Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Youf: how the hell do we reach them?

What do Governments share with companies and parents that is a joy when it works and incredibly frustrating when it doesn’t? It’s communicating with youth, a.k.a. ‘young Australians’ or even ‘youf’ and we have come across some interesting efforts. One approach is to create your own online presence – such as these for youth generally, rural youth, young business or specific issues such as mental health. Another is to go to where the wild things are by setting up in MySpace or other online community, as adidas and Oxfam have done. Both ways have their strengths – creating your own gives you control yet jumping into the world of youth can bring more credibility. As Dave Barry said, “I care about our young people, and I wish them great success, because they are our Hope for the Future, and some day, when my generation retires, they will have to pay us trillions of dollars in social security.”

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Government Accountability, Free Speech and Voluntary Euthanasia

Is the Internet undermining our institutions of accountability or just highlighting how irrelevant they have become? Recently the South Australian Parliament took the unprecedented step of erasing from the official Hansard record a speech by Democrat Sandra Kanck on euthanasia where she outlined ways people have taken their own lives. The speech was described by Premier Mike Rann as “shameful” as it could encourage people to take their own lives, a line supported by the federal Suicide Material Related Offences Act and Sane Australia. Kanck defended her actions as being in the best interests of “fundamental human rights – the right to free speech and the right to die with dignity” with the ban undermining the institution of parliamentary privilege. Of course, the speech has attracted attention all over the Net, with an NZ website posting the speech in full, and the ban has only drawn more attention to its contents.