Coming back from a very lazy Christmas, I find the comments threads full of hyperventilation about “jackboots” and “communist roots”. While this was a bit OTT, this SMH story about a message from the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research requiring that all press releases from CSIRO and other organizations be vetted at ministerial (or maybe Prime Ministerial) level certainly suggested that the new government was already up to the tricks of old governments.
I had hoped we would have had a bit more of the reformist phase before this kind of thing started and indeed it appears that there has been at least a partial backdown. With any luck, this misbegotten idea will be buried as a product of the silly season.
But the central point is clear. If we are going to get any moves towards open government and transparent processes out of the Rudd government, we need to demand them now, while the criticisms they made of the last government are still fresh. All longstanding governments seek to centralise power, which is one of the reasons why changing government every now and then is a good idea.