A Case Study of Public Servants Engaged in E-Consultation in Australia

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Abstract

This article examines some of the challenges faced by local government during the development and implementation of a relatively new area of e-democratic innovation in Australia: e-consultation. E-consultation is seen as a valuable way through which a two-way relationship can be developed and enhanced between citizens and elected representatives. It involves the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs), such as the Internet, to extend and/or enhance political democracy through access to information, and to facilitate participation in democratic communities, processes, and institutions. Drawing on a case study of the Darebin eForum in Victoria, Australia, this article focuses on the role of public servants as moderators of this local form of e-consultation. The discussion has three parts: online policy consultation is defined within the context of e-democracy; some of the ways that e-consultation challenges the roles of the public service, elected representatives, and citizens are outlined; and the author then argues for an e-consultation strategy that is situated within a continuum of citizen engagement that is ongoing, deliberative, educative, and inclusive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-37
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Electronic Government Research
Volume3
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Darebin eForum
  • e-consultation
  • e-government
  • e-moderation
  • information and communications technology
  • online policy consultation
  • public servant

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