The Network at the Heart of Democracy

Last week Thursday I had the pleasure of presenting the opening keynote at the annual System Administrators Guild of Australia conference.

I tried to create a historical context for what OpenAustralia is doing by looking at the time that the Westminster system, the political system that we have in Australia, was created. The Westminster system of representative democracy evolved as a very practical solution to the problems of governing a country democratically with very slow transport and communication.

Of course, many transport and communication technologies have been invented in the last 250 years, most noteably the Internet. Looking forward we can imagine many kinds of governance that become possible with the use of these technologies. You can view OpenAustralia as a stepping stone to these.

Today’s network, the internet, has already shown itself to be the agent of great change. In this talk I look at some of the new ways politics is coming to ordinary people and some of the incredible opportunities for the future. We have the potential to re-imagine the very core of our democratic system – but how can we do this without leaving people behind?

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