Yesterday, Saturday July 18, I spoke at Barcamp Brisbane on some impressions from the Public Sphere #2 event Government 2.0: Policy and Practice workshop held a few weeks ago in the Australian National Capital, Canberra and shared some thoughts about more local possibilities, especially at Queensland State Government level.

There is a two part video record, made on my Flip camera – the audio is poor, because I forgot to tell Steve who was filming that the camera needed to be closer to where I was standing. It is audible, just.

Click here to play the first of the two videos.
Click here to play the second of the two videos.

I have endeavoured to capture, in the notes that follow, the main points that came up during the session (i.e. you don’t need to watch the videos to get the gist :).

At the Government 2.0 workshop in Canberra, Federal Government Ministers the Hon. Lindsay Tanner – Finance and Deregulation – and Queensland Senator The Hon. Joe Ludwig – Special Minister of State – launched the Government 2.0 Task Force, with a brief to report to Government by year’s end.


The Government 2.0 Task Force was up and running on the day of the workshop with its own blog and has a Twitter hashtag #gov2au. Chair Dr Nicholas Gruen spoke briefly at the workshop and gave every indication the Task Force would be very open to inputs.

In the period since the workshop in Canberra, people have been contributing, via wiki, to the development of a briefing paper to be submitted to the Task Force.

The Task Force is seeking written submissions to assist in the development of an issues paper: deadline is the start of business Monday 24th of August. There is a document on the Task Force site which includes detailed guidelines about submissions for the issues paper, and the current content of issues paper.

The Task Force has money

It will be able to fund initiatives and incentives which may achieve or demonstrate how to accomplish government 2.0 objectives.

New South Wales Government member and blogger Penny Sharpe MLC attended the Canberra event and is coordinating a NSW publicsphere event – Twitter hashtag #nswsphere

What about some Queensland demonstration or pilot projects?

In Brisbane yesterday I suggested it would make sense to have some State-specific focus in Queensland, on the issues being examined by the Task Force (and see the point above about the Task Force having money – although on reflection my thought bubble at the time that the Task Force might help fund a seminar in Qld should probably have copped a click on the Delete button: as a public servant I learned how quickly project funds could be swallowed up in funding seminars).

In terms of getting some action in Qld, I pointed to the presence on the Task Force of at least three people with significant Queensland connections in the IT/digital space, Professor Brian Fitzgerald, Dr Ian Reinecke and Dr David Solomon.

At least one other person present agreed with me that Professor Brian Fitzgerald would be an excellent first point of contact to discuss how best to proceed.

I suggested also that it would be great if the Queensland Government could be encouraged to get Senator Lundy and her adviser Pia Waugh, a prime mover for the Canberra event, to visit Queensland and share their experience at the national level.

I suggested too that it would be good to look at Brisbane City Council and the Government 2.0 issues at the level of local government.

Sharing the story

I mentioned too the question/challenge put to me by Senator Kate Lundy at the conclusion of my presentation in Canberra, asking how people – e.g. parliamentarians and public sector managers – not familiar with the technologies and processes could learn. I thought the suggestion at Barcamp to establish a kind of mentoring program was brilliant: the phrase “adopt a parliamentarian” might not gain traction, but I certainly liked the underlying idea.

I hope that covers the main points of background and foreground from the session yesterday. I welcome clarification, amplification, challenge etc by way of the comments function.

Hannah Suarez has posted a neat summary of her experience of Barcamp Brisbane yesterday.

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