What Coalition Politicians ‘get’ Government 2.0?

I was asked at a Departmental seminar today whether the eleciton of a Coalition Government would set back Government 2.0.  I said I didn’t know, but that even if it did not have as much support from an incoming government as it has had in this term, the main tasks ahead of us were cultural, that the heavy policy lifting had taken place and that I couldn’t see that work being undone by a change of government, though the atmospherics can be important this early in a transition to greater use of Web 2.0 in government.

Anyway, the facts as I see them are as follows:

The two strongest and most vociferous supporters of Government 2.0 in the Ministry of the now ended Rudd/Gillard term of Government were Tanner and Falkner. Of them Tanner’s support was more tech savvy and Falkner’s was more classically based around freedom of information and integrity in Government. As I said on Radio National a week or so ago, I’m very dissappointed that they’re going.  They’ll leave a big hole, but the agenda is bigger than both of them and will go on.

Of the ALP politicians that will remain in Parliament, Joe Ludwig is supportive within the ministry.  Rudd himself was also keen – he revved his own Department up on it and had agreed to launch the Taskforce – but his office pulled the plug to focus on doing battle with Turnbull over Ute-gate. But of all the politicians in Australia the backbencher Kate Lundy is the pre-eminent Govermnent 2.0 aficionado in the Australian Parliament bar none. Indeed, she’s recognised as one of the world’s leading promoters of government 2.0 in politics.  I’ve privately done what I could to promote Kate’s fortunes within this government and am happy to say so publicly. Somehow she got dropped from the ministry on the transition to government. I hope she’ll fare better under the new leadership and if she does it will be a great thing for Government 2.0.

In the Coalition I can’t say I know anyone who is strongly supportive of Government 2.0. Certainly I don’t recall anyone coming forward while the Government 2.0 Taskforce was sitting, in the way that Kate Lundy did. But Opposition members are busy people.  So I’m hoping readers and those close to Coalition and Green parliamentarians, or those parliamentarians themselves might point out who amongst them are the champions of Government 2.0, and what might be expected of them.

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13 years ago

You might want to run spell check and then spell Senator John Faulkner’s name correctly. [Corrected – NG]

Craig Thomler
13 years ago

I think examples from overseas demonstrate that the mass enablement of societies via the internet can proceed without government leadership, encouragement, involvement and even in face of significant opposition.

The rise of citizen content creation, participation and online discourse in states around the world across the entire political spectrum has prompted greater awareness and engagement with government and is forcing governments to adapt their own processes to cater for more educated and active citizenry.

Australia, with a robust democracy and high average incomes, is, if anything, in less need of Government 2.0. We already have strong institutions, the rule of law, an independent media and citizens who lead a largely comfortable lifestyle.

Even so we have seen the creation of at least 50 independent websites (from OpenAustralia to Open Forum, OurSay, Australia2 and TweetMP) which promote aspects of Gov 2.0 engagement. It has also become accepted internationally that freeing up access to a range of public sector information provides a massive boost to the bottom line economy of nations.

Regardless of whether a future Australian government has an active understanding and appetite for Gov 2.0, the movement will continue growing globally and locally.

So what will be the economic costs of inactivity on the Gov 2.0 front?

What will be the political costs of failing to upskill the public service and political arms of government in the effective application of Gov 2.0 techniques?

How will Gov 2.0 inactivity at a government level impact on international competitiveness, should other nations embed Gov 2.0 in their governance systems?

These are still unclear, but are quite real concerns that governments need to consider.

Peter Q
Peter Q
13 years ago

Turnbull would certainly be one to count, as would Stuart Robert. I am not abreast of athe background of all of the Coalition MPs, but these two in particular have IT backgrounds, and as such would grok the concepts. I seem to recall at least one or two others in the Coal that own or work in IT. On the other hand it seems at first glance that about 90% of the ALP MPs have had no career other than as a Union Rep, and as such no background in technology, and little ability to umderstand the potential if heading in this direction.

There is a difference between thinking it’s a good idea because it’s you have been told it’s a trendy thing to do, and practical implementation.

My list of Projects that I have contacted Government MPs about that need access to non-classified government data, and would be generally beneficial to some parts of the population and/or the government is about 5 so far.

Even recent efforts like Myschool – here is is a whole lot of data that can be interpreted in different ways. Why not open up API’s or alternative access to the data sets, so that the data can be accessed in different ways other than to meet the governments agenda

Of course, none of this will happen with any consequence until there is real enabling of the ublic Service. A Case in point – I am in Qld, and have attended local forums on ENterprise Architecture. It’s not unusual to see 90 or more EA’s from Government departments, sitting there, but the only ones willing to engage discussion on anything are from the private sector.

THis reflects in some of the deployments that are being seen in IT in the public sector. The Qld Health $40M growing to $100M payroll fiasco. The Victorian Edu ($80M) system that fell on it’s nose earlier this week. These sorts of screwups do not give the general population or the MP’s the comfort that the industry knows what it is doing.

What we also see as almost endemic in the IT of the Public Service is the “not invented here” syndrome. I have seen govt projects, where there are robust international standards in place on the data models relevant to them, and the gov departments in question aren’t even aware of these standards ( yet they come up on the first page if you google the words in the title of the local government project). Gov 2.0 working is equally dependent on ongoing international engagement, at both tactical and strategic levels. I don’t see that happening to the extent that it should.

I come from a background of high level and extremely robust software development. I have “done time” in Operating System Development for a “Propietary OS” for which quality and reliability were non-negotiable. I have worked on HealthCare Technology where people die, if you get it wrong, and Telco environments where the clients expect “dial tone” every time the pick up the handsets. Scalability, Robustness and Versaility of Software are “in my DNA” to steal a quote from the last QLD ALP Campaign. What we are seeing so far, doesn’t cut it.

Robert van Aalst
Robert van Aalst
13 years ago

Agree that Kate Lundy is without peer in being an active and visible advocate of Gov 2.0 philosophies. That said, other champions will rise and come to the fore, but I do hope that should the Gillard Government be returned that Senator Lundy is rewarded for all her efforts to date.

13 years ago

For the Greens Scott Ludlam has been pretty consistent in his understanding of tech policy. I haven’t heard anything specific from them, but the Green MPs website does have lolcat 404 error pages.


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