Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has reportedly proposed a policy which would see every Australian allocated a limited email-like inbox to receive communications from governments, if the Coalition took power in the next election.
Computerworld today reported that Turnbull proposed the paper-saving system would see citizens use their name and date of birth to log into the system, which would be hosted on the australia.gov.au domain. The Liberal MP claimed the system could save millions — “if not billions” — over time.
Australian Governments are known to spend at least tens of millions of dollars each year communicating with citizens, through avenues such as the Australian Taxation Office, advertising services to promote initiatives such as the proposed tax on carbon emissions, drivers’ licence renewals and more. Increasingly, some of these communications are electronic — such as the online portal which allows businesses to report their financial details to the ATO on a regular basis. But many are still paper-based.
Turnbull has proposed an interesting idea here, which has merit. One unified government inbox, which could collect notifications from Federal, State and Local branches of government, would solve a lot of problems and cut costs.
However, as with university mailboxes, we suspect the first thing the Australian population would request is an option to be able to forward these messages straight on from their official government inbox to their personal email, or God forbid, Facebook accounts. It’s an interesting idea, Mr Turnbull. But Australia doesn’t need another email system. We just need to be able to register our email addresses somewhere central.