We need to redesign our records so that they are more accessible.
Storing sensitive papers in a filing cabinet makes no sense when we could digitise them and control access.
Cabinet confidentiality is important to ensure ministers are able to debate ideas before a decision is made public.
We need to balance a legitimate desire for transparency in politics with the need for free and thoughtful debate.
Would the ABC’s publication of confidential cabinet documents would be in breach of a proposed government bill?
It’s increasingly difficult for investigative journalists to hold governments to account – partly due to anti-terror and security laws making it harder for whistleblowers to act.
The 1994 Employment Minister Simon Crean even had to be briefed by officials on the content of the policy when Working Nation was released.
Cabinet papers released today by the National Archives show Working Nation began as a rational exercise but was soon overtaken by a desire to make the policy everything to everyone.
The Keating cabinet in 1995, featuring John Faulkner (back row, centre), whose vision for a carbon price was thwarted.
AAP Image/National Archives of Australia
Paul Keating’s government, faced with the prospect of international action on climate change, took steps to preserve the coal industry - a tactic that has been rebooted many times since.
Bob Hawke on a 1984 visit to China. His government implemented policies which boosted Asian engagement.
The Hawke government in the 1980s is widely considered to be the most competent and effective of recent years. Some may say this is not setting the bar terribly high, but the cabinet papers of 1988-89…
The Dawkins reforms to higher education in 1989 saw the creation of HECS and arguably the biggest shake-up of higher education the country had seen - but how did it come about?
The release of the 1988-89 cabinet documents show that the Hawke government’s plans for Australian higher education were in some ways as radical as the policies that Education Minister Christopher Pyne…