Australian open source community set to lose champion

Australia's open source software community appears set to lose one of its most powerful and outspoken champions in the wake of the federal election.Democrat spokesperson for information technology, Senator Brian Greig, today said that it appeared highly unlikely the party would retain its West Australian seat in the Senate.

Australia's open source software community appears set to lose one of its most powerful and outspoken champions in the wake of the federal election.

Democrat spokesperson for information technology, Senator Brian Greig, today said that it appeared highly unlikely the party would retain its West Australian seat in the Senate.

"The Liberals picked up three (seats), Labor's picked up two (seats) and the last spot will almost definitely go to the Green (Party) -- so, no, it doesn't look like I've held onto the seat," said Greig.

The Democrats have given strong support to the use of open source software in recent years. A vocal critic of Microsoft, Greig has played a pivotal role in Democrat initiatives to promote the use of open source software in government.

Greig best demonstrated of his support for non-proprietary software in July last year when he entered a private member's bill into the federal Senate to force Commonwealth agencies to consider open source software when making information technology procurement decisions.

Greig today gave assurances that the Democrats' guaranteed four remaining Senators and the Greens would carry on supporting the open source software community in his stead.

"The open source community will still have champions in parliament if the Democrats are unable to sustain it and other parties take it on," he said.

However, with the Democrats' Queensland seat now in doubt the party faces losing its party status and with it resources and standing in the Senate.

To retain its party status the Democrats need to have five seats in the Senate, but Greig today indicated that the party's Queensland seat was now in danger of being lost to the National Party. That would bring the Democrat's representation in the Senate from seven down to just four seats.

Without party status the Democrats lose funding for staff to work on its portfolios areas and places on Senate standing committees.