Wikinews interviews 2020 Melbourne Lord Mayor Candidate Wayne Tseng

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Thursday, October 22, 2020

2020 Melbourne Lord Mayor candidate Wayne Tseng answered some questions about his campaign for the upcoming election from Wikinews. The Lord Mayor election in the Australian city is scheduled to take place this week.

Portrait of Wayne Tseng
Image: Wayne Tseng.

Tseng runs a firm called eTranslate, which helps software developers to make the software available to the users. In the candidate's questionnaire, Tseng said eTranslate had led to him working with all three tiers of the government. He previously belonged to the Australian Liberal Party, but has left since then, to run for mayorship as an independent candidate.

Tseng is of Chinese descent, having moved to Australia with his parents from Vietnam. Graduated in Brisbane, Tseng received his PhD in Melbourne and has been living in the city, he told Wikinews. Tseng also formed Chinese Precinct Chamber of Commerce, an organisation responsible for many "community bond building initiatives", the Lord Mayor candidate told Wikinews.

Tseng discussed his plans for leading Melbourne, recovering from COVID-19, and "Democracy 2.0" to ensure concerns of minorities in the city were also heard. Tseng also focused on the importance of the multi-culture aspect and talked about making Melbourne the capital of the aboriginals. Tseng also explained why he thinks Melbourne is poised to be a world city by 2030.

Tseng's deputy Lord Mayor candidate Gricol Yang is a Commercial Banker and works for ANZ Banking Group.

Currently, Sally Capp is the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, the Victorian capital. Capp was elected as an interim Lord Mayor in mid-2018 after the former Lord Mayor Robert Doyle resigned from his position after sexual assault allegations. Doyle served as the Lord Mayor of Melbourne for almost a decade since 2008.


About Wayne Tseng, his team and his plans


Can you tell us something about yourself?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) [I am an] Australian Citizen of Chinese descent [and] fluent Cantonese, Mandarin and English speaker. Born in Vietnam and migrated to Australia with parent in the 1990s. Graduated as a computer engineer in Brisbane and received a PhD in Melbourne. Lectured in RMIT University before launching [my] firm eTranslate.

I authored two teaching texts: Open Learning, Introduction to Project Management and Open Learning, Introduction to Assembly Language.

The firm which shares the same name as the USA firm eTranslate (but not related) specialises in language expertise and language information technology. The firm has two arms — The technology arm focuses on services to help developers to create language variants of their software. The language/cultural services arm provides cultural communication services to local government. Australia is a lot of ethnic minorities speaking over 120 languages and over 80 cultures.

As the firm grew, I spent more [...] time in the cultural communication services arms. There I served as the principal consultant leading a team which delivered consultancy services to all three levels of government in Australia.

I also founded the non-profit organisation Chinese Precinct Chamber of Commerce which was responsible for a lot of Australia first Chinese and Australia community bond building initiatives. I have a passion for community activities that leads to the betterment of Australians.

In 2014 I invented the Australian Chinese Zodiac which matches the Chinese zodiac animal with the Australia local wildlife. The design was aim[ed] to promote better understanding between Chinese and Australian community. It went viral.

I always have been active in politics. [I] was a member of the Australian Liberal Party and participated in a federal election.

The Australian senate.
Image: User:JJ Harrison.

During my time in politics, I saw the limits of Australia's Westminister system. This system was designed by the British government to be used in its colonies in 1842. It assumed that the colonies do not have their own ideals and follow just one single set of social values. The system only allows a government and an opposition. These are often occupied by either the Progressive — The LEFT (Labour Party) and the Conservative — the RIGHT (the Liberal Party).

However, 21st Century Australia is much more culturally diverse. There are different ideals and social values. Australian[s] can not see themselves fit into either the LEFT or the RIGHT ideology online. The people of Australia is more comfortable with fit for purpose policies or CENTRE. The current system does not support a third centre party.

In fact, Australians have become more cynical about the two major parties (LEFT and RIGHT). They are well educated and well informed. They believe they can offer the government so much in input and suggestions. They want to have more say in the governing of [...] Australia.

Sheffield Town Hall
Image: Tim Green.

I have since come to the belief that direct vote or participating democracy is the key for the next stage of the country's evolution. This is [a] movement overseas in terms of direct vote or direct democracy.

  • In UK, the Sheffield council — The council begin to use direct vote in some of the council decisions.
  • In Iceland — they rewrote their constitution through public submitting and voting.
  • In New York — The city review its city budget through direct vote.

