The honest bureaucrat: Blockchain as the foundation for modern government

Event in collaboration/partnership:


Please join us for a deep dive policy seminar on blockchain and why many think it could be the most profound of the new technologies impacting government.

While cryptocurrencies are grabbing the headlines, it is blockchain’s ability to manage complex multi-party ecosystems, securely and honestly, that makes blockchain potentially a foundation for digital government.

The seminars are being held across three cities, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne and are designed for officials wanting to get beyond the hype and really understand blockchain’s potential impact on government.

Think of blockchain as a computerised notariser, time stamping “transactions” as diverse as the birth of a child or the issue of a benefit. It is blockchain’s ability to act as the “honest bureaucrat” which makes it such a game-changing technology for governments and one the formal review of the Australian Public Service will need to centrally consider.

Governments – like banks in the money markets – play a key intermediary role across numerous sections of the community. This is true in all the major areas where governments deliver value, regulation and market design including welfare, tax, health, disability, education, infrastructure, consumer regulation and utilities.

Managing identity could be an early use case for blockchain, but it is the underlying technology of blockchain that could make it truly disruptive. Rather than having the many interactions between government and its ecosystem managed bureaucratically, many of these are capable of being codified into blockchains and managed virtually. Safely.

For example, built on secure infrastructure, blockchain can be used to securely and efficiently manage all the complex interactions between a patient and their various health providers, practitioners and insurers.

Similarly, governments are also major procurers and contractors, a typically messy service of contracts, purchase orders and payments that could be easily managed using blockchain. Public agencies manage many registries, all easily managed by blockchain.

When married with artificial intelligence, blockchain offers a powerful virtual industrial platform to manage the millions of transactions modern digital governments will need to support.

Keen to explore the benefits of blockchain, the Federal Government has allocated Budget funds to explore innovative ways to use blockchain to deliver reliable and secure government services. Meanwhile, state governments are investigating how blockchain can underpin service reform.

The Australian Government recently contracted with IBM to accelerate the up take of advanced technologies like blockchain, through a focussed R&D program to test and deploy blockchain in collaboration with federal government agencies. This work is to be developed in collaboration with the Digital Transformation Agency and industry stakeholders.

Join our panel of international experts as we consider how blockchain could be the foundation of digital government. The seminar is no cost and is being supported by IBM.


  • Dr Mark Staples, Senior Principal Researcher at CSIRO's Data61
  • Alan Thurlow, Associate Partner at IBM (UK)
  • Katrina Donaghy, Co-founder and CEO of Civic Ledger - Melbourne and Sydney event
  • Matt Goonan, CTO at Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) - Canberra event


When & Where: 

Melbourne, VIC: Tuesday 31 July 2018 - The Residence, Grand Hyatt, 123 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000 - currently booked out

Sydney, NSW: Wednesday 1 August 2018 - The Macquarie Room, State Library of NSW, Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000 - currently booked out

Canberra, ACT: Thursday 2 August 2018 - The Jaeger Room, The Shine Dome, Australian Academy of Science, 15 Gordon St, Acton ACT 2601 - currently booked out

Time: Seminar and breakfast to be held 8.00am – 10.00am

For more information or questions about the seminar, please email Kim at:

If you are unable to attend and believe a senior agency colleague could benefit, please send your request through to Kim. There is no charge to attend, but seats are limited so RSVP is required for attendance. These seminars are for public sector executives and managers only.