Gov 2.0 Events :  Gov 2.0 Expo  •  Gov 2.0 Summit

#gov2au Lessons from Down Under: How Australia is Leading the World in Gov 2.0

Open Data and Web Services
Location: Room 201
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Government 2.0 comprises much greater transparency of data and the use of Web 2.0 tools to draw citizens into collaboration with government. Australia was a leader in openness of data in the early 2000s but lost its lead to other countries – preeminently the U.S. But Australia has a long tradition of citizen engagement and civic participation as well as collaboration across government agencies, which has laid the foundation for a recently accelerated adoption of Gov2.0 methods and strategies in these areas. The recent Australian Government 2.0 Taskforce has also set a high benchmark for other nations through its innovative use of Web 2.0 tools, transparency of process and online engagement activities.

The Australian experience will be a great way for expo participants to get a fresh take on the cluster of issues which determine success and failure in Government 2.0. Of course Australia is different in many respects, but an understanding of these differences in politics, governance, and culture provide the key to applying the lessons elsewhere. Key factors include compulsory voting, public political donations and early adoption of new technologies. Our panelists will outline the lessons of their respective experiences in the Gov2.0 project with reference to these factors (5 minutes each). They will then engage the audience to identify Australian innovations and best practices that can complement those in the U.S., in order to inform Gov2.0 practices in both countries.

The remainder of this abstract provides a summary of the efforts of our four panelists and how they relate to this theme.

Panelist: Dr Nicholas Gruen

Title: Inquiries 2.0.

Abstract: In chairing the “Government 2.0 Taskforce” for the Australian Government Nicholas Gruen both articulated and exemplified a new approach to government inquiries which used Web 2.0 tools to an unprecendented degree.

This presentation will explore the ‘Inquiries 2.0’ concept which included:

Inviting the community to participate and to actively collaborate in thinking through the issues; Involving numerous international leaders in the deliberation of the taskforce; Surface challenges the taskforce was facing so that the inquiry focused on dealing with those challenges as soon as possible rather than obtaining absolute consensus on all matters before moving forward; Involve the community in building the tools to further the Taskforce’s work as it proceeded with mashups of data and the building of Government 2.0 plugins for the blog; Lower the cost and increase the speed with which a quality result could be achieved.

Former New Zealand CIO Lawrence Millar pronounced the idea of Inquiries 2.0 as outlined on the Taskforce’s blog as a “brilliant idea” which “IMHO justifies the establishment of the Taskforce” on its own. Tom Watson MP, the former UK Minister for Transformational Government called the draft report “deeply impressive”, and Andrea DiMaio of Gartner International calling the draft report “the best piece of work I have seen any government organization (and most vendors and consultants) do about this topic.”

Panelist: Dr Mark Elliott

Title: Strategic Collaborative Engagement

Abstract: A growing number of Australian governments and public sector agencies are using Government 2.0 processes to undertake new modes of public engagement in order to overcome limitations of traditional community consultation, or to open up new opportunities to participate.

Creating successful collaborative engagement outcomes requires careful consideration of how best to bring the various participants together to work towards a common objective. There is a tendency for organisations to focus exclusively on the tools and technologies with the mindset, ‘build it and they will come’. In order to ensure that they do in fact ‘come’ and contribute to the desired outcome, Collabforge uses unique frameworks in order to 1) match the best tool to the processes being administered, and 2) develop the appropriate strategic materials for effective community engagement.

This presentation will provide an overview of Collabforge’s approach to strategic collaborative engagement through client case studies including:, the City of Melbourne’s world-first, award winning, wiki-based city plan, opening up collaboration to city officers, councillors, stakeholders and public participants located globally.

Victorian Public Secor (VPS) Hub, a world-first, Web 2.0 driven whole of state government intranet., Parks Victoria’s organisation-wide, collaborative public engagement Web 2.0 platform and related engagement strategy.

Panelist: Senator Kate Lundy

Title: Gov 2.0 in Australia: Building the foundations for open government

Abstract: Senator Kate Lundy will outline her recent “Public Spheres” initiative which takes government policy development online for more citizen involvement, transparency & better policy outcomes. She will also discuss the pillars of open government & some important technical principles to underpin Gov 2.0.

This presentation will showcase Senator Lundy’s experiences as a case study, and will lay down the policy and technical principles she has found to be most important for Gov 2.0. She will also briefly cover what is happening in Australia more broadly, the difference between Gov 2.0 for political offices and government administration
(departments and agencies), and finally what she sees as the core opportunity this provides us as a society to design the government of tomorrow, together.

Panelist: Pat McCormick

Title: The Victorian State Government Innovation Action Plan and Justice 2.0

Abstract: Pat McCormick will discuss Victorian Government Gov 2.0 initiatives within the VPS Innovation Action Plan and the Department of Justice Online Services Strategy as case studies, citing key challenges and opportunities, lessons learned and outcomes to date.

Gov 2.0 is empowered by technology and the Internet but it begins and thrives with people, ideas, organizations and culture. Like governments around the world, the Victorian State Government faces rising community expectations and increasingly complex, interlinked policy challenges amidst severe economic constraints. These factors, coupled with new technologies that help us communicate and collaborate in new ways, have driven new innovation initiatives within the Victorian Public Service (VPS).

Victoria’s Justice Department has been using various Web 2.0 technologies since 2008, with key objectives in mind including to help respond to Black Saturday bushfires, reduce the impact of problem gambling, tackle excessive drinking, show public support for emergency service volunteers, help people assess their level of fire season readiness, and demonstrate transparency around speed cameras.

Photo of Nicholas Gruen

Nicholas Gruen

Government 2.0 Taskforce (Australia)

Policy Economist, newspaper columnist and financial entrepreneur

Photo of Mark Elliott

Mark Elliott


Dr Mark Elliott is Director and founder of Collabforge. As chief consultant for Collabforge, Mark has successfully designed and managed a range of high profile Gov 2.0 projects working closely with clients in a highly versatile and collaborative capacity.

In late 2007 through mid 2008, Mark led Collabforge’s reengineering of the City of Melbourne’s ten-year planning process, in order to enable a collaborative outcome across its large and diverse stakeholder groups. This reengineering also provided for the successful integration of a wiki-based collaborative environment, for both internal collaboration and external public consultation. The result was an award-winning, world’s first city plan to be developed in a wiki –

Prior to founding Collabforge, Mark completed a PhD investigating the underlying dynamics and mechanisms that drive and enable online mass collaboration. The objective of this work was to provide understandings that could be directly applied to the purposeful engineering of mass collaborative projects and the communities that support them. Mark’s PhD was examined by Internet luminary and inventor of the term ‘virtual communities’, Howard Rheingold, as well as Francis Heylighen, a leading thinker in the areas of cybernetics and complex adaptive systems. “Read more about Mark’s PhD >>”:

Photo of Patrick McCormick

Patrick McCormick

Department of Justice, Victoria

As Manager, Digital Engagement in the Strategic Communication Branch of the Department of Justice, Pat is managing a business transformation program of internal and external online initiatives and providing advice, analysis and consultation on the effective use of new media and emerging technology across the Justice portfolio.

Prior to joining the Victoria Department of Justice in December 2009, Pat was principal policy adviser at the State Services Authority where he managed the development of a Victorian Public Service Innovation Action Plan for the Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Previously Pat worked as a senior consultant at the Nous Group, a management consultancy providing expertise in strategy and public policy, information management and technology, organisational capability and leadership. Before relocating to Australia in 2006, Pat worked as a government CIO and ICT industry executive in the Boston area in the U.S.

Pat has a Master of Public Administration from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California Berkeley.

Photo of Kate Lundy

Kate Lundy

ACT, Australian Goverment

Senator Kate Lundy has represented the Australian Capital Territory in the Senate in the Australian Federal Parliament as a member of the Australian Labor Party since 1996.

She held many portfolios in opposition including Information Technology, Manufacturing, Consumer Affairs, Local Government, Sport and Health Promotion.

Elected for the fifth time, as part of the Rudd Labor Government Senator Lundy is currently Chair of the Joint Standing Committee for the National Capital and External Territories and a long-standing active member of the Senate Environment, Communications and the Arts Committee. She is also one of the Federal Parliament’s representatives on the Advisory Council of the National Archive of Australia.

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