Just this weekend, a major event took place in Washington DC – Government 2.0 Camp. It brought together 500 thinkers and doers who seek to engage and transform government in such a way as to make the executive and legislature more open and responsive, more engaged with the public and to ensure that the public, public servants and politicians at all levels are more able to collaborate and engage with each other to make the business of government better in every way.

At the same time, in Canberra, we held our second ever BarCamp. We even had a Federal Senator along in the form of Kate Lundy! More than one talk was about the need to transform government in this way.

BarCamp, the US event and our discussions were the catalyst for the creation of Government 2.0 Camp Australia. At the moment, it’s nothing more than (an already active) Google Group, but we’ll have a web site up this week some time.

So what’s it all about? Well, let’s start with a definition adapted from Government 2.0: Using Technology to Improve Education, Cut Red Tape, Reduce Gridlock, and Enhance Democracy by William Eggers:

“Unhyped and therefore unnoticed, a cultural and technological change is altering the behavior and mission of city halls, statehouses, schools, and federal agencies across the world. From transportation to education to elections to law enforcement (or, as we’re now referring to it, “homeland security”), this cultural revolution, aided by technology is transforming government and politics, slashing bureaucracies; improving services; producing innovative solutions to some of our world’s thorniest problems; changing the terms of the Left/Right political debate; and offering ordinary people access to a degree of information and individual influence until recently accessible only to the most powerful citizens, finally redeeming the original vision for our democracies, and transforming life and society in the process.”

Government 2.0 Camp Australia, to be held in Canberra, the national capital (soon, but we don’t yet know when or where), will be a BarCamp-styled unconference welcoming ideas and opinions from across society at all levels – the public, the executive and our politicians.

Join the Google Group to ensure you keep up to date on progress of Government 2.0 Camp Australia. And tell anyone you think might be interested – point them here or the group.