So…Why Follow a Fellow? Exclusive Interview!

Everyone who knows about Code for Australia has heard of the fellowship program that’s on offer. If you haven’t, you must click here to make sure you don’t miss out!

Current fellow, Steve Bennett, promoting open data and hackathons.

2014 CfA Fellowship Workshop.

We caught up with Mr. Welte, who is just finishing his fellowship program here in Australia. He started in mid April 2015, and will finish the program in approximately three weeks. We asked him a few questions about his experience, and wanted to hear why he thinks that people should get involved with such an opportunity:

1) Now that you’re a fellow, what doors have been opened to you?

“I started out as a Code for America fellow for about a year in Arizona, so coming to Australia and learning about a new culture as well as different ways various people approach the idea of tech and government was extremely interesting and eye-opening for me. I knew that the fellowship program would open doors and new experience for me and the future, and I know that I will end up at some very cool places thanks to having this opportunity.”

2) What key lessons did you learn from the fellowship Program?

“Firstly, I’ve gained a much deeper appreciation for the talent and dedication brought forward by members of the public. They choose to use their time to help individuals in society, and this is where this stereotypically bad impression people have when thinking of government is laid to rest. The media loves to focus on political shenanigans, which politicians are eating what, all that jazz. You never hear about the public servants who, like us, are doing their best regardless of who is ostensibly running everything. They work tirelessly for the public good and it’s likely that most of the systems the country is built on, whether that’s roads and transit or schools and energy, depends on these unsung heroes whose names you’ll likely never know.”

3) Did you feel like you had a direct and positive impact on the community?

“Definitely. Our challenge is to build services that work for the public, which means everyone. The population of New South Wales, for example, is about 7.5 million. I’ve been doing a couple of things up in NSW, like getting connected to others in the community and helping connect those who are equally passionate about the idea of civic tech. Additionally, I am supporting the work that the Department of Education is doing to help make information more accessible and bring innovation to government.”

4) How did you use your skills with Code for Australia to help deliver key public services?

“I had a few goals, the first was to design and build prototypes and leave the department better off by the time I had to go. I can confidently say that we are at that stage now, and I am hoping to put a bit more time into it to wrap it up soon. Secondly, I wanted to do whatever I could do to build the civic tech community up in Sydney. Civic tech meet-ups were arranged and we got about 50-100 people to show up for a talk. I want to get this seemingly hidden big tech community interested into the idea of Code for Australia.”

5) What sort of person would you recommend the fellowship program to and why?

“The fellowship program needs people who are good at a few things: understanding a problem, designing a solution, and building it. Those people are going to be embedded for a short time, but they need to research and change the internal culture of the development and how they are related to tech. To sum it up, people who are good communicators, those who can talk to people as well as computers.”

Thank you Mr. Welte for taking the time to talk with us and help explain how the Code for Australia fellowship program has helped you. Hopefully we can continue to ensure that other participants will find it as useful and interesting as you did! As can be seen with this story, as long as you have a vision and an idea, us here at CfA can help make your dream a reality.

The fellowship program is in partnership with councils, the MAV, Sky Software, as well as reemployment and local IT agencies in Geelong.

The six-week fellowship kicks off on June 20th 2015, and everyone is welcome. Visit to apply today.

Please also have a look at our Facebook page at:, and let others know about the wonders civic-tech can do for your community.


This piece of work is for an RMIT assignment, this is in no way real and I have no professional ties with Code for Australia.

Code Up For What? Australia!


Generations of people have walked this planet, from all over the world, each with a different story to tell. Fortunately for us in the 21st century, technology has become such an important and common aspect in our lives that almost everyone’s narrative can be shared and heard. Instead of saying we are too out of touch with people on a global scale, we are now sick of constant Facebook updates reminding us when someone is going to the gym next. Here at Code for Australia (CfA), we bring people in the tech community together and figure out how to use the constantly new and improved results of an ongoing technological revolution to our advantage, for you.

A 21st century government needs 21st century thinkers, and the future implies that technology is going to be an increasingly popular supplement to our lives. By collaborating with designers, developers, and coders from around the world, Code for Australia has succeeded in the gradual inclusion and promotion of tech in every day life, and increased the public’s awareness of civic-tech. We aim to gather people who are as passionate about tech as we are, and explore the possible implications and benefits it could potentially hold for all Australians.

Code for America is where this idea originally started:

An example can be seen with a project completed recently at our Civic Lab in NSW. This new app helps parents find appropriate schools for their children based on the details they input (such as age, preferred education certification, location, etc.). Feedback has been outstanding, and Code for Australia continues to strive for excellence in making life simpler with tech. Just because it has a screen doesn’t mean you should be scared! Check out our Civic Lab program here.

