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Meet the maker

Rosie Williams

There is a lot of information at this site, but where did it come from and who is responsible for it?

I launched this site at Linux Conference Australia in January 2018.

Disclaimer & Credits

Everything you see on this site (with the exceptions listed under credits) is the work of one person including the journalism, programming, design, research, data science, however the data that forms the basis of all this work is collected from multiple sources.

The figures in this site are either raw data at line-item level or totals/percentages - which are the result of algorithms or joins (programmatic matches between two lists) - written by myself in MySQL, which in turn are based on open data provided by Australian government agencies.

This data ranges in quality between datasets, is updated at different intervals and is published to different standards and in different formats.

The data you see in this site is edited by myself (unused fields are removed, names of programs/agencies/entities are spelled consistently within & between datasets). Data cleaning is a significant job.

All care has been taken to represent every single figure accurately, however mistakes can be made either by the entity providing data to the government, the agency providing the data back to the public or at my end as I further transform this data for use.

It is important to understand that while opinions and inferences can be made based on the data on this site, that the data is not in and of itself an inference or an opinion. Inferences and opinions using data in this site remain the legal responsibility of the author of those opinions.

If I share these opinions/inferences in a tweet this does not imply that this is my opinion but that I am sharing the opinion of another person for comment.


The NSW Ministerial Diaries data was supplied by Nick Evershed and associates. The pecuniary interests register data was originally supplied by icacpls however for the past year I have updated it manually.

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Images from pixabay.com

Policy, Activism and Testimonials

In late 2018, Sleeping Giants Australia used data I provided to them on the parliamentarians who have accepted subscriptions to Foxtel in their campaign against racism. Sky took umbridge at this campaign and the rest is history. My Tweet was pictured in a front-page diatribe against Denise Shrivell who The Australian believes to be behind the Sleeping Giants Australia account.

We could hear from digital rights organisations like the Privacy Foundation, Digital Rights Watchand Electronic Frontiers Australia and from specialist researchers like Rosie Williams and Asher Wolf, who have led the debate online. (Australian Hansard)

As a former head of the ABS who had worked on The Census and Statistics Act, Bill McLennan had strong opinions on the de-anonymisation of the 2016 census. In my submission I explained the history of the legal issues that former Heads of the ABS had raised and included a large survey of public opinion on #CensusFail.

I was impressed by the #Censusfail submission to this (Inquiry) Committee. It very clearly showed some good analysis that would have helped the ABS to run a better Census if it had done such research before developing the Census proposal. It also saved me from explaining the current thrust in government with the Government Data Linkage Project, and its likely links to the Census. Bill McLennan (Former Head of the ABS, Former Chairman United Nations Statistical Commission) in his Submission to the 2016 Inquiry.

I was interviewed by Gareth Hutchens about my first transparency project, BudgetAus with the article appearing on the front page of the digital version of the SMH on budget day 2014. On budget day, I was also interviewed on live radio in Canberra and Brisbane. The scheme from my project was used in the line-item CSV that is now published with the budget each year.

Garry Brooke who led the work on the budget for many years contacted me after finding my work. Garry was very generous with sharing his great expertise in the budget and transparency.

I’ve worked with Rosie Williams on budget data transparency since November 2013. Rosie has developed her project into the best government data transparency initiative I know... continually updated and improved to make underlying data intelligible and to focus on key aspects for analysis. My interest has particularly been on the transparency of federal budget data.

I do most of my advocacy straight to the public on Twitter

Media and Journalism

The Guardian |Innovation Australia | The New Daily | Eureka Street | AusVotes 2019 | Independent Australia | Electronic Frontiers Australia | Crikey | Open Australia Foundation | AOGPN blog | Open Knowledge Foundation | EGovAu Blog | The Conversation | IdeasHoist | ABC PM Radio | Power to Persuade | Croakey | International Budget Partnership | Sydney Morning Herald | Online Opinion | New Matilda | No Fibs |Sunday Life Magazine

Shining A Spotlight On The Finances Of Religious Charities

Published by: Rosie Williams on 14th Oct 2019

Religious charities receive millions in Commonwealth grants, but not all of them are required to disclose their finances to the regulators.

