Australian apathy results in OOXML 'abstain' vote

Standards Australia has said a clear lack of consensus and commitment throughout the development process is behind the 'abstain' vote

Standards Australia has returned an "abstain" vote on the proposal to adopt the Office Open XML format standard as an international standard.

The standards body, which represents Australia at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), said the decision was due to a clear lack of consensus and commitment throughout the development process.

"The decision to abstain is the most responsible position we can take at the moment and reflects the strongly held and diverse views of the Australian stakeholders that have taken part in the process," Alistair Tegart, programme manager for Standards Australia, said. "If a clearer position becomes evident in Australia over the next six months, Standards Australia would be able to take that position to the JTC1 committee and vote accordingly."

JTC1 is the name given to the ballot administered by the International Organization for Standardization and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on the decision to adopt the DIS 29500 Office Open XML format draft standard as an international standard.

Tegart said Australia will still participate in the international development process for the document and will remain in contact with the appropriate groups and individuals on the issue.

"This is not the end of this process and we will continue to work with stakeholders, and, if the position changes, we will represent it to JTC1," said Tegart.

Indifference also played a part in Australia's decision to abstain.

"Due to lack of support and stakeholder commitment to ongoing engagement in the international standards development process in this area, it was not viable to convene an appropriate technical committee," said Tegart.

New Zealand has already cast a "no" vote on the issue and will submit reasons for its decision to the ISO today.