Professor Sampford led the 1998 bid for the Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance (the only Australian centre in law or governance to receive centre funding from the Australian Research Council) and was its Foundation Director until 2004. From 2004-10, he was Convenor of the ARC funded Governance Research Network (the only ARC network in law or governance) and from 2004 he was Director of the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law, established with the UN University. Foreign fellowships include Visiting Senior Research Fellow at St John's College Oxford (1997) and a Senior Fulbright Award to Harvard University (2000). He has written over 160 articles and chapters and has completed 32 books and edited collections.

In June 2008, his work on corruption and integrity systems was recognized by the ARC who invited the 20 researchers they thought had most clearly ‘made a difference’ to the Graeme Clarke Outcomes Forum held at Parliament House Canberra. Charles was one of only 4 researchers invited from the humanities and social sciences. He is currently a board member of the Accountability Round Table and Victorian Parliamentary Integrity Adviser. Internationally, he has worked on governance reform in a dozen countries.

Cindy He

Cindy He brings leadership and public engagement experience across a range of sectors, with a focus on issues relating to multicultural representation and the adoption of emerging technologies. She has held various positions in broadcast radio and print journalism, government relations and strategic advocacy, and has worked overseas in international trade and investment on behalf of the Australian Government.

Cindy is an admitted lawyer and is currently an Industry and Innovation Manager in ANZ’s Institutional Transaction Banking Division, leading digital transformation and innovation projects. She is also a member of Monash University’s Cybersecurity Industry Advisory Board and a member of the Regional Advisory Council for the Victorian Multicultural Commission.

Clancy Moore

Clancy Moore is the current CEO of Transparency International Australia, the world’s leading anti-corruption coalition. He brings almost 20 years of experience of advocacy and governance experience in the Solomon Islands, Myanmar, and Australia, including leadership roles with Oxfam and ActionAid.

Clancy previously led the Australian arm of global transparency NGO Publish What You Pay, calling for greater transparency in the mining, oil and gas sectors. He is also a civil society board member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative – the global standard of governance for the mining, oil and gas sector currently implemented in 56 countries. Clancy and his family live on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations.

Kyle Redman

Kyle Redman is the Director of Research and Design at the newDemocracy Foundation, a non-profit research foundation focused on best-practice deliberative engagement and innovations in democratic processes.

He has designed and operated several of newDemocracy's major citizens’ assembly projects, including for the ACT Government, Local Government Victoria, Western Sydney University, and the City of Sydney. He has also worked with international partners including the United Nations Democracy Fund and the Democracy R&D Network to design democratic innovations in Brazil, Malawi, North Macedonia, Spain and more. He is also an Executive Board Member of the Federation for Innovation in Democracy - Europe.

Kyle has co-authored the United Nations Democracy Fund handbook Enabling National Initiatives to Take Democracy Beyond Elections (2018), and The A, B & C of Democracy (Carlow Books, 2021). He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of New South Wales, receiving First Class Honours in Politics.

Tania Penovic

Dr Tania Penovic is an Associate Professor at Deakin Law School. She has served as deputy director for the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Monash University is senior co-chair of the national Women and Girls’ Rights Subcommittee of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights. Dr Penovic has extensive experience in working with government. She has trained Australian and international government officials in compliance with international standards and provided numerous submissions to parliamentary and law reform bodies in Australia and internationally. Her submissions and expert testimony have influenced legislative reforms, informed judicial decision-making and facilitated advances in the way legal problems are understood.

Tim Lo Surdo

Tim Lo Surdo is the founder of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Future Generations, a new think-tank building the Asia-Pacific’s resilience to existential risks. Tim is also the founder of Democracy in Colour, Australia’s first racial and economic justice organisation led by people of colour. Before starting Democracy in Colour, he worked with low-paid workers to set up Hospo Voice, a new union in hospitality. Previously, Tim was the Head of Campaigns at Oaktree, a senior adviser to 2 Senators, the Campaigns Director at Jhatkaa, the National Communications Director at UN Youth Australia, and co-founded Open Sky. Tim has served as a Non-Executive Director on 17 boards and was appointed in 2020 as one of 17 UN Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Government members

Government members

Simon Newnham

Simon Newnham is the Deputy Secretary of the Integrity and International Group in the Attorney-General’s Department. Simon is responsible for a wide range of matters including human rights, modern slavery, international law, legal services coordination, royal commissions and integrity, including the establishment of the National Anti-Corruption Commission. Simon joined the Attorney-General’s Department as First Assistant Secretary of the Integrity and Security Division in early 2022.

