Open Australia

Parliament question time is boring. We’ve all seen the pollies waffle on, seen the one-upmanship and bickering, the pleas made to “Mr Speaker”. What we haven’t seen is anything useful. Let’s face it, parliament is not really an accessible spectator sport.

Kevin Rudd in parliament

But what if rather than passively watching, you could search for the issues you were interested in? What if you could follow only what your local representative is saying?

You can. Enter OpenAustralia.

OpenAustralia is a volunteer project to index the record of what goes on at parliament house. Think of it as a kind of “google” for Australian politics. So of course the first thing I searched for was swear words. It turns out the pollies are a pretty polite bunch, their insults are usually veiled in decorum. I was able to find these gems however:

Bernard Ripoll: He’s an evil little shit!

and:

Anthony Albanese: I am reflecting on him, moron. Are you going to control these people, Mr Speaker?

Ah, good times. In all seriousness though, the website is a great tool for aiding government transparency, something I feel is so important that for the last two weeks I’ve been helping out using my programming skills. Stay tuned, although only the house of representatives is on there at the moment, the senate is on the horizon, as well as a host of other features.

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