Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Democracy with Web 2.0

Greetings from the AGM of Computing Assistance Support & Education Inc (CASE) where Pia Waugh, policy adviser to Senator Kate Lundy, speaking on Engaging in Democracy with Web 2.0. Pia started by pointing out that the Australian Government issued a Declaration of Open Government (DOG). She showed some of the winners from the government sponsored Mashups, including Know Where You Live.

Pia then showed Senator Lundy's website, produced using Wordpress and designed to have a relatively simple layout. She pointed out that Open Australasia's enhanced version of Hansard is used.

Pia then discussed citizen centric services, noting that Australia had been a leader in on-line government. The idea is to put the citizen at the centre of the design of services, rather than a structure based on government agencies. For me, the issue how much of this can be done via software mashups and how much requires the government to be restructured. An examples are an account, which the citizen to deal with multiple government services with one account.

Pia then discussed participatory government, using the example of the Public Sphere process she developed for Senator Lundy. She emphasized the need for consultation with the public to be conducted sincerely. In the latest example a 106 page Submission on Digital Culture (6MB PDF) was created for the National Cultural Policy.

Pia suggested that using on-line tools two people could conduct a substantial public consultation over three months. This is far less than the staffing needed for a traditional process.

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