Prior to joining the Attorney-General’s Department, Simon held various roles at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Simon holds a Bachelor of Arts/Law (Hons) from Monash University.

As Deputy Commissioner of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Hampton is the principal adviser to the Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner.

Elizabeth joined the OAIC in January 2019 and brings more than 25 years’ experience in senior positions in the Australian Public Service. She served as Industry Complaints Commissioner with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority from 2010 to 2014, when she was appointed to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service as National Manager, Integrity and Professional Standards and Special Integrity Adviser to the Chief Executive Officer.

Elizabeth held a variety of senior executive positions within the Home Affairs portfolio prior to joining the OAIC. Previously, she worked at Centrelink, the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney, a Diploma of Law and a Graduate Diploma in legal Practice.

Elizabeth Tydd

Elizabeth Tydd is the NSW Information Commissioner, Open Data Advocate and CEO of the Information and Privacy Commission. As a statutory appointee and executive leader, Elizabeth has implemented regulatory reform across legal, public, NFP and commercial sectors. Elizabeth has a deep understanding of integrity and governance, particularly in digital government from a statutory, board and executive perspective.

Penny McKay

Penny McKay’s 25-year public service career spans state, territory and commonwealth jurisdictions and includes roles as a Commonwealth, State and Territory prosecutor in the ACT, NT and Qld; the position of Senior Assistant Director of Legal, People Smuggling and Human Trafficking at the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions Office; General Counsel at the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity; and a secondment to the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

Penny has extensive experience in areas of criminal law policy, investigations and prosecutions, integrity and oversight. Prior to her appointment, Penny was the First Assistant Secretary of the Integrity, Security and Assurance Division at the Department of Home Affairs and was responsible for the Department’s and Australia Border Force’s Integrity and Professional Standards program; protective and physical security; and audit and assurance.

Penny holds a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Business (Management) and is admitted to practise as a solicitor of the Supreme Court.

First Assistant Secretary, Government Division
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

First Assistant Secretary, Governance Division
Department of Finance

Jo Talbot

Jo Talbot joined the Australian Public Service Commission in July 2023. She is responsible for people and corporate strategy, international, workplace relations, strengthening integrity and culture, and performance. In this role she is Australia’s representative on the Public Governance Committee at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and on the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a multilateral initiative that aims to secure commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.

Jo has held a range of senior corporate leadership roles across a number of departments including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Social Services, Department of Communications and the Arts, Department of Human Services, and Australian Customs Service.

Jo holds an Arts degree with a major in Human Resources and a Graduate Certificate of Public Administration from the University of Canberra. She is a member of the Australian HR Institute (AHRI) Public Sector Advisory Panel, a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow Certified Practitioner Human Resources.

Maree Bridger

Maree Bridger is Chief Operating Officer at the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts (the Department). Maree has worked in the Australian Public Service (APS) for 15 years across a range of policy, program, corporate and service delivery areas in the department, Services Australia, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Australian Customs Service.

Prior to her transition to the public sector, Maree worked as a consultant for 8 years, with a specific focus on organisational change, strategic planning, maximising competitive advantage and building organisational capability.

Maree has a Bachelor of Economics from ANU, an Executive MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management at UNSW and is a Certified Practicing Accountant.

Tom Dickson

Tom Dickson is the Assistant Secretary of Corporations Branch in the Department of the Treasury and Chair of the Australian National Contact Point for Responsible Business Conduct.

Tom is responsible for leading teams that provide advice on matters related to corporate conduct, including areas such as beneficial ownership, oversight of the bodies responsible for financial reporting and insolvency.

Tom has a background in economics and has led several policy reform projects in government.


Terms of reference and working groups

Forum terms of reference

Read the Open Government Forum Terms of Reference.

Forum working groups

At the Third Open Government Forum meeting, members agreed to create 3 working groups to consult on draft NAP3 commitments. The working groups were formed around 3 themes, which informed the development and selection of commitments for NAP3.

The working groups are:

  • Public participation and engagement – Co-chairs: Kyle Redman (civil society) and Elizabeth Tydd (government)
  • Government and corporate sector integrity – Co-chairs: Clancy Moore (civil society) and Simon Newnham (government)
  • Strengthening democratic processes – Co-chairs: Professor Charles Sampford (civil society) and Scott Dilley (government).

