With the pre election focus on negative gearing, I am getting questions from the public on properties owned by MP's. This information is in the Pecuniary Interests Register which is online in PDF form. These PDF's can't be used in a database so the insights this data could provide the public are lost.
Years ago Fairfax got a bunch of UTS journalism students to recreate the Federal Pecuniary Interests register as a dataset, using it to investigate and publish several stories based on the data. For this they scored a Walkley Award.
More recently and with the help of others, data blogger Nick Evershed put together a version of the NSW Pecuniary Interests Register http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/datablog/2015/mar/09/why-were-crowdsourcing-the-nsw-pecuniary-interests-register-faq
With the Open Government National Action Plan underway it would be good to include datasets that contain data of interest to the public in data.gov.au. The Pecuniary Interests Register would have to be one of the top datasets valued by both the media and the public.
Perhaps the custodians of pecuniary interests datasets in each jurisdiction can be brought together via the Open Government Partnership process so they can ensure they are funded to open these datasets properly for public and media analysis.