Public Sphere #2 – Government 2.0: Policy and Practice

Friday, May 29th, 2009 @ 8:47AM

UPDATE: The briefing paper was finalised on the 22nd July and is available both on the Wiki (which includes change logging), and in a prettified PDF with photos, graphs and a mind map. All recommendations were put into an endorsement system for quality assurance and potentially prioritisation. Please see the blog post for more information.

UPDATE: The Live Wall is now closed, however you can find the event photos on Flickr, the liveblogging (by Craig Thomler, Des Walsh and Nathanael Boehm, the videos in the schedule below, and the #publicsphere Twitter stream will be included in the briefing paper which is open for public comment 30th June 2009.

Please note the video below will not work with older version of Flash (version 9 appears to not work, version 10 appears to work). Computers in Parliament House are expected to be upgraded to version 10 soon.

Welcome to the 2nd Public Sphere topic – Government 2.0: policy and practice for Australia. An initiative by Senator Kate Lundy.

Government 2.0 is a rising topic of debate across the world. Trends in technology, media and public opinion have made it both more possible and more necessary for governments to reconsider what and how information is made freely available to the public.

This Public Sphere event will gather views on how creating an even more participatory form of government in Australia will improve the effectiveness of public administration, enable communities to better help themselves, promote renewed engagement in the democratic process and enhance our capacity to respond to emerging complex social, geopolitical and environmental challenges. We expect the topic and resulting event to bring together government practitioners and decision-makers, and interested parties outside of government.

What is a Public Sphere? A “Public Sphere” is a space that “…through the vehicle of public opinion it puts the state in touch with the needs of society” [2]. This kind of engagement in public policy is a great way to represent different views and harness a broad range of expertise, particularly on topical issues of the day.

All contributions to Public Sphere topics are published openly for public access and peer review by the public, interest groups and officials. Comments are welcomed on all of the issues and ideas put forward.

How to participate in a Public Sphere topic

  • Post comments, links to papers, case studies and ideas to the blog post comments – comments will be summarised and presented at the event as part of the proceedings.
  • Blog with the tag publicsphere or Public Sphere and Twitter with #publicsphere so we can find your ideas and post them below.
  • You can also contribute to the topic through our web form or sending us a letter, but please note all topic correspondence will be published here on the topic blog.
  • Run your own events and post your outcomes here in the comments.
  • Join us for our short workshop event, which will be streamed online so you can participate remotely.
  • Volunteer to give a (maximum) 15 minute talk (including questions) at the Public Sphere Camp event by adding your name and topic to the comments at the bottom of this post.

Please note – links to the Twitter feed, video feed and liveblogging on the day will be made available on this page on the day.

All content and ideas are then presented on a one day event – the Public Sphere Camp – and anyone is welcome to propose a 15 minute (including questions) talk in the comments of this blog. There will also be a few talks accepted on the day, and discussion encouraged between participants both local and remote.

Anyone is welcome to attend the Public Sphere Camp, however seats are limited in the physical component of the event which will be in Parliament House (Canberra, ACT – details on registration page). Anyone will be able to see streaming video online and participate in the event discussion via Twitter, and we will ensure there is liveblogging on the day to also help capture the ideas presented on the day, and to capture external feedback on those ideas.

Input to the Public Sphere topic – including to the Public Sphere Camp event – is then collated in a briefing paper via a wiki and participants are welcome to contribute to help make the briefing paper as useful and concise as possible to the appropriate channels in Government. A draft briefing paper will be put on the wiki and published to this Public Sphere topic where it will be publicly modifiable for 2 weeks after the event, after which we will finalise the post the final briefing paper to this topic.

This Public Sphere event for this topic is being done in consultation with the community, in particular the Gov20 group in Canberra. We will approaching the actual topic event with elements from both the Public Sphere and Bar Camp methodologies, hence the name “Public Sphere Camp”. The event schedule will be coordiinated by Senator Lundy’s office and some members from the Gov20 group.

Public Sphere Camp Outline

The schedule is divided into:

  1. Morning session – Government policy, engagement and leadership – this session is meant to discuss, and discovery policy, engagement and leadership opportunities around Government 2.0, as well as issues that limit the capacity for Government 2.0.
  2. Afternoon session – Government systems, standards, data and best practices – this session is meant to be more technical, the coming together of Gov2.0 practitioners to share ideas and stories, and to identify challenging areas to innovation and openness in implementing Government 2.0.

