Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, and Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner, have launched a joint blog to canvass opinions on the future of Australia’s digital economy.
The blog is open to public comment for two weeks and is one of the first trials to be conducted by the Federal Government. It will be monitored by the Australian Government Information Management Office.
The blog’s introduction notes the Ministers expect some negative comments and criticism with posts being made every “couple of days”. Questions to be posted will range from ‘What does the digital economy encompass?’ to ‘How can we measure the success of Australia's digital economy?’.
Head of consulting for analyst firm Intermedium, Kevin Noonan, welcomed the move but cautioned the success of the blog would depend on how well it is monitored in the face of efforts by interest groups.
“They are absolutely right to be trialling it and coming up with a whole-of-government approach to it because the real issue with blogs in government is not so much the technology, but the fact that at the end of the day it is democracy in action,” he said. “The subtleties of how you moderate the discussion really become quite critical.
“It is a question of how does the technology translate into democracy in Australia. We can’t just take the way it works in the US, Britain or Europe is not necessarily the way it should work in Australia.”
In the first post, Tanner, acknowledged the blog’s trial status and the inexperience of Federal Government in adopting Web 2.0 technologies.
“We realise we're not trail blazers here – know that there's nothing new about governments blogging, and that many jurisdictions have been doing so for some time,” Tanner wrote. “But instead of simply copying overseas models we are keen to gather as much evidence as we possibly can about how Australians want to engage online.”