Help Me Turn The Tables On Government Surveillance

Published by: Rosie Williams on 14th Oct 2019

Commonwealth grants will help fill the blanks in understanding who gets what, but my work needs your support

Meet The Maker

Published by: Rosie Williams on 6th Oct 2019

There is a lot of information at this site, but where did it come from and who is responsible for it?

Censusfail: Why It Happened And What It Means Now

Published by: Rosie Williams on 7th Sep 2019

The dialectical relationship between the Australian census and privacy legislation is about to take another turn.

The Data Sharing And Release Act Is Coming For Your Data

Published by: Innovation Australia on 4th Sep 2019

This article explains what motivated me to get behind the #CensusFail campaign against the 2016 census. The article explains the history of the governance of administrative data and the changes I saw taking place to allow our data held by government agencies to be linked together into data integration projects to be shared with research and commercial interests.

Open Government Partnership
The Open Government Partnership: Our Best-kept Secret

Published by: Rosie Williams on 2nd Sep 2019

Australia joined the Open Government Partnership in 2015. As we enter consultations for our 3rd National Action Plan most Australians have never heard of it.

Of Death And Taxes

Published by: Rosie Williams on 8th Jul 2019

The the old adage that there are only two things certain in life, death and taxes has never applied to religious charities, but new registration requirements mean PBIs face an uncertain future. Can religious charities overcome their dependence on the secular state or are they facing an existential crisis?

Federal Politicians Should Declare Their Bitcoin Investments

Published by: Rosie Williams on 1st May 2019

Rosie investigates whether Australian politicians should be declaring their Bitcoin along with their other investments.

Budget Enshrines Neglect Of Older Women

Published by: Eureka Street on 29th Apr 2019

There are interesting lessons for older Australians in the budget data.

Ipa Appointee Fails To Attend Estimates

Published by: Rosie Williams on 17th Apr 2019

The appointment of former IPA Research Fellow as Charities Commissioner has caused internal ructions in the senior ranks of the ACNC.

Our Most Prolific Corporate Gift Givers

Published by: Rosie Williams on 5th Apr 2019

Ever wondered which companies give most often to our federal politicians? Recent analysis of interests data provides answers.

We Are All Special Snowflakes And Why It Matters

Published by: Rosie Williams on 28th Mar 2019

Macquarie university researcher responds to ABS TableBuilder claims.

For Better Or For Worse

Published by: Rosie Williams on 21st Mar 2019

Let’s show ATO whistleblower, Richard Boyle that we have his back.

The Hidden Wealth Of Basic Religious Charities

Published by: Rosie Williams on 1st Mar 2019

Religious charities should not be able to hide their wealth- updated with comment from Andrew Leigh.

Christmas Every Day For Our Politicians

Published by: Rosie Williams on 28th Jan 2019

Receiving gifts and favours is part and parcel of political life. This cheat-sheet provides a bird’s-eye view of gifts and hospitality as it stands today.

Australia’s Migrant Labour Pains

Published by: Eureka Street on 3rd Dec 2018

Up to one in ten Australian jobs are now performed by temporary workers. This article places this trend into an historical context of exploitation of foreign workers and the wider historical context that has shaped the culture of worker rights.

Defending Your Organisation With Training And Technology

Published by: Iron Bastion on 1st Nov 2018

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) released their quarterly report on the Notification Data Breaches Scheme earlier this week. Read about what this means for your organisation and what you can do about it.

Liberal Party Harnesses I360 Big Data In Time For 2019 Federal Election

Published by: Independent Australia on 31st Oct 2018

The Koch brothers’ i360 data service is now being used by the Liberal Party of Australia. This article looks at the history of the organisation and the implications for our privacy and democracy.

Don’t Be The Next Business To Fall Victim To A Data Breach

Published by: Iron Bastion on 24th Oct 2018

What is the difference between spam and phishing and why does it matter?

Australia’s Student Housing Crisis

Published by: Independent Australia on 19th Oct 2018

Scott Morrison recently re-opened debate about population policy to ease congestion on Australia’s fastest growing cities - Sydney and Melbourne. In this article I look at the implications for demand on the low-cost housing market of our large intake of international students which is six times the number of migrants.

