ACS Logo Australian Computer Society

Government in Cyberspace

Moving Australian bureaucracy to the Internet and creating a new support industry

by Tom Worthington, President of the Australian Computer Society

Thursday 15 August 1996

CIRCIT, Melbourne

Announcement & Summary

Tom Worthington Tom Worthington will talk about his experience in putting the Federal Government on-line. Tom will talk about his work in on-line policy development and implementation in the Department of Defence, on interdepartmental committees, for the ACS and internationally . He will also details the steps Australian private and public organisations need to take to have a stake in the global information industry. Tom will outline the up-to-minute developments from Canberra.

About the speaker

Tom Worthington is National President of the Australian Computer Society and Deputy Director, Information management Planning, Australian Department of Defence. Tom is co-author of the ACS InfoBahn Policy, the Defence Representative on the Commonwealth Internet Reference Group, one of the authors of the new Architecture For Access To Government Information and has been described by Information Age magazine as one of the 50 most influential IT&T people in Australia.

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For more registration details contact CIRCIT
Draft of 18 July 1996: The content of this talk will be developed here between 18 July and 17 August. Suggestions and comments welcome:


Vision for a Networked Nation

In 1994 Roger Clarke and I wrote
"Vision for a Networked Nation", as an ACS submission to assorted government and parliamentary enquiries.

The vision essentially was that Australians would have easy, low cost access to on-line facilities for routine business, cultural and government activities. We wanted to make the Internet an ordinary tool for people to use. Much of that vision has already been achieved, through the work of people in Australian academia, government, industry and the community. However there is much to do.

War comes to Mallacoota

Map of Northern Australia Exercise KANGAROO 95 took place in an area of over 4 million km square, across the Top End of Australia from July to the end of August 1995 and involved over 17,000 Australian Defence Force troops, and visiting units from the USA, Malaysia, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, the UK and Indonesia.
Robert Lester and satellite communications Reports and photographs were transmitted from the exercise area using stand-alone portable satellite communications terminals, capable of full 64k duplex high speed data.

As manager of the Defence home page, I received the reports at Defence headquarters in Canberra and up-loaded, them to a publicly accessible Internet server at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

K'95 Logo During the exercise the Department of Administrative Services announced K'95 trucking tenders on its Government Electronic Marketplace Service (GEMS). GEMS was linked to the K'95 home page, demonstrating the synergy possible with the Internet.

"Commercial off the shelf" lap top computers and Internet software were used for transmitting the photos and reports. Photos were processed for efficient on-screen display, but also proved useful for printed reproduction.

Tom Worthington at Mallacoota For the first week of the exercise I was officially on holiday, but maintained the K95 home page remotely using a pocket modem and lap top PC from Mallacoota, Victoria.

In the next few months the limitation will not be bandwidth or location, but people's ability to sift information. Already on-line executives can receive much more information in a day than they could absorb in a year. We are starting to see software for filtering information, so they get the high priority material, condensed in an easy to use form. This is especially a priority for Command Support Systems (CSS) systems. We will see the same techniques used to condense information for low bandwidth users.

Some examples of information condensing:

We will be launching the Defence Home Page MKIII in September and I hope to incorporate some of these techniques. It is easy to build a Web page with lots of flashy animated graphics which look good in a demonstration environment; it is difficult to build one which looks good and also gets useful information out to the public, but it is possible.

Internet applications from Australian Government organisations

Commonwealth Government on-line policy and implementation

Australia's stake in the global information industry

See also