About The PIPE Project
PIPE stands for Parliament In Plain English.
This project is run by individuals with no current political party affiliation, nor do we work for any government department.
It was inpired by the OpenAustralia website, but we aren't connected in any meaningful sense other than a shared interest in more open and transparent democracy, and occasional email exchanges. OpenAustralia is a not-for-profit which does a number of things, including re-publishing Hansard (debate) text from the federal parliament (with permission!). They have provided many features not available on the official website and we encourage you to support them - including financially - where you are able to do so.
THIS project started as a response to frustration that very few people have much idea what is happening in our state parliaments. In many cases, people don't care - but when they are interested to find out, there is a raft of PDF files to wade through to try and find out what is being discussed, voted down or passed.
The official titles of bills often don't help - what does a "Justice Legislation Amendment" bill do!? It could be a change to the law about anything from police body camera rules to whether spit hoods can be used on underage prisoners. Then there's the question of what the (proposed) law change actually is. Sometimes official explanatory notes will try and shed some light by saying something like "This bill modifies the law relating to fines for certain offences under the Crimes Act." This is accurate, but clear as mud - are the fines getting bigger or smaller? Are they new? Which offences are they related to - theft, bad parking, or something else?
We aim to provide basic, english information that makes it clear how far a bill is through the process of becoming law; what topics are being discussed; what actual changes are being discussed (e.g. 'longer jail terms for x crime').
Features which are in development or on the longer term roadmap:
- Ability to get email updates of what happened this week in a given state (this is working, but needs rolling out to beta)
- Ability to search across states
- Ability to be emailed alerts when a new bill is listed that mentions a topic
- Tagging bills by topic and keyword, and being able to see bills related to that topic for all states or a specific one
- Expanding to include other states
- Allowing logged-in users to comment and discuss bills