August 16, 2005 | Graham

eDemocracy or eBureaucracy

Who or what is eDemocracy about? That’s a question I posed to a panel at the United Nations International Conference on Engaging Communities currently being held in Brisbane. I’ve been to a few conferences on eDemocracy recently and one thing always strikes me – there are generally no politicians there, apart from the ones filling official duties like openings and closings.
The only honourable exception at yesterday’s panel discussion was Dr Lesley Clark, MLA for Barron River.
What appears to have happened is a case of “bureaucratic capture” or what I termed “eBureaucracy” as opposed to “eDemocracy”. eDemocracy, at least as it is currently practised in Australia is by the public service, for the public service and of the public service. The administrative arm of government has the resources, and the politicians are inadvertently sidelined.
What excited me most about the Internet when I started On Line Opinion was the potential to marry up electors and representatives, but with few exceptions (which include our epetitions site), that is not yet happening. One reason is that parliamentarians lack the resources, and the tools to use the ‘net properly. Millions are spent on departmental websites, but virtually nothing is allocated to parliamentarians’ websites.
As a result of my question I exchanged a few business cards, and one of those that I now have in my possession is from David Hume of Crossing Boundaries a Canadian initiative supported by their Federal and State Governments and other government related entities. It appears to have the vital elected member ingredient.
The panel discussion included Stephen Coleman the Oxford University Professor of eDemocracy, Ann Steward, the Australian Government’s Chief Information Officer, Martin Stewart-Weeks from Cisco Systems and Guido Bertucci from the UN’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management.
Martin Stewart-Weeks spoke to a written paper which I will upload later in the week.

Posted by Graham at 11:54 am | Comments (4) |
Filed under: eDemocracy


  1. That’s all very nice, Graham, but meanwhile your site has been overrun with racists, homophobes, fundamentalist Christians and other bigots. At the same time, you censor others for citing Gough Whitlam or being ‘snide’ in trying to argue against the vilification that you are responsible for publishing.
    I respectfully submit that, while you publish a lively site that is an Internet platform for the loopy far right, this in itself by no means qualifies you as an authority on eDemocracy.

    Comment by garra — August 18, 2005 @ 9:33 pm

  2. You’d rather I publish a site for the loopy far left rather than one which welcomes a wide range of opinions, including yours if you would obey the rules?

    Comment by Graham Young — August 19, 2005 @ 10:05 am

  3. I usually prefer to delete flames, but in this case that would be letting the terrorists win. And we can’t have that.

    Comment by Benno — August 19, 2005 @ 8:27 pm

  4. certainly agree with you on e-bureaucracy, mostly they like to talk to themselves.
    e-dem is whatever we make it, and I enjoy reading the nutty right along with the loopy left. helps me to identify the enemies.

    Comment by sarah M — August 22, 2005 @ 5:46 pm

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