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Home Features Letting the people decide … but will government listen?
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PEOPLEMaria Katsonis, Nicholas Reece
TAGS Consultation, Crowdsourcing, digital engagement, Maria Katsonis, Nicholas Reece, Public engagement, Stakeholder engagement
FEATURE: We have the technology to allow citizens to have more input in policymaking, but nothing will improve without willing governments and informed citizens. The growing debate on crowdsourcing.
If we now have the technology to allow citizens to vote directly on all issues, what job remains for public servants?
While new technology may provide new options to contribute, the really important thing is governmental willingness to actually listen, says Maria Katsonis, the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet’s director of equality.
The balance between citizen consultation and public service expertise in decision-making remains a hot debate, with South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill warning last year that while expertise in policy is important, overzealous bureaucrats and politicians can disenfranchise citizens.
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David Donaldson is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Melbourne. He's previously written for The Guardian and Crikey and holds a masters in international relations.
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There is almost a technocratic assumption in here that government would pay some attention to the electorate if only it knew what it thought through better crowdsourcing.
But on many issues, one could argue that the government and the opposition probably know what the electorate wants, but are bipartisanly determined to ignore it, because what would it know, and it doesn’t have the same clout as international allies or powerful local lobby groups.
Let me see know, immigration policy, over-population policy, national security policy, ‘free trade’ agreements, climate policy, renewables, religious school over-funding, rendition to Nauru, urban transport policy, tax and revenue policies, etc, etc….