Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Gershon report to be implemented in full

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-11-28

A big round of applause to Lindsay Tanner, who has promised to implement in full the recommendations of the Gershon Report into Australian Government use of IT.

As regular readers will be aware, I was very happy with what was in the report, and indeed the report overall, even though I was disappointed at some things I thought missing (see "Gershon Report into Oz Gov IT: Good, but some holes").

Implementing the report could lead to huge savings in government spending, improved service levels, as well as being good for the environment.

I don’t just complain about, or to, politicians: I sent Tanner a "thankyou" note.


7 Responses to “Gershon report to be implemented in full”

  1. So, when can we expect the Australian Government to move away from closed, commercial software towards open software which is free (OpenOffice, Ubuntu, Apache, etc.) or commercial (Enterprise Red Hat Linux)?

    If the government’s concerned about wasteful IT spending perhaps we should analyze how much money we’re forking over to Microsoft to run basic systems which don’t require specialised software (or where specialised software can be run under Linux).

  2. Dave Bath said

    Totally agree Sam.

    It’s worth noting that there have been “subversives” even contributing from inside government to the outside world, even under Howard:

    * xena (at Sourceforge) contributed by National Archives, bulk converts documents to the naa standard archived formats (e.g. OpenOffice/ODF/ISO rather than MS)

    * MySource Matrix a content management system, originally developed in-house for AGIMO (when NOIE was disbanded), uses open source tools (I convinced Avi to swap from MySQL from PostgreSQL – not difficult – Avi was an old Vaxer like me and familiar with Oracle, so pg wasn’t a difficult move), and was “white-branded” for use outside government.

    Tanner is also hinting at such moves in things like his blog post a little while back. "Internet Drives Policy Rethink" (2008-11-24) include the following:

    Peer production frees labour from the need to work in the same place at the same time. Groups can now work on a project across time zones and continents. Significantly, peer production does not rely on hierarchy for organising labour…. The glue that binds peer production together is the ethic of collaboration it inculcates among groups. People contribute their time to peer production because they find communities with a passion for making their adopted content niche the best it can be. This environment also creates efficiencies by allowing skilled amateurs to allocate their intellectual capital to the content niche about which they are most passionate. This is significant when you consider the quality and value of work done by people for love and not money.

    (My bolding).

    To me, it seems Tanner’s comments indicate he is biased to open source / creative-commonsed material, and is probably fighting most areas of senior public service managers.

    Actually, specialized software runs under Linux more often than it does under windows, because it is usually developed by academics or technicians. Just consider how much GIS stuff for postgresql came out of agencies like national parks services (and the ability of postgresql to use astronomical times and placements on the planet is a dead giveaway!)

    Another example, the good old Gimp (from the unix world) happily opens the standard image archiving format used by astronomers. I doubt if photoshop or any standard commercial software does that!

  3. […] starters, I’ll nominate Lindsay Tanner, because he has committed to implementing the Gershon Report in full – despite all the vested interests (particularly large IT consulting firms and the public servant […]

  4. […] highlights the good work of Lindsay Tanner in promising to implement in full the recommendations of the Gershon report which was scathing about Australian government IT (both […]

  5. […] the well-received Gershon Report (see my reviews here and here) is implemented quickly, the human capital to define and implement improved business […]

  6. […] rather than travel can help.  Obviously (and correctly) a fan of the Gershon Report and Tanner’s full acceptance of it.  Also points to the IPCC saying that between a 25% to 50% cut is needed by […]

  7. […] IT services, it’s worth looking over the Gershon Report, using links from "Gershon Report to be implemented in full" (2008-11-28) and "Gershon Report into Oz Gov IT: Good but some holes" […]

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