Professional Help Needed: Law Firms Still Vulnerable To Phishing Attacks

Published by: Iron Bastion on 10th Oct 2018

A significant number of law firms could be exposed to phishing attacks if they have not set up their anti-phishing service correctly. This article introduces the report by Iron Bastion into research on Australia’s law firms and explains the vulnerability recently modelled and what to do about it.

Privacy, Media And Politics: What Are Our Rights?

Published by: Independent Australia on 7th Oct 2018

This article looks at the potential for collusion between the media and political parties, neither of which are covered by the Privacy Act.

The Australian Doxes Anti Racism Campaigners

Published by: Independent Australia on 6th Oct 2018

Anti-racism campaigners Sleeping Oz Giants and their followers on Twitter are subjected to defamatory campaign in The Australian.

Pexa Introduces Mfa But More Guidance Needed

Published by: Iron Bastion on 25th Sep 2018

This article explains the recent hack of the national property lodgement database and the risks to legal firms and their users of using SMS in two-factor authentication.

Whistlebowers: The Heroes Behind The Stories That Matter

Published by: Independent Australia on 17th Sep 2018

Whistleblowers play an essential and often-overlooked role in the major stories that hold out institutions to account. This article looks at the consequences to whistleblowers and media for recent changes in National Security legislation and includes the 11 point UNESCO evaluation of legislation written by Julie Posetti.

Taking Over The Corporate Regulators One Ipa Appointment At A Time

Published by: Independent Australia on 7th Sep 2018

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner is the independent Commonwealth authority charged with governing access to government information and organisations that fall under the Privacy Act. This article traces the early years of the OAIC as it weathers attempts to abolish the office by the Abbott Government.

The Ipa’s Long March Through The Bureaucracy

Published by: Independent Australia on 5th Sep 2018

This article follows on from the article on the OAIC and traces the early years of the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission as the Abbott government attempts to abolish the office. The ACNC is the Commonwealth charities regulator responsible for governing the multi-billion dollar charity sector.

Deconstructing The Democracy Sausage

Published by: Independent Australia on 3rd Sep 2018

This article looks at the privacy and security issues like to arise with attempts to move election voting online or through the use of voting machines.

The Bumpy Road To Think Tank Transparency In Australia

Published by: Rosie Williams on 11th Aug 2018

During the week I received a response to my enquiry to the ATO requesting a list of Approved Research Institutes (some of which are think tanks like the IPA) however, as you will see from the response, the problem of think tank transparency in Australia has a lot of hurdles to overcome before we will be in a position to understand who is funding them.

Getting To The Bottom Of The Ipa Dgr Status

Published by: Rosie Williams on 28th Jul 2018

If people are going to challenge the activities of the IPA, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the legislation governing its activities.

State Fed Funding Are The States Territories The Meat In The Sandwich

Published by: Rosie Williams on 7th May 2018

The state and territory governments are at the coalface of all the important social problems faced by Australian society. The states are responsible for education, health, policing, emergency services, public transport, housing and homelessness yet there is comparatively little open data provided by state agencies.

Cashless Debit Card, Income Management And The Surveillance State

Published by: Independent Australia on 13th Sep 2017

The Cashless Welfare Card forces each recipient to share their entire purchase history with the government to ensure ’compliance’ with the government’s new policy of controlling how welfare recipients spend their income. In this article, I explain the human rights law that Australia is signatory to and the implications for the government in breaching that law.

Open Government Partnership
Open Government: A New Paradigm In Social Change

Published by: Power to Persuade on 2nd Nov 2015

Open data, a new paradigm in policy, technology and activism.

Copyright licence applies only to text of article (not videos, images and other included third-party content ). If you republish my work, a donation is appreciated. Click here for details.

Articles matching about

Help Me Turn The Tables On Government Surveillance

Published by Rosie Williams on 14th Oct 2019

Commonwealth grants will help fill the blanks in understanding who gets what, but my work needs your support

[33] Articles

[8] Privacy

[5] Charities

[3] Interests

[3] Security

[2] Thinktanks

[2] Budget

[2] Open Government Partnership

[2] About

[1] Tax

[1] Whistleblowing

[1] Welfare

[1] Racism

[1] Housing

[1] Immigration