[LINK] E-participation pilots in Australia?

Tom Worthington Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Sat Feb 16 12:33:51 EST 2008

At 09:05 AM 16/02/2008, Steven Clift wrote:
>With the change in government, is there any renewed interest in 
>fostering online citizen participation in governance and community 
>across Australia? ...

I wonder if this could be implemented for the Australia Government's 
2020 summit <http://www.australia2020.gov.au/>. The idea of everyone 
collecting in one place for two days to work out the future of a 
nation seems a quaint last century idea. Instead online forums could 
be used before, during and after the summit.

The Australian Government Information Management Office has 
experience at using online forums with their GovDex system 
<https://www.govdex.gov.au/>. This is intended just for bureaucrats 
to talk to each other, but provides a precedent and some experience 
which might be used for e-participation. There is also an AGIMO 
Online Policy Consultation Better Practice Checklist 

Another group who may be interested are "Online Opinion" who run 
online forums and ran some events in conjunction with the last 
election  <http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/>. I am on their 
editorial advisory board.

I put in a nomination to attend the 2020 Summit. However, I have 
serious doubts about the idea of such "Town Hall" meetings. I have 
been to a few real ones of these in actual town halls and do not find 
them a particularly useful way to run a town. But I guess at least 
with a virtual one, I will not have to drink the awful coffee they 
usually serve.  ;-)

More seriously, the idea of a town hall meeting seems like window 
dressing on the actual political process. The citizens get a chance 
to say something and so feel part of the process, meanwhile the real 
process is going on behind closed doors. Peter Chen researched some 
of the Canberra process in his PHD thesis 
<http://eprints.unimelb.edu.au/archive/00000240/>. There is also his 
"Electronic Engagement
A Guide for Public Sector Managers" 

Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd            ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617                      http://www.tomw.net.au/
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, ANU  

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