Caught in the middle: Information technology policy in Australia

Jason Dedrick, Kenneth L. Kraemer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Australia’s treatment of information technology (IT) has vacillated between two policy directions: Laissez faire, market directed strategy on the one hand, and strong government interventionist, plan directed strategy on the other. The resultant policy mix is more a collection of individual initiatives than a coherent strategy. It produces conflict between initiatives aimed at developing indigenous information industries and those improving the productivity and competitiveness of all industry by encouraging the wider application of IT. Unlike its East Asian neighbors, Australia does not have a powerful, independent economic planning agency capable of creating and implementing industrial and technology policy. Policies must be developed through the give and take of a democratic political process, a process that can lead to fragmented, uncoordinated policies based on bureaucratic inertia, the demands of special interest groups, and short-term political considerations, rather than long-term strategic plans. The future of IT policy in Australia will depend upon the kinds of consensus that can be achieved on the role of IT in economic development. It will also depend on the government’s skill in implementing policy and on the reactions of the private sector to whatever policies emerge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-363
Number of pages31
JournalInformation Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • IT production
  • IT use
  • Industrial policy
  • Information technology
  • Market directed
  • Plan directed
  • Technology policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Cultural Studies
  • Information Systems
  • Political Science and International Relations


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