What a Year!

| December 24, 2008

Thank you to all our members for a great year. Best wishes for a happy holiday, see you online in 2009!

Thank you to all our members for a great year. Best wishes for a happy holiday, see you online in 2009!

There’s something rejuvenating about reflecting upon the year that was and making plans for the year ahead. Taking a little time to re-read a few of my favourite posts from Open Forum in 2008 has left me feeling even more excited about 2009.

So thank you to everybody who has contributed throughout the year, to all our readers, and of course to our generous sponsors. A special mention to our most dedicated bloggers in 2008, Malcolm Crompton, Matthew Tukaki, Peter Roberts, Alison GordonStephen Wilson, Foggy and Warren Reed.  

Without the active participation of our members Open Forum couldn’t exist. If you’ve been reading in 2008 and haven’t yet contributed then please, don’t be shy, log in and have your say, even if it’s just to leave one sentence in reply to somebody’s blog.  

For some readers leaving a comment wasn’t adequate to express their differences in opinion, and they were inspired to write their own blogs, which was great!  James Pearce, fuelled with expatriate pride, replied to Gregor Stronach’s trashing of our National Anthem Advance Australia meh… with Advance Australian Yeah!

We couldn’t pick a favourite but here’s a glance back at 2008.

Tamara Plakalo began the year wondering if Something is Wrong…with the State of News Reporting and kept us thinking about the role of the press in March asking if it is Freedom from, or Freedom of Bad News that we want.

An Open Forum highlight in 2008 was definitely being the official site for public comment on Australia’s 2020 summit throughout April. This established our role as an alternative avenue for concerned citizens wishing to have their say about the future public policy direction of Australia.

We will continue to work towards helping convert your ideas in to action. If you have a question you want answered then post it as a comment below or email us srose@openforum.com.au and we will do our best to get an answer from an expert or the relevant government department for you.

Come May, The Hon Chris Pearce MP put his hand up to be our first guest in Youth Question Time, a platform for school students to engage directly with their local member.

National E-Security Awareness week grabbed our attention in June. Craig Scroggie didn’t get any arguments when he suggested Colalboration is Key.

In July the Australian Government released a report highlighting the findings of a public consultation on the proposed development and functionality of an Australian Government consultation blog and discussion forum. The consultations provided by GAP, through a series of focus groups and an online survey on Open Forum, are prominently featured in the report.

August feautured student’s blogs from a joint project with the University of Sydney Masters of Journalism Program. Sonia Allen was dubious about Peter Garrett Spinning Plates, Bianca Birdsall thought a National Service Act 2008 might be a good idea and Susan Merrell urged us to Paper up the Cracks Hillary had left in the glass ceiling before Sarah Palin got through.  

September was all about learning to understand Regulation as an Opportunity for Business, it was fantastic to have many of the participants from the GAP Congress publish transcripts of their speeches and write their own blogs. A favourite was Why I Learned to Love Regulation by Patrick Callioni. Look out for the final report from the Congress due to be published first here on Open Forum in early January.

The Hon Lindsay Tanner MP joined us for the first in our Talk Openly Series for a conversation about Better Regulation in October and was followed by our second guest in the series The Hon Tony Abbott MHR for a conversation about the potential benefits of eHealth in remote Indigenous communities. Talk Openly will be a regular feature in 2009.  Tell us what politician you want to talk to and what you want to talk to them about by emailing us.

In October we turned our focus to the crisis in Australian Housing Affordability & Shortage. Sometimes it’s not the blog so much but the ensuing conversation which makes for great reading. Tanya Plibersek’s Great News for Home Buyers and the Economy was absolutely ravaged by those of you who disagreed with the government’s decision to up the First Home Owner’s Grant.

Our topic of the month for November was eHealth. We heard from key players in industry, government and the not-for-profit sector. On a topic where so few wanted to go on record because the problem is so big, complicated, politicised and seemingly incomprehensible, it was a breath of fresh air to hear from Helen Briggs in eHealth & me.  

We went on holidays a month early in December with Travel Tales & Tips.  Angus Robinson touched on the downside of the mainstreaming of eco-tourism in What is a Geotourist?, whilst Peter Fritz gave us a good laugh with How to Snare a Taxi. Zacha Rosen was rustled by Jeanne-Vida Douglas questioning Are You Really Leaving Home When You Travel? and came back with The Right Way to Travel. Want to share your fresh Travel Tales & Tips from these holidays? Then email srose@openforum.com.au

December also saw the launch of a new forum Exciting Careers in I.T. co-hosted with the ACS Foundation which will continue throughout January. This is your chance to contribute to a report being prepared with UTS aimed at devising ways to combat Australia’s ICT skills shortage. Log in now to participate.

On January 5th we’ll be launching our new topic of the month Childcare in Crisis. So if this affects you and your family in anyway get in touch srose@openforum.com.au

Please tell us what you want in 2009, we want to know:

  • Which public figures do you want to hear from?
  • What policy areas are you most concerned about?
  • Who do you know who deserves to be heard?
  • Where do you live and what policy issues are affecting your local area?

Leave your suggestions below or email srose@openforum.com.au



  1. foggy

    January 12, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    new year and blog resolutions
    thank you sally, rose, i wanted to be the first to greet you on new year' s day, but my resolution faded in front of inadvertent happenings.i feel absolutely delighted on seeing my name included among the dedicated bloggers in your blog.this calendar diary of the past year makes an excellent read recapturing some really enjoyable articles with lots of useful information.belated new years greeting to You.here's to a really long full year of the choicest blogs on my favorite forum.