Monday, 31 August 2015 22:21

Top public sector officials must be computer literate, says activist group

Top public sector officials must be computer literate, says activist group Image courtesy of Stuart Miles,

Concern has been expressed that high-ranking public officials, particularly legal professionals,  may not possess at least the most basic computer and electronic communication skills, including the know-how to send emails

Not-for-profit digital rights activist group Electronic Frontiers Australia says it is no longer acceptable for high-ranking public officials to not possess at least the most basic computer and electronic communication skills as required for the most junior entry-level positions.

Interestingly, the observations by EFA comes in the wake of the trade union royal commisssioner Dyson Heydon saying that, "It is notorious among the legal profession that I am incapable of sending or receiving emails. The consequence is that I read emails only after they have been printed out for me."

The royal commissioner made his comments when highlighting his unwillingness to use email when ruling that he would continue as the head of the royal commission in response to union accusations of bias for agreeing to appear at a Liberal Party fund-raiser.

The company says that legal professionals particularly are required to undertake a minimum level of professional development throughout their careers and it is “therefore very difficult to understand how any legal professional could attain a high public office without having gained even basic computer literacy and a grasp of simple electronic communication platforms such as email.”

According to EFA, there are many excellent training courses available from any number of organisations around Australia and online, and most local libraries offer very high quality free training to residents on all sorts of internet and web-based systems.

“There is also no shortage of daughters, sons, neices, nephews and god-children that are more than capable of providing basic computer skills training to those in their families whose formal training occurred in the pre-digital age.”

EFA’s answer to any computer literacy problems in the public sector : “EFA would be happy to provide guidance and basic training in the use of email to any high-ranking public officials “that are in need of such remedial assistance.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).



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