Read the Open Government Forum Working Group Terms of Reference.

Learn more about the development of Australia's Third National Action Plan.

Forum Meetings

Forum Meetings

First Open Government Forum meeting – April 2023

The first forum meeting was held on 17 April 2023 in Melbourne, Australia (with virtual dial-in options available).

Forum members heard from Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus KC, MP and OGP CEO Sanjay Pradhan about the importance of open government.

Members held early discussions on potential commitments and co-creation concepts.

Read the full meeting minutes and agenda.

Attorney-General, the Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP, addressed members of the refreshed forum at the inaugural meeting on 17 April 2023

[Image: Attorney-General, the Hon Mark Dreyfus KC, MP addressed members of the refreshed forum at its inaugural meeting on 17 April 2023. At the meeting, from left to right above, are Mr Simon Newnham (Government Co-Chair), Professor Kate Auty (Civil Society Co-Chair), the Attorney-General, Mr Sanjay Pradhan (CEO Open Government Partnership) and Mr Alan Wu (Senior Regional Coordinator, Open Government Partnership).]

Second Open Government Forum meeting – June 2023

The second Forum meeting was held on 14 June 2023 on a virtual basis.

Members discussed and agreed on the co-creation process for the development of the third National Action Plan, including guiding principles for the selection of commitments that will fall under that National Action Plan.

Read the full meeting minutes and agenda.

Third Open Government Forum meeting – July 2023

The third Forum meeting was held on 31 July 2023, in Canberra and virtually.

Members agreed to the Working Groups Terms of Reference.

Members participated in a workshop conducted by external facilitator Damian Carmichael to discuss and agree on working group themes and co-chairing arrangements.

Read the full meeting minutes and agenda.

Row 1: Tim Lo Surdo; Prof Charles Sampford; Simon Newnham, AGD; Anooshe Mushtaq; Kate Auty; Prof Anne Twomey; Maree Bridger, DITRDCA.  Row 2: Alan Wu, OGP; Helen Wilson, APSC; Rebecca Mackinnon; Penny McKay, Office of Commonwealth Ombudsman; Kyle Redman. Row 3: Tom Dickson, Treasury; Andrew Walter, PM&C; Elizabeth Hampton, OAIC; Scott Dilley, Finance. Not pictured (online attendees): Elizabeth Tydd, NSW; Cindy He

Image L to R:
Row 1: Tim Lo Surdo; Prof Charles Sampford; Simon Newnham, AGD; Anooshe Mushtaq; Kate Auty; Prof Anne Twomey; Maree Bridger, DITRDCA;
Row 2: Alan Wu, OGP; Helen Wilson, APSC; Rebecca Mackinnon; Penny McKay, Office of Commonwealth Ombudsman; Kyle Redman
Row 3: Tom Dickson, Treasury; Andrew Walter, PM&C; Elizabeth Hampton, OAIC; Scott Dilley, Finance
Not pictured (online attendees): Elizabeth Tydd, Dr Tania Penovic, and Cindy He

Fourth Open Government Forum meeting – October 2023

The fourth forum meeting was held on 5 October 2023, virtually.

Members heard back from Working Groups on their potential commitments for the Third National Action Plan.

Members voted on draft commitments to be included in NAP3.

Read the full minutes and agenda.

Fifth Open Government Forum meeting – December 2023

The fifth forum meeting was held on 4 December 2023, virtually.

Members endorsed the final NAP3.

Read the full meeting minutes and agenda.

Open Government Forum meeting participants

Images L to R from the top row:
Row 1: Angus Dyason, PM&C (supporting Andrew Walter, PM&C); Professor Anne Twomey; Professor Kate Auty (co-chair); Elizabeth Tydd, NSW Information Commissioner; 
Row 2: Clancy Moore; [in AGD meeting room: Deanne Allan, AGD; Luci Atkinson, AGD; Simon Newnham, AGD (co-chair); Elizabeth Brayshaw, AGD]; Kyle Redman; Penny McKay, Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman; 
Row 3: Dr Tania Penovic; Professor Charles Sampford; Tim Lo Surdo; Anooshe Mushtaq.

Attendees not pictured: Toni Pirani, OAIC (proxy for Elizabeth Hampton); Tom Dickson, Treasury; Maree Bridger, DITRDCA; Scott Dilley, Finance; Andrew Walter, PM&C; Jo Talbot, APSC;

Apology: Cindy He

2024 Open Government Forum meetings

Forum meetings will continue into 2024.

News and updates

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