Independent Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) yesterday in Taipei launched the Open Parliament Partnership Action Plan in a bid to promote transparency in the Legislative Yuan, increase exchanges with Open Government Partnership (OGP) member states and raise the nation’s international profile.
Citing as examples a “mask map” jointly designed by Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) and members of the public, and Citizen’s Congress Watch’s routine perusal of recordings of legislative question-and-answer sessions on Parliamentary TV to rate lawmakers’ performance, Lim told a news conference at the Legislative Yuan that the public sector could team up with the private sector to use similar technologies to conduct topic-based analyses using data made available by the legislature, which he said would help usher in a new era of democracy.
This would bring the legislature in line with the targets set by the OGP — whose annual meetings are attended by himself and Tang — boosting the nation’s chances of securing OGP membership, he said.
China, with its opaque government, is not very influential in the partnership and cannot ostracize the nation forever, Lim added.
Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) said that he supports the plan.
The Open Parliament e-Network is a spinoff of the OGP and aims to promote openness in parliaments, allow easy access to parliamentary data and digitize parliaments, and the nation should work toward these goals, he said.
The goals conform to his own ideals for the Legislative Yuan: to improve its operations and functions, consolidate democratic values and engage with parliaments of other nations, You said.
An open Legislative Yuan would further boost the nation’s international visibility and status, which would contribute to the goal of making Taiwan a “normalized” nation, he said.
Members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the New Power Party and the Taiwan People’s Party also attended the launch ceremony.
The government should be transparent regarding its decisionmaking process, from cross-caucus talks to appointments and nominations of officials, KMT caucus whip Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) said, adding that the only information that the government should not disclose are state secrets.
The more open and transparent information is, the more developed a democratic nation’s society is, he said.
Although Taiwan is not a member of the OGP, Tang last year at the group’s summit said that the government would draw up an open government action plan on its own initiative, National Development Council Deputy Minister Kao Shien-quei (高仙桂) said.
The plan seeks to release more government data, boost civic participation in policymaking, introduce a mechanism for dialogue between ethnic groups, crack down on money laundering and promote a clean government, she said, adding that practicing these principles would boost the nation’s international space.
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