Knowledge has been passed on through generations of DNA, and we want to share what we have learnt about tech over the years. By aiming to help spread awareness about civic-tech and how it can benefit your community, we can guarantee that amazing things will continue to come for generations. Join us at our new mentorship program, #CfADNA, where we train volunteers who want to make a difference to the world. Designer? Coder? Developer? All? We’re Interested!

Get in on the fuss at #CfADNA, and find out more at our website at:

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This piece of work is for an RMIT assignment, for the course titled Impact & Influence in PR. There is no mentorship program. thank you!

North Korea Sony Hack: We Weren’t Born Yesterday

While it might be a bit late to write about this incident, I am going to express my thoughts that I have collated during the course of this bullshit.

That is exactly what this is in my view – bullshit. Ever since I saw this on the CNN news in the morning, I knew that something smelt a bit off. What sparked my curiosity? An interview with (and get this), an NSA “IT expert”. He went on air, and discussed the “threat” that is being posed to America by North Korea due to these hacks on Sony and their parody of Kim Jong Un in the movie “The Interview”. I must say that if this guy is an expert, then I am an absolute God at making assumptions with regards to the cyber world and computers. He made absolutely no intelligent or deep comments about this issue whatsoever, he did not even try to confuse the audience or use complicated language that no one can understand as that usually works with most gullible viewers.

When asked about hackers in North Korea all he could say was “uhhh…there are probably a couple thousand in North Korea, uhhh….yeah….the Chinese are good too…uhhh and the Russians can do what they want.”

I mean…really?

Sorry, but to me it sounds like they desperately needed some guy to pretend to be an expert and talk about this on national television, and why did you only mention those three countries? Oh, that’s right, because those three are seen as America’s biggest “threats”. What a great way to turn ignorant viewers against these nations even more. I think CNN should wake up and put THIS on their ridiculist segment.

This guy also said that a 911 cyber equivalent would be an Internet blackout. That’s some great detail right there, I applaud you for your clear expertise in this area.

No but seriously, anyone with even the most basic knowledge of the Internet and even 4chan users know that an Internet 911 would equate to something much larger than a simple blackout. For example, all of your personal details would be leaked, your bank accounts would probably be drained, and life as we know it would stop (due to the importance the Internet plays in our lives). But I guess a paid actor wouldn’t know how to answer that on live camera now, would he?

Where is the evidence that North Korea even did this? When asked in this interview, all you could say was “we are still looking”, I hope that doesn’t mean that evidence is being planted because the American Government are the ones who did this. To me, it looks like the Red Scare version 2.0, it’s absolutely pathetic. I find it even more ironic that you decided to get someone from the NSA to talk about this issue, they are probably monitoring me as I am typing this right now (because, you know, spying on people isn’t a threat, right?). It’s as if America wanted to remind people that despite all of these terrorist attacks from ISIS and similar agendas, the North Koreans are still a threat! Don’t forget that people!

Some say that the name the hackers responsible have given themselves confirms that they are North Korean. No. The name they have given themselves, “the Guardians of Peace”, comes from a quote used by President Richard Nixon to describe South Korea. Why the hell would a group of clearly patriotic North Koreans name themselves after their neighbours, whom they hate so much?

Furthermore, North Korea only got Internet access in 2010, so either Sony’s security is really shit, or North Koreans have somehow learnt how to infiltrate the systems of mass corporations using limited resources. Doing this in a country that is so censored seems impossible, as googling “how to hack” would probably result in your nuts being cut off.

It has also been confirmed that the Guardians of Peace rickrolled the FBI in one of their messages, does that seem like North Korean humour to you? Does it even seem appropriate in such an apparently SERIOUS and DIRE situation? Something doesn’t seem right here.

Yesterday, it was reported that the Sony hackers “got sloppy” and posted things online from North Korean IP addresses. Wait a minute, you guys have said that you have had the best hackers in the country help the government figure out who has been doing this, it has been weeks now, and you have only JUST discovered this? I wasn’t born yesterday, it is not hard to find someone’s IP address, an experienced hacker can do that on my piece of shit 2010 MacBook.

In addition to this, surely your eyebrows raise when North Korea responds with something along the lines of “yes, what the hackers did was good, but we didn’t do it. If you do not participate in a joint investigation with us, we will get mad”. Well…there you go. Please also notice that ever since North Korea started fighting back and people have expressed suspicion, it has suddenly dropped from news sources all around the world. How convenient.

Whether or not this was an inside job by the American Government to scare people about North Korea, or a publicity scheme for the movie (that wasn’t even that offensive, pussies), or just a group of people having a laugh and showing how stupid and quick to blame the American Government are, I can say for a fact that the argument to suggest that this is just a load of shit is overwhelming and cannot be ignored. North Korea hacking? Learn to come up with better stories.

Frivolous Fables fox and raven