The schedule below consists of self-selected speakers who proposed talks on the blog, as well as some special guests we invited to share their thoughts. It is a very full schedule and we stopped taking new talks on Monday 15th June. Thank you to everyone who has submitted a talk! Please remeber everyone can contribute to this topic on the blog comments below, or on the day via Twitter or comments on the liveblogging.


Please note the talks marked with an * are pre-recorded videos. Transcriptions should be done by the end of June 2009.

Time Who Role Subject
0900 Senator Kate Lundy Senator for the ACT Opening remarks and welcome.
Video & transcript
0905 William Perrin Secretary of the Power of Information Taskforce Gov 2.0 in the UK: Policy and Status *.
Transcript and Original video from the day
0915 Michael de Percy University of Canberra Citizen Engagement & Policy Learning: Forming, storming, norming and performing
Video, slides, transcript, & blog post
0930 James Dellow Headshift If it isn’t broken, why fix it?
Video, slides & transcript.
0945 Stephen Collins Founder Acidlabs What culture change is needed for Government 2.0?
Videoslides & transcript
1000   Break and networking  
1015 Des Walsh Former APS and NSW public servant Why parliamentarians and public sector managers need to participate actively in social media (briefing papers and slideshows won’t cut it).
Video, slides & transcript.
1030 Lynelle Briggs APS Commissioner All those who stand and wait – putting citizens at the centre. Citizen-centric public engagement
Video & transcript.
1040 Martin Stewart-Weeks eGovernment Head CISCO New models of public governance in The Connected Republic.
Video, slides & transcript.
1055 Dr Owen Cameron Program Manager, CCRSPI (Climate Change Research Strategy for Primary Industry) Coordinator, Primary Industry Adaptation Research Network New media and NRM policy consultation – meeting, listening and hearing to enhance service delivery.
Video, slides & transcript.
1110   Break and networking  
1130 Minister Tanner Minister for Finance and Deregulation The Rudd Government and the Government 2.0 agenda.
Video & transcript.
1130 Minister Ludwig Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary The Rudd Government and the Government 2.0 agenda.
Video & transcript.
1120 Professor Brian Fitzgerald Professor of Intellectual Property and Innovation, QUT Copyright Strategies for Government 2.0.
Video, slides & transcript.
1130 Peter McEvoy Executive Producer Q&A Old media/New media – tools for political engagement
Video & transcript
1200   Lunch  
1240 Nicholas Gruen Chair of the Government 2.0 Taskforce Impromptu Q&A about the new Government 2.0 Taskforce.
Video & transcript.
1250 Justin Freeman Agileware Bringing Web 2.0 to Defence and other Government agencies.
Video, slides & transcript.
1255 Zachary Zeus BizCubed Open Tools for Open Government
Video, slides & transcript.
1300 Raul Vera Engineering Manager, Google Victorian bushfires case study: Lessons learned for online public engagement
Video, slides & transcript.
1315 Nerida Hart LWA Case study: Knowledge for Regional Natural Resource Management program
Video, slides & transcript.
1330 Marghanita da Cruz Consultant Local Community Engagement 2.0
Video, slides & transcript.
1345 Reem Abdelaty & Diana Mounter Local Government Web Network Challenges in Local Government (NSW) with regard to Gov 2.0, community engagement and other aspects of government online
Video, slides & transcript.
1400   Break and networking  
1410 Matthew Landauer OpenAustralia Open access to government data, open source software in government
Video, slides & transcript.
1425 Damien Donnelly TweetMP Ways of increasing civic engagement through Twitter
Video, slides & transcript.
1430 Ben Searle Office of Spatial Data Management Spatial data for Gov 2.0 – the role of Government
Video, slides & transcript.
1445 Roxanne Missingham The Parliamentary Library APH website – Federal experience of digital engagement with citizens
Video & transcript.
1500 Dr Crispin Butteriss Bang the Table Bang the Table – Local government experience with online public consultation
Video, slides & transcript
1510   Afternoon tea  
1525 Andrew Boyd Independent consultant The importance of user experience in Government 2.0
Video, slides & transcript.
1540 Sally Rose Open Forum National Human Rights Committee online forum
Video & transcript.
1555 James Purser Collaborynth Open source, Open standards, Open Government
Video, slides & transcript.
1610   Break and networking  
1620 John Shanahan CEO Colmar Brunton Online communities – linking the citizens and customers into decision making in a totally new way.
Video, slides & transcript.
1625 Kevin Cox GreenID Identity by presence versus identity by name. *
Video, slides & transcript.
1630 Shoaib Burq GeoLabs Opening of geographic data
Video, slides & transcript.
1635 John Haining Director of Innovation for Michael Johnson Associates Helping government understand the Web 2.0 needs of businesses.
Video, slides & transcript.
1640 Mark Spain Global Learning Community participation in building a sustainable future.
Video, slides & transcript.
1645 Tom Worthington Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the ANU m-Government 2.0 – Making government accessible online on your phone.
Video, slides & transcript.
1700 Senator Kate Lundy Senator for the ACT Closing remarks and farewell
Video & transcript.