In Australia, I believe introduction of direct voting needs to be [a] gradual process. Laws needs to be enacted to allow direct voting. But before this, the public and [sitting] government needs to see the benefit of direct democracy.

 ((WN )) What made you decide to run for the Melbourne City's Lord Mayor? Why do you think you should be the Melbourne's Mayor?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) In [the] 2020 Melbourne local government election, I was nominated for the Lord Mayor of Melbourne. I hope to use the election as a platform to seed public awareness on participating democracy.

I advocated for the creation of a platform called Participate in Melbourne where the people can begin with submitting their issues/concerns, offer suggestions, hold public debate and send those conclusions to elected councillor to deliberate and vote. [I] hope once the benefits are known, the council will enact laws to allow direct vote.

I have founded an organisation called eTranslate that has offices in different countries. Over the years, [I] have gained a considerable amount of business and life experiences which are important in public life.

Apart from my professional life, I have always engaged in community work. I have a passion to enter public office and serve the community in a larger capacity.

I have always been active in politics. I was a member of the Australia Liberal Party and participated in a federal election.

During my time in politics, [I] understood the inner workings of major parties and the Australian political system. Most importantly, I have lived in Melbourne since 2000 and understand the city intimately as a business operator and as a resident.

 ((WN )) [C]ould you please explain what are the powers of Melbourne's Lord Mayor?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Unlike the City of London where its local government administer London CBD [Central Business District] and greater London, the City of Melbourne is divided in 76 areas and the Melbourne City Council only administer the Melbourne CBD and two surrounding residential areas, Docklands and Southbank.

While the area Melbourne City Council administer is small, the Melbourne CBD (second only to Sydney) is the engine of Australia's Economy. So [while] the scope of power is limited, the policies are wide-ranging. The Lord Mayor of Melbourne is partly a ceremonial role and partly a directorship role. It is like the Chairman of a company. The CEO of the council has all the executive powers. But the mayor and the councillors are like the board of directors and the chairperson. The only difference is that this chairperson sets the agenda for the CEO to implement. The chairperson drafts the agenda based on the wishes of the people — the voters.

Portrait of Gricol Yang, who is running for deputy Lord Mayor in this election.
Image: Wayne Tseng.

 ((WN )) Tell us about your team Zorin. Tell us about your partner Gricol Yang.

 ((Wayne Tseng )) As required by the Victoria Election Authority. All candidates that contest for the seat of Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor must form a team for ease of identification.

So I choose Team Zorin as a name that represented me, Wayne Tseng — Lord Mayor Candidate and Gricol Yang — Deputy Lord Mayor Candidate.

I chose Zorin because I also have another company called Zorin Industries which specialise in Robotics. The name will only last until the result of the election is known.

Gricol Yang obtained a degree in commerce and worked in the ANZ Banking Group as a Commercial Banker.

 ((WN )) You ran in an election as a representative of the Liberal party in 2010 — why did you quit the party? What have you learned since leaving the Liberals?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) I quit the party so I can run as an independent in the council election. I am pursuing direct democracy which is not an element of the Australian Liberal Party platform.

However, during the time as a member of the Liberal party, I have learnt so much about...

  1. Australia political systems
  2. The workings of 3 levels of government
  3. The political party machinery
  4. The relationship between the government and its people
  5. The change in Australian sentiment and;
  6. The limitation of the current Australia democracy in address[ing] change.

 ((WN )) Tell us about your company eTranslate.

 ((Wayne Tseng )) I founded the firm eTranslate which shares the same name as the USA firm eTranslate (but not related). We specialise in language expertise and language information technology. The firm has two arms — The technology arm focuses on services to help developers to create language variants of their software. The language/cultural services arm provides cultural communication services to local government. Australia is a lot of ethnic minorities speaking over 120 languages and over 80 cultures. We have offices across Australia and in selected countries.

Some of our past achievements include:

  • During years 2000 we launch world first Multilingual Olympic Games Information Website.
  • We launched world first Web Content Information System that support multilingual content.
  • We launched world first e-commerce platform that support different languages and different currencies.
  • Now we launched a new services to assist Robotics developer to create different language human robot interface.

We also won a number of awards for our innovations.

Wayne Tseng's Candidate Questionnaire and Answers for this year's Melbourne Lord Mayor election.
Image: Victorian Electoral Commission.

 ((WN )) In the Candidate Questionnaire and Answers, you had listed operating eTranslate has given you expertise in undertaking the role of Councillor. How? Can you please explain?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) As the firm grew, I spent more of [my] time in the cultural communication services arms. There I served as the principal consultant leading a team which delivered consultancy services to all three levels of government in Australia.

