ACT Politicians at the Bleeding Edge

Party politics aside, when it comes to needing the help of a local representative, most of us are rarely disappointed. Maybe the outcome doesn't necessarily suit us, but my experience of being an active adult citizen for the past 21 years has not provided a single instance of poor form from a local representative.

But in the ACT, many local representatives (of all political parties) are moving toward the 'bleeding edge' of technology and actively engaging with citizens. This presents advantages and disadvantages for politicians.

I have always been an advocate of the Net as a great freedom machine. A place to find information that was previously limited to professionals; a public sphere which provides accessibility to more citizens (who tend to be overwhelmed by work and family commitments) than can be found in face-to-face engagement.

While undertaking my undergraduate degree (online at Deakin University) in the 1990s, I was struck by the power of the Net. One of my lecturers, Dr Andrew Vandenberg, was working on the ideas of cyber-citizenship at the time. But much of what we discussed in the mid-1990s was only a pipe dream then.

So it is pleasing to see that advances in technology are making those early ruminations a reality. However, as we have seen with the Fake Stephen Conroys et al, there are many issues to be worked through.

The good news is that in the ACT, many of our representatives are at the 'bleeding edge' of technology adoption. This is a brave move on their part: while following the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader may be passe, it is much more involved for politicians without the resources of more senior representatives.

More on this later, it seems that putting together a list of politicians who are already engaged in New Media is a good place to start. If you know of any, I would appreciate you posting the links as comments. Segregating the real representatives from the fakes is a necessary first step - any ideas how this could be done are most welcome!


Kate Lundy said…
The resources issue is a live one for me. It remains to be seen how much is needed to be useful and effective online. Similar to you it was in the 90's (not at uni but working for a union) that I became completely absorbed by the potential of the internet. After I was elected, I visited The Centre for Democracy and Technology in Washington DC that really opened my eyes for cyberdemocracy. I like your blog.
Thanks Kate. These are interesting times. I think those who are involved in the early stages will achieve deeper learning of the potential and a richer experience than those who wait. Makes me wonder if 'catching up' later will be possible? Thanks for the link, will check it out now. Cheers, Michael.