Public Sphere Camp event details

  • Topic: Government 2.0: Policy and Practice
  • Date: 22nd June 2009
  • Schedule: Will be linked below by the 20th June. To follow basic schedule outline above. Involves but short 15 minute talks with simultaneous online discussion and questions. A small number of on the day talks will be accepted.
  • Place: Parliament House, Canberra, ACT – full details on the RSVP page. All attendees must be signed in and escorted, so please meet in the main entrance foyer.
  • Internet: Will of course be available for attendees, details on the day.
  • Coffee and refreshments: Available for sale at the Parliament House cafe.
  • Parking or Transport: Public free parking available at Parliament House.
  • Time: 8.30am for a 9am start till 5pm.
  • Social Media: Twitter: #publicsphere or blog: publicsphere or ”Public Sphere”. Post questions on the day to #publicsphere prepended with “QUESTION: “. Liveblogging will also be happening where non-Twitters can post comments into the liveblog interface. Will be linked closer to the day.
  • Video/audio stream for the day: Details to be announced closer to the event.
  • RSVP: UPDATE – as of the 16th June, the physical event is completely booked out! Please return to this page to click through for the video feed, liveblogging and Twitter chatter on the day (22nd June).

We look forward to your participation in this very important topic, in person or online. And thank you for your support in developing this mechanism for public engagement in the political process.

A personal thanks to the many communities who have and are contributing to this Public Sphere, and to several individuals from the community who have assisted with ideas, collaboration and direct support. Many thanks to Stephen Collins, Rae Buerckner, Andrew Boyd & Craig Thomler. I’ve linked to their Twitter accounts which also links to their other websites.

UPDATE: We have slightly modified the event name from “Open Government” to “Government 2.0″ as we believe this is more inclusive, and represents a broader range of issues including process, policy and technology reforms that result in a more open and participatory government.

UPDATE 2: Event completely booked out as of the 16th June. Please return to this page to click through for the video feed, liveblogging and Twitter chatter on the day (22nd June).

This event was generously sponsored by:

Share this page

    Posted by
    Categories: Public Sphere 2: Government 2.0, Video
    Tags: , , ,

    117 Comments to "Public Sphere #2 - Government 2.0: Policy and Practice" add comment
    Des Walsh
    June 23, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    We need to make sure this is noted (thanks to Damien Donelly for picking it up) on Twitter yesterday #publicsphere trended higher than #utegate“publicsphere%2C+utegate”

    Iain Wicking
    June 23, 2009 at 3:36 pm


    This is all very well. However, aside from the cultural challenges of sharing information across government silos and between governments, business and citizens there is one other very large challenge.

    We actually need a new way of building the type of real time secure ‘network appliances’ that make information sharing and collaboration meaningful. Our current way of constructing applications is broken and ‘off the self’ (OTS) means an ill fitting jigsaw of ‘components’. OTS barely supports government back office services and has no chance of supporting mid office and front office services – the reason for a department’s existence. For the larger government department front office applications are built as very costly large set piece projects that run into hundreds of millions of dollars and will cost many millions more to change if the department’s role changes and/or new legislation is enacted – any wholesale changes in the tax system will probably require a significant rewrite of the current system.
    Changing the current broken approach to application construction and ICT services delivery is not really a technical one as the technology to change the way applications are constructed exists – it removes the human being from the development phase completely.

    The real challenge thought is a human and organisational one – addressing the vested interests (software vendors, government budget owners, etc) as large scale real time ‘network appliances’ eliminate multiple data centres, ICT teams and fundamentally changes the way we share information and own IP.

    Martin Boyce
    June 23, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    I’m really excited by the idea of the ‘Public Sphere’. congratulations to all involved in yesterday’s event. I’ve posted my thoughts about how libraries can add value to the Government 2.0 process on the NSW reference librarians blog. thanks again.