[A] politician needs business and life experience so they can make decisions that address real business and life situations.

So I do believe after years of growing and operating a business in so many areas, I could be of a service to the city.

File photo of Robert Doyle.
Image: Vikas D. Nambiar.

 ((WN )) What do you think of the current governance of Melbourne's Mayor?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) The current mayor, Sally Capp, entered mid-term when the previous mayor Robert Doyle was outsed for sexual harassment allegation.

I do appreciate the hard work Sally did to bridge the political divide in a council chamber she inherited. This year the pandemic has made her work even harder as for any other leaders. But what she fall short off is to stand up to the State Government (provincial government) which [has] restricted the city ability to take its own decisive action to better protect the city.

She is Labor aligned so she can not compromise too much of the Labor State Government reign. But a local government needs to be separate [from] State government so it can exercise its power to protect [its] constituents.

 ((WN )) Could you please [tell] us about the 'Precision Policies'?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Team Zorin pledge to bring all Melbournians to the council chamber. We will deploy an online platform to let Melbournians participate in the running of the city. You can post issues in your area, submit your solutions, raise alerts about wrong doing, rate your councillors action and comment on council decisions. It's called Participating Democracy. We pledge not only [to] formulate policies for the majority, but also [to] formulate precise policies for the minority. We called this Precision Policies.

You see the majority rule in current democracy. If you are in the minority, you will not be in luck. Our participating democracy platform ensure[s] that the needs of everyone includ[ing] those in minority group are captured. The government should work harder to ensure there are policies that precisely addressed the needs of everyone including minority group. Thus Precision Policies.

Team Zorin Advocacies
Image: Wayne Tseng.

 ((WN )) What are some of the things you can bring to [the] table if you were to be elected as the Lord Mayor?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Many other candidates in the election only advocate big spending and relief in payment of taxes. Just like the Spanish Flu that shaped the 20th century, COVID-19 is shaping our time and the city is ill prepared for the post COVID world. Our council processes and bureaucracies are still paper base, our revenue model is not flexible to enable rapid recovery and take advantage of new opportunity.

My strategy is to Re-open, Reset, Reform as part of Melbourne Recovery. There is a comprehensive plan for recovery in all sectors from business to residents. See attached document.

Current Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp.
Image: Victorian Government.

 ((WN )) What does Melbourne lack under Sally Capp's Mayorship which you plan on improving?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Sally['s] current strategy is to spend to recovery. While this is necessary, fundamental reforms are needed.

My strategy is to Re-open, Reset, Reform as part of Melbourne Recovery.

Key Reforms include:

Make Melbourne a full digitally transformed city with intelligent systems.

Melbourne needs an efficient platform to recover and to seize new opportunities. Some of our processes and bureaucracies are still paper base. The tech needed are already available and proven models of digitisation are easily accessible. We should move towards full digitisation plus installation of intelligent systems. In simple jargon, these intelligent systems can enable efficiency projects such as:

  • Freeing up unused public car park spaces, so enabling higher utilisation.
  • Broadcast CBD traffic information to cars so to redistribute traffic around the CBD.
  • Give Melbournians direct access to council services via their mobile.
  • Expand the existing "Participate Melbourne" to allow Melbournians to post issues, submit suggestions, hold virtual forums, vote on a solution, and submit to council for deliberation. If laws are enacted, allow direct vote.
  • Give an automated platform to engage with local Melbourne suppliers.
  • Offer an easy "e-engagement" platform for new industries to engage Melbourne and Melbourne businesses. The country Estonia has this for the last 8 years. Skype came from Estonia. Singapore has its GeBIZ system to engage any overseas enterprises in just 24 hours.
  • A permanent system to monitor COVID and any future outbreak (See below Bug Busters) team.

This new platform will be Melbourne "Digital Railway" to recovery.

Make Melbourne the first to reform council rate calculation.

Post COVID Melbourne will see many empty shops, office floors and rental apartments. This is in addition to the many heritage-listed and old CBD properties that are not rentable but incredibly valuable. The current council rate calculation which is based on property value will send these owners off the cliff.

Our team advocate a fundamental change to how council rate is calculated — based on yield and property value. A property of high value that remains vacant can receive lower rate bill. This will give relief but also give incentive for the property to attract new tenants. For commercial property where the tenant pays for the outgoing, the reduced rate bill will help to attract new tenants and relief for the tenant to grow their business.

The same applies to heritage-listed properties and residential rental properties. The list of beneficiaries is long.

Make Melbourne an active Jobweaver.

