Data democracy a challenge for future

Posted: Friday 5 April 2019

The rapid growth of electronic data has great potential to benefit society, but we need to think about how to manage data in a fair way that honours individual rights, argues a new film, Data Democracy.

The film, commissioned by Federation University Australia’s Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation, explores the many opportunities and challenges of the digital era.

Communities can now interact with data in ways that were impossible to imagine a few short decades ago. The speedy collection of medical data from many sources has benefited millions of patients.  

Data Democracy aims to inform and inspire discussion on the issues of fairness, access, sharing and communicating data in the technological era.

The film features leading experts Paul Box (CSIRO), Associate Professor Peter Dahlhaus (CeRDI), George Fong (ex-Internet Australia), Professor Richard Sinnott (University of Melbourne) and Dr Gillian Sparkes (Victorian Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability).

At the conclusion of the FrontierSI Conference, CeRDI will host a screening and panel discussion followed by a networking event to celebrate the launch of the short film.


  • Dr Gillian Sparkes, Victorian Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability
  • Dr Peter Woodgate, Chair, Australian Urban Infrastructure Network
  • Ms Jan Pierce, Deputy Chief Executive, Location Information, Land Information New Zealand
  • Panel moderator: Associate Professor Peter Dahlhaus, Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation, Federation University Australia

What: Film screening, panel discussion and networking drinks

When: Monday 8 April, 5:30 for a 5:40pm start. Talk ends at 6.30pm, drinks to 7.15pm.

Where: Room 106, The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) 1 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf VIC 3006
Part of: FrontierSI Conference 2019

Quotes attributable to Associate Professor Peter Dahlhaus:

“How do you put a value on data? It is very hard to explain to government the importance of data when its value may only be appreciated in ten or 15 years time.”

Quotes attributable to Victorian Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Dr Gillian Sparkes:

 “Better access to data could help Victorians understand and make decisions about their environment. I want to know what’s happening in my coast. I want to understand what’s going on in my bay.”

Quotes attributable to Founder of Lateral Plains, George Fong:

“We probably produce more data as opposed to information in a single day than the entire period before the digital revolution.”

 “The other side of it is that not all data should be free. There is some data that should be kept private. Citizens of the world should be rightly concerned about how that data is being interpreted.”



Contact Matthew Freeman
Media and Government Relations
03 5327 9510; 0408 519 674