Argus was a many eyed giant in Greek mythology. He had unwearying strength and simultaneously look in every direction. Sleep never fell upon him. He always kept a sure watch.
Project Argus is a public interest trouble making project intended to stir the political pot to achieve better public policy outcomes.
Prime Minister Albanese has starved independent MPs and Senators of the resources they need to conduct proper oversight of his government.
Through Project Argus, Transparency Warrior provides pro-bono support to ‘Teal’ MPs and other independent MPs and Senators. Through this Project, Transparency Warrior will help fill the resource void and support higher levels of scrutiny and accountability.
Project Argus will help Independent MPs and Senators reveal improperly withheld Government information, influence policy debate and achieve public policy outcomes.
MPs and Senators will determine the areas where they need support.
Project Argus seeks to help Independents play a fully proactive rather than reactive role in relation issues that matter to their constituents and more broadly Australians interested in and engaged with public policy. The Project aims to fuel political debate, stir up media interest and increase the effectiveness and influence of the Independents and other non-Government MPs and Senators.
Information is the currency of democracy.
Governments like to control information and the public narrative. Freedom of Information (FOI) is a powerful tool that disrupts the tight control government’s exercise over the release of information.
FOI Laws can force the Government to hand over information they would prefer, for political reasons, to not be in the public domain.
FOI can expose issues of importance that no one has been talking about because no one outside government knew about them.
Project Argus will seek to integrate FOI, across all jurisdictions – national, state and territories – into the Independents’ government oversight role. The Project will be integrated with other tools used to extract information and force debate – questions without notice, written questions, orders for the production of documents and inquiries.
Project Argus will also provide assistance to assist the Independents in propagating information obtained under FOI to the media.
Project Argus will also use FOI to shine a light on a number of dedicated policy areas.
- Climate change and national energy policy development and implementation.
- Defence policy (especially large defence procurement projects).
- International affairs, including human rights issues, selected consular matters and bilateral relations (for example historical and current Australian policy towards Timor Leste).
- Integrity and anti-corruption issues (including implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Commission).
- Government transparency and accountability (FOI performance, treatment of whistle-blowers etc).
- Government finances (including revenue policy and administration, Future Fund).
- Refugee and asylum policy and administration.
- Health policy and administration.
FOI Requests Lodged
“An FOI a Day Stops Democracy Decay”
Project Argus Team
Rex Patrick served as a Senator for South Australia from November 2017 to June 2022.
Before entering politics Rex served as a submariner in the Royal Australian Navy from 1983 to 1994 before working in Defence industry and establishing his own business, Acoustic Force which provided training in sonar and acoustics to domestic and international customers.
In 2015 Rex became an adviser to independent Senator Nick Xenophon, quickly acquiring the nickname “Inspector Rex” owing to his use of FOI and other investigative tools to obtain government information in the public interest.
After becoming a Senator, filling the casual vacancy created by Senator Xenophon’s resignation, Rex continued to focus on scrutiny of Government, using FOI, Senate Estimates hearings and other parliamentary processes and procedures to extract information, critique government policy, administration and legislation, and hold ministers and bureaucrats to account for their decisions and action.
Rex has a long track record of successful FOI appeals before the Information Commissioner and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, successfully unpicking former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s wrong claims of Cabinet secrecy in relation to ‘National Cabinet’ and overturning the former Coalition Government’s attempts to withhold embarrassing information in relation to massive Defence procurement projects.
Dr Philip Dorling
Philip Dorling has some thirty years of experience of high-level political, public policy and media work, much of that at the Australian Parliament.
He has worked in the Australian political environment from most angles, in both the national and state levels of government including as a senior executive; as a senior policy adviser for the Federal Labor Opposition and for cross bench Senators; and as an award-winning journalist in the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery.
Philip worked as an adviser for three members in the House of Representatives, Laurie Brereton, Kevin Rudd and Daryl Melham, and for two members of the Senate, Senator Nick Xenophon and Senator Rex Patrick.
As an investigative journalist with the Canberra Times, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, he broke numerous stories in relation to national security, intelligence and international affairs, including revelations about Chinese espionage in Australia, the functions of the Pine Gap Joint Defence Facility and the Wikileaks “Cablegate” disclosures in 2010-2011.
He won Melbourne Press Club Quill Awards and was shortlisted for the Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism.
Support For Project Argus
Project Argus is sponsored by The Optical Superstore, an Australian Owned company interested in bringing greater transparency, focus and clarity to to both its customers and Australia’s political leadership and governance.
The Optical Superstore, led by co-owner Ian Melrose, has funded television campaigns to highlight Australia’s theft of oil and gas resources that belonged to, and was desperately needed, by the impoverished Timorese. It has also funded a number of justice related campaigns.
Additionally, since 2005 the Optical Superstore has been providing direct financial assistance to health, education and microfinance organisations and is committed to making a valuable and continuing contribution to the health and well-being of families and children in East Timor (Timor Leste), one of the poorest nations in our region.
The Optical Superstore has also given support to numerous campaigns that have sought to improve honesty, fairness and integrity in Australian politics. Project Argus is being funded by the Optical Superstore to help fill the resource void the independents are suffering from in the 47th Parliament. The company leadership does not give any direction as to what issues to engage on with Independents MPs and Senators; its only direction to Transparency Warrior is that Project Argus must help independents in their Government oversight role.