In some of candidates' campaigns have been alluded Job — Job — Jobs; unfortunately, reality is we know old industries including retail will not return the same number of jobs. So where will new jobs come from. Local government should enact policies and implement initiatives to attract new industries. While the federal government hands out Job Maker financial assistance, local government should implement "Job Weaver" initiatives to attract new industries.

While one candidate stated he has attracted a billion-dollar project to Melbourne, little of this money trickles to small businesses and local workforce. Melbourne's well-educated workforce can attract industries such as Robotics, AI Systems, Smart Financial Services and Accreditation Services. The key to attract these new industries is the development of the e-engagement platform.

Australia [may] enter a new NATO style trade pack with US, Japan, India, and other friendly nations. With so many Indian students and professions in Australia, Melbourne can seize the opportunity to be the business and finance center to administer these new alliances. Again, an efficient digital e-engagement platform is the key to seize these opportunities.

 ((WN )) On Team Zorin's website, you wrote "Melbourne is too precious to be used as a test lab for half-baked policies." What are some of the current policies that are under-serving the residents of Melbourne?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) There are many current policies that are not working and under serving. Here are two examples:

The Melbourne city council [...] advocate for more residential towers and approve[d] a lot which is under construction. But there are no essential services in these areas to service residents. Essential services such as doctor, dentist, child care, mental health services and women's health services are almost non-existent.

St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne
Image: c:Special:Contributions/Folfox.

Here is my advocacy: There is little on other candidates' platforms for Melbourne as Residential Precinct. There is a Chemist Warehouse in every block. But where to go when you are sick at night. Our team propose to attract essential services (such as 24 hours super-clinic) to service Melbourne residents including GPs, dentist, childcare, radiology, mental health, men's health, women's health and crisis management. We have over 50,000 students in Melbourne; however, they are not entitled to free medical at St Vincent even with a medical insurance. Gary Morgan rightly said, young family will settle in CBD, but where do they send their children for childcare, early learning, kindergarten, primary and secondary schools. Schools will lift apartment resale value. New apartments are being approved but with little green space and essential services. This will be failed.

Melbourne City council advocate to re-open business but there is not enough measure to make sure the premises are COVID safe.

This is my advocacy: Make Melbourne the first to install a city-level outbreak detection team.

A hard COVID lesson learnt is that outbreak needs to be contain fast. COVID-19 will not be the last. There are also frequent gastro outbreaks. Our team propose Australia first city-level Rapid Response, Virus education / awareness, Outbreak Detection and Containment Team (jokingly called Bug Busters). While we may not like to mention it, China's city level Bug Busters are key for them to contain outbreaks.

In addition, we advocate installation of health check gates at shopping centers and places of high people concentration. These gates will not only measure temperatures but will have regularly updated features to detect other symptoms. Just like security check points, they will become part of the post-COVID world. They may be integrated as part of security and drug checks. (The technology is already in used overseas).

Think again, this along with PPE when mandated and social distancing is the key to safe opening.

 ((WN )) On your website, you wrote "Team Zorin pledges to bring all Melbournians to the council chamber" — how do you plan to do that? How will this affect people of Melbourne? What technologies would you require to achieve that?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) The phrase bring all Melbournians to the council chamber is a metaphor. The reality is that all Melbournians will have their opportunity to submit their issues and their suggestions into the digital democracy platform. They can participate in virtual debate and trials. Those findings will be submitted to the council chamber for formal debate. Now even if the laws do not allow direct vote, the platform has online polls to allow the people to vote. The elected councillors can see the "wish" of the people and voted accordingly. Thus — "Bring the Melbournians to the council chamber".

To a number of Melbournians who have been so stressed and depressed, it will take sometime for them to appreciate the opportunity to have their say. At the same time, so many Melbournians are tired and fed up with the current mayor for the lack of real solutions and the state government errors and mistakes, they will look for alternatives.

I believe instead of installing another leader who is not going to be any wiser or someone who just want[s to] offer sensationalism just to win power, this is the time where we open the pathway to collective governing. The direct democracy or participating democracy (depends on who is framing this concept) will allow Melbournians to work collectively, find out solutions, TRIAL solutions, hold [...] forum and see what really works and then tell their leader to consider these well-founded solutions.

It does not affect the people of Melbourne other than giving them a new avenue to seek their answers. It will put the elected official on notice that people demand more, want to take part in the process of governing. Also the demand for greater transparency.

There are emerging technologies for participating democracy.

MiVote is one prominent technology using blockchain to enable secured voting. Since the model on how direct democracy is going to unfold, the technologies are catching up with the needs of the people.

