Friday, July 17, 2009

What other government blogs would you like to see?

Now the PM is blogging on Climate Change and other topics, what other blogs would you like to see from Australian governments?

There are a number I would like to see - many operated from a departmental level rather than a Ministerial one.

Geosciences - earthquakes, tsunamis and the geological wealth of Australia. I'd love to see insights into how Australia manages its mineral wealth, the types of environmental controls in place and some of the work we do to understand and prepare for natural disasters caused by movements under the ground. This is a ripe field for a discussion-based blog.

Foreign Affairs - like the UK Foreign office, tales from distant places illustrating how Australia supports and fosters international co-operation, helps overseas communities and relates to our neighbouring states. There's lots of opportunities to provide meaningful insights into how Australia manages its foreign affairs - naturally without crossing into any of the classified area. For example, how does the Australian government respond when an Australian national is imprisoned overseas?

Environment - beyond the topic of Climate Change, Australians are rightly proud of our national environmental wealth and many seek more information on how to preserve it. I'd love to see the government being an active participant in these discussions online, helping people to understand how important the environment is, casting light on activities to preserve our wildlife and providing practical advice on how people can reduce their impact on their surrounds.

Tax - Tax is something everyone has to pay, however many of us have a limited understanding of how and why it works. There's a tremendous opportunity for the government to provide more information on how our tax system operates (and why), providing meaningful advice on what can be deducted, how and when, to help people better manage their tax affairs and to understand their rights and obligations.

Social services - Australia's social services are extremely complex, with many groups able to benefit from various pensions, allowances and subsidies. This area probably lends itself to a series of different blogs, aimed at different groups from students to the unemployed to carers and pensioners and many different situations inbetween. There are many ways the government could provide information in a more informal fashion to help people understand their eligibility and responsibilities and provide support and guidance on how to seek support.

Customs - Everyone knows there are laws around customs, however their breadth and the reasons behind some of them are not always as well known. Making people more aware of the dangers of bringing new plant diseases, vermin and various other contaminants into the country would go a long way to helping people be more responsible in their own actions - and some humorous and serious (de-identified) customs stories would go a long way towards demonstrating the diligence with which our customs staff carry out their duties.

What other areas would you like to see government talking about in a more interactive manner online?


  1. I'd like to see blogs on housing (affordability, construction standards, real estate industry practices exposed etc) transport (spending on roads versus public transport, bike paths), energy, and water. These areas are key if we are to become informed citizens and tackle issues of sustainability.

  2. To be honest, if existing feeds (well, anything that is the source of a feed could be loosly termed a blog - even all wordpress/blogger/typepad blogs don't necessarily allow comments anyway) were properly tagged and aggregated, things would be much improved.

    Imagine being able to get an aggregation of anything tagged both "public consultation" and "environment" across all levels of governments in Oz, with everything else rendered invisible by the filter.

    (While is an aggregator of federal announcements, too often even the titles of the articles are uninformative because the same one is used for all announcements from certain departments. "CPA NNN/YY" is the doozy)

    And what's wrong with the tags coming from AGLS or the relevant government thesaurus?

    That's what I'd like to see. Then crowdsourcing through readers like "Google Reader" (which allow selections of articles and additions of comments) don't necessarily need action by agencies in the first instance.

    And thanks for the resource list.