The Solomon Lecture

The Right to Information Day includes the Solomon Lecture named in honour of Dr David Solomon, who was the Chair of the Independent FOI Review Panel appointed by the Queensland State Government to review Queensland's Freedom of Information laws in 2007-08. Dr Solomon delivered the inaugural 2009 lecture 'Inaugural Right To Know Day' in Brisbane. In past years, the Solomon Lecture, hosted by the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC), Queensland, has been given by Mr Don Watson, who spoke on the theme of 'Accessibility of public language'; and Dr Nicholas Gruen, on 'Government in the age of Web 2.0: Connect, Engage, Innovate'.

Solomon Lectures include:

We are pleased to present Ms Talei Elu, Seisia community member and 2023 Young Australian of the Year for Queensland. Her keynote was titled, The Story of Seisia – How access to information in remote Indigenous communities can help to solve complex problems. Seisia is a small coastal Torres Strait Islander community at the northernmost point of Cape York.

In 2022, Ian Hamm from The Healing Foundation delivered the Solomon Lecture on 'The importance of truth through Aboriginal eyes'. Ian talks about truth telling and its implications for Australia as a nation and what benefits it brings us all, and also the importance of knowing your own story through the eyes of the Stolen Children in trying to make sense of your life.

In 2021, Professor Beth Simone Noveck presented the 2021 Solomon Lecture on ‘Solving Public Problems with Data’. In this talk, Professor Noveck will discuss how a focus on public problem solving and improving people’s lives changes how we think about data. She will discuss specific policy prescriptions for creating a right to know that fosters better government, stronger citizenship and more agile solutions to contemporary challenges.

In 2019, Ms Fiona McLeod SC, eminent barrister and human rights advocate, delivered the 2019 Solomon Lecture, titled 'Accountability in the Age of the Artificial', focusing on transparency, openness and accountability in the context of increasing adoption of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) in government functions and decision-making. Ms McLeod’s Lecture addressed key questions about whether artificial intelligence and human rights can co-exist.

In 2018, Professor Ken Smith presented on ‘Trust, transparency and right to information: accountability in an age of democratic disquiet'. Professor Smith explored how open, transparent government is threatened from a range of ideological extremes and reminded us of the obligation to ensure public institutions are clear about the need, at all times, to serve the public interest, rather than narrower sectional interests, Professor Smith argued that it is only with this ongoing focus that we can expect that public trust in our democratic institutions will be restored.

In 2017, Mr Kerry O'Brien presented 'Why Fitzgerald is still relevant' and drew on the 30th anniversary of the Fitzgerald Inquiry. Mr O’Brien’s lecture revisits some of the lessons learnt over the past three decades around open government, transparency and accountability, including the media’s role in accessing government held information and informing the community about government decisions.

In 2016, Professor Anne Tiernan, Griffith University presented 'Collaboration in Place: The central role of information and data in securing Queensland’s future prosperity' and drew on her experience with Griffith University’s Policy Innovation Hub and her involvement in the Logan Together initiative in discussing key aspects pertinent to Right to Information, including: transparency and trust in government; and better public service delivery focused on improved information flow (including open data) to the community to inform decision making by government, community organisations and industry.

In 2015, Australian University's Professor Richard Mulgan presented 'Government resistance to greater transparency: rational or self defeating?' and canvasses a number of general strategies for improving public access to government information, including less government discretion over what and when to publish, less reliance on individual requests for information, and greater clarity over what documents are non-disclosable.

In 2014, Anni Rowland-Campbell, Intersticia delivered the lecture on 'Government in the age of 'Social Machines''.  Anni explores 21st century government as a “social machine” and consider how such machines harness digital technologies in order to deliver more effective and efficient services, develop better business practices, and enable better accountability and transparency.

In 2013, Griffith University’s Professor Anna Stewart presented the Solomon Lecture entitled, 'Finding Gold in Mountains of Administrative Data'. Professor Stewart speaks about accessing and analysing government-held data from the criminal justice system and related departments to conduct her research to understand offending over the life-course.

In 2012, Right to Information Day was marked with the biannual conference, sponsored by the national Association of Information Access Commissioners, Creating Open Government, hosted by the NSW Information Commissioner in Sydney. At this event, the Solomon Lecture was presented by well-regarded guest speaker Professor Geoff Gallop, Director of the Sydney University Graduate School of Government on the theme of ‘Is integrated government possible?’. Professor Gallop is the former Premier, and Minister for Public Sector Management, Federal Affairs, Science, Citizenship and Multicultural Interests, for the Government of Western Australia.