Hacking democracy and playing the long game

Presented by Luke Bacon
Friday 1:20 p.m.–2:05 p.m.
Target audience: Community


Imagine the future you want for our societies and democracy. You can start building the tools and services of that future today.

For 8 years the OpenAustralia Foundation has run open source projects to transform democracy. We’re a tiny team but millions of people have used our services to learn about and impact what happens in their society. At the core of our practice is collaboration, sharing and openness.

In day-to-day development we determinedly focus on the immediate, practical benefits to people who use our work—but, there are specific long-term hacks underlying each of our projects: futures we imagine and hope to step our way towards. We create services with immediate practical use, but that change the way you see yourself and your role in our democracy.

In this presentation we’ll look at the long-term hacks that underlie our project Right To Know. Right To Know makes it much easier to use your Freedom of Information rights to access any document held by Australian government bodies—you’re right to know about the projects and policies that impact your life. Right To Know makes simple changes to the way you access government information, but aims to support a transformation in how we all are involved in organising our society.

By looking at how Right To Know works to push us towards certain futures, you’ll see how our approach works in practice and, most importantly, how you can start civic hacking towards the future you want.

Presented by

Luke Bacon

Luke Bacon makes things a little easier for people who want to improve their society as a designer, developer, and all-round hacker at the OpenAustralia Foundation. He joined the team in 2014 to design They Vote For You and make your MP’s record of votes in parliament clearer and more useful to you.

Luke also co-founded the independent journalism and open source archival project Detention Logs. The project was launched with The Guardian, New Matilda, and The Global Mail to publish thousands of pages of evidence of the conditions in Australia’s immigration detention facilities.

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