    James Purser
    June 23, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Hi Iain,

    To a great extent I agree with you. Part of the problem has been trying to fit square pegs into round holes and the getting surprised when something doesn’t work because you’ve had to knock corners off to make it fit.

    I think Government would be best served by following a model that puts them firmly in control of the tools they require to operate. This is why I think Open Source is important. It allows the Government to tap into a greater community of developers while at the same time keeping a firm eye on their end goals in terms of functionality and usage.

    For a good example of this I would point out It’s a community of Councils, Regional Governments and others who have similar needs and recognised that they would be best served by developing a common platform. Based on the Open Source Plone CMS they started to extend it and use it.

    Imagine this in Australia? Imagine Local Governments developing their own platforms at their own pace. This isn’t going to remove the need for outside consultants, far from it, however it will shift the focus for some from “what can I sell” to “what can I do”

    Rae Buerckner
    June 26, 2009 at 10:24 am
    Stephen Collins
    June 26, 2009 at 10:33 am

    As requested by Pia on Twitter.

    My presentation transcript and slides –

    My post-event blog post –

    I have also republished both pieces on Govloop, which is worth joining. If you do, please join the Australian Gov 2.0 group there –

    Silvia Pfeiffer
    June 26, 2009 at 10:41 am

    I would have loved to come and I would have pointed out and the many effective means of transparency enabled with video. Great work on the video front, btw!

    Silvia Pfeiffer
    June 26, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    I should add that I spend the weekend in New York at the Open Video Conference: . Lots of talks about more transparency and freedom to innovate around video. Even had the Public Sphere concept mentioned there! Should really help Kate & Pia set up the video publication using HTML5 tag and Ogg Theora, so I started speaking to the WordPress guys (or rather: the Videopress guys) about it. :-)

    James Dellow
    June 26, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    I’ve posted my slides with some notes about my presentation (and also the ‘Bronze Age Orientation’ video) to the Headshift Australasia blog here:
    You will also find links to the Government 2.0 events I mentioned that are taking place in Sydney over the next few weeks.

    Rae Buerckner
    June 26, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Slightly controversial but relevant article

    Pia Waugh
    June 26, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Videos and slides now available in a video slideshow at the top of this page, and linked from the schedule.

    Ben Searle
    June 26, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    The Gov2.0 Task Force has the opportunity to make a significant difference in relation to access to PSI. Addtionally, it can build on the existing policy and infrastrucuture established for spatial data in 2001. A governance structure, licencing and tools to capture details of data already exist and can be modified to support both spatial and non spatial data.

    In addition to this, the Task Force can ensure that when Australian Government funds are used to support activities including data collection by the states and territory’s as well as by non government agencies that the data is described in a standard way and also is provided back to the Australian Government. This is not always the case at present and much of this data could potentially be released to the community.

    Michael de Percy
    June 26, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Great video from Public Sphere #2 – well done!

    I have posted my sides and a blog post about my presentation here:



    James Purser
    June 26, 2009 at 5:11 pm
    Darren Sharp
    June 28, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Would have been great to attend Public Sphere 2 to share Collabforge’s experience working with the City of Melbourne to develop the Future Melbourne wiki to enable anybody to read, discuss and directly edit the city’s strategic plan, representing a world-first on this scale and a significant step towards collaborative governance.

    The City of Melbourne’s decision to use a wiki was initially driven by the desire to engage more closely with the residents and users of the city and to also utilise wider knowledge networks than ever before. The Future Melbourne model involved a wide array of authors from both within and outside the City of Melbourne who could each provide unique knowledge and ideas. The possibilities of the wiki technology allowed these authors to collaboratively develop the draft plan.

    The decision to enable public editing flowed naturally after settling on the wiki platform. Directly and creatively engaging the city’s residents, workers, students and visitors in the plan’s development was an essential requirement driving the project’s success.

    You can learn more about the project here:

    Cath Styles
    June 28, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Thanks, Pia, Kate and everyone else for organising this forum – the future feels brighter for it.

    Related to Tim’s comment above, an obvious first step on the path toward Government 2.0 is to create a visualisation of what the government (in all its forms does).


    Pia Waugh
    June 30, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Wiki page added with draft Public Sphere 2 briefing paper:

    Not all data integrated yet, however a good starting point, and we’ll finish integrating all the Twitter feed, liveblogging and external blog ideas likely tomorrow. In the meantime, participants, speakers and the general public are encouraged to check it out, add their 2c, add links for evidence, case studies and blog posts, and generally help make this briefing paper a significant contribution to the new Government 2.0 Taskforce.