For the first time in digital revolution, it is technology that is catching up with the people. In this case, it is the digital democracy platform trying to the catch up with the inspiration of the people. Other less sophisticated ones include WordPress with template UpVote.

 ((WN )) What do you think of one's right to privacy? Will the people of Melbourne have to compromise a part of their privacy to accommodate to your plans for the city?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Australia has a very strong privacy protection law. By participating in the democracy platform, the people would not disclose much of their details other than:

  1. Their entity;
  2. The fact that they are [enrolled] as a voter for that electorate and;
  3. detail of their experience and their views.

 ((WN )) How would you ensure the digital platform you intend to deploy for residents to participate for the running of city is not misused? In what ways will you ensure only the residents of the city can use it? Will the platform use user's privacy respecting software?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) The model in which how this participating democracy works itself will also be debated. Of course, I will seed the initial model.

The initial model do not allow anonymous posts or vote. Every one [who] contributes must verify that they are registered voters against the voters roll in the election authority. The voting itself are base on block chain which is the most secure we now have.

The software will respect Australia privacy law.

 ((WN )) How do you plan to help those Melbournians who are in the economically weaker category?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) The homeless and people living below the poverty line are part of the Melbourne community. On policy, the council will rent back empty home to give temporary shelter to the homeless or reduce rental for those who are economically weaker.

 ((WN )) Statistics show number of crimes reported in various cities in Australia including Melbourne have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. How do you plan on handling the COVID-19 pandemic? What policies would you introduce to reduce the rate of crimes in Melbourne?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) On my policy platform, we have advocate[d] for night safe zones, additional CCTV and patrols. We will work with the police department (run by the state government) to ensure they monitor the parts of the city that pose higher risks.

 ((WN )) Why do you think "Melbourne is poised to be a world city by 2030"? What are some of the things necessary for ensuring that comes true? What are some of the current barriers which may prevent that from happening? How would you remove those barriers?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Australia is an island continent. It has the world largest iron, lithium, uranium and rare earth reserve[s]. It has the most agriculturally sound land. It has every geographical [feature] you can find [on] earth. There is enough land to support a population of 2 billion.

Melbourne like Sydney is a business, administrative and cultural centre. Yet it does not have the financial burden of being the largest city in Australia.

Melbourne can seize the opportunity to be administration centre of the new opportunities. From new opportunities comes [new] found wealth and city development.

But what is stopping the city is its old paper base bureaucracies. This is why I advocate full digital transformation of council processes and install new smart systems. I also advocate the development of a[n] e-engagement system which allow[s] new industries from overseas to quickly engage with the City of Melbourne.

 ((WN )) Tell us about "Guided Governing". How would that play out? Your campaign talks about Democracy 2.0. What are the things where democracy is currently failing? How do you plan to fix it?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) In the Democracy 1.0, the majority rules. If you are a minority, you[r] needs may not be addressed.

Melbourne is so much more than those issues raised by the mayoral candidates. The recovery needs to include everyone, not just those whose needs are on the candidates' policy platform.

Melbournians will no longer accept that if your needs are not on their agenda, [bad] luck try again in 4 years. A lot can happen in 4 years. One COVID-19 lesson is to address issues head on, fast and with well-founded solutions. We can see from Stage 4, there were mistakes — 50 mistakes as the Herald Sun reported.

We understand politicians are human, there is a limit to how much they know — especially career politicians. Melbournians as a collective can offer so much. Take my extensive policies. In fact, the list is much longer. These are real issues submitted by people at the ground level including suggestions by the people on my mini digital democracy platform.

For example, when Sally advocated for the expansion to Southbank Boulevard and big events, residents in Southbank already unhappy at sound levels rejected this completely. They advocate that the council should enforce a quiet zone after 10pm at residential areas. This is on my platform.

Aerial photograph of Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne.
Image: c:User:Ferylbob.

Melbournians can submit their observations of any failures. One election issue is the self-injecting room (I know it is the state government who put it there). While every candidate concedes having one near QVM [Queen Victoria Market] and near residential towers is bad, no candidate mentioned that there are dealers hovering 150 meters away supplying the goods creating an epicentre of drug deals around the self-injecting room. Chinese students living in EQ towers on A'beckett street reported this on my platform even if they are not voters.

You see citizen participating can also stop bad policy in its track, this is guided governing.

Melbournians can offer topics/suggestions that the candidates don't see. As a collective they have a greater foresight. In my policy document, topics discussed include:

  1. Reform how council rate is calculated — So many Melbournians discussