The Australian federal government is seriously evaluating the pros and cons of Web blogs as it looks to enhance consultation and citizen engagement.
Special Minister of State Gary Nairn told a conference in July that he might establish an e-government blog as the government evaluates the potential of new Web 2.0 technologies to revolutionize interactions between citizens and government.
Blogs could speed up consultation and enable the government and other citizens to analyze and debate issues in reasonable detail
"Questions such as whether they should be moderated? How do we ensure the posted content is actually posted by the government? And to what extent do they facilitate serious consideration of issues, must all be answered.
"However, blogs are another means for government to seek feedback from citizens on major programs or topics of interest to Australians.
"Blogs could speed up consultation and enable the government and other citizens to analyze and debate issues in reasonable detail."
The announcement comes as political journalists are positioning this year's federal election as the "YouTube election" as various politicians make forays into MySpace and YouTube in a bid to capture the youth vote.
It also comes a month after users has increased the focus and interest in this area. However Nairn says the government has been actively doing the groundwork for some time:
- In this area we are evaluating the option of establishing government Web-log (or blog) sites. For example, I may establish an e-government blog.
- An intermediate step on the way to blogs will be the voluntary publication of the feedback that government receives on a range of documents that it releases for public comment.
- This enables a more transparent understanding of the detail behind different stakeholder inputs to a range of issues that the government has under consideration.
- It will lead to a richer engagement and more detailed discussion on issues than what is possible via short meetings or conference calls.
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