OpenAustralia: opening up the Australian Parliament

Tuesday, 17 June, 2008

OpenAustralia, a new website that allows you to track debate and discussion in the Australian Parliament, launched on Sunday. Nathanael Boehm who is on the project team, describes OpenAustralia far better than I could:

OpenAustralia is a site that aggregates House of Representatives debates with data about the Members of the House of Reps and presents it in a way that makes it easy to see what debates your Member in your electorate is participating, what they’re saying and whether they’re doing a good job of representing you. You can see statistics of how many debates they’ve been involved with. You can comment against any Member’s contribution to a debate and discuss that with other users of the site.

OpenAustralia also lets keep tabs on your local MP, and while learning that my local representative Peter Garrett (he of Midnight Oil fame), is one of the more vocal MPs (is that really a surprise?), I also learnt a few other things:

Has spoken in 50 debates in the last year – well above average amongst MPs. This MP’s speeches are understandable to an average 20 – 21 year old, going by the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score. Has used three-word alliterative phrases (e.g. “she sells seashells”) 138 times in debates – well above average amongst MPs.

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