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- Horizons of expectation: imaginary trajectories of electronic government
- Thomas, Julian
- The dominant academic and journalistic images of the Internet are of commercial, community or research-driven technologies. Government is often portrayed as an external force, either challenging or challenged by the Net. But what if we looked at the Internet as a technology of government? Since the early 1990s, governments and international agencies around the world have devoted enormous resources to understanding, documenting and participating in the evolution of the Internet. New communications technologies are now seen as central not only to economic growth and cultural and social life but also to the modernisation of democratic practice and public administration. Yet the role of government in the wider history of the Internet remains marginal and little understood. This chapter is about one facet of that history: the way the Internet has gradually and unevenly begun to change Australian government itself, and how we can conceptualise that change. Given Australia’s natural geography, small population and high takeup rates for new technologies, the benefits of networked public services for this country have long been particularly attractive; and over the past decade commonwealth, state and local governments have made significant, though not uniform, progress in using the Internet to make government information more widely available, to provide services and to enable citizens to engage more closely with government. The commonwealth agency responsible for electronic government claims that about 80 per cent of individuals and businesses with access to the Net are 'predisposed' to use online government services. There is, however, surprisingly little independent analysis of what electronic government has achieved. Further, as in many areas involving new technologies, a host of potentially confusing terms surround the topic.
- Publication type
- Book chapter
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology. Faculty of Life and Social Sciences. Institute for Social Research
- Virtual nation: the internet in Australia / Gerard Goggin (ed.), Chapter 18, pp. 258-272
- Publication year
- UNSW Press
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2004 UNSW Press. The published version of the chapter is reproduced here in proof form with the kind permission of the publisher.