Friday, 19 June 2009

Can Australian civic culture accommodate Gov 2.0?

On Monday 22 June, I will be speaking at Senator Kate Lundy's 'Public Sphere #2: Government 2.0' at Parliament House in Canberra. Program details are available here.

The ideas for my presentation are developed from my work at the University of Canberra where I have been experimenting with new media in teaching and research for some time. My experience from numerous consultations with community groups and involvement in social media also informs the ideas outlined in the slideshow below:
I am not convinced that Australia's civic culture sits comfortably with open government and online policy engagement. While there are plenty of interested citizens and groups, my prediction is that there will be a period of 'cultural' upheaval as citizens (who historically have not been involved in formal democratic processes) gain greater access to government.

The demands of citizens will arguably multiply as citizens come to expect more opportunities for active engagement with governments at all levels. This trend, which has commenced in the US, will no doubt permeate the news media as events unfold there. In the meantime (and enabled by new media), blocking citizens from accessing government information will be like holding back the proverbial tide.

But the education sector has a significant role to play in providing citizens with the skills to become effective participants in open government. One of the major challenges is that educational institutions are part of the fabric of Australian civic culture. Indeed, I would argue that a culture of openness is yet to develop in our educational institutions.

How we meet these challenges will require significant cultural change. How we get there means there are very interesting times ahead.

Creative Commons License Except where indicated otherwise, Le Flâneur Politique by Michael de Percy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License. Based on a work at politicalscience.com.au. Background image ©Depositphotos.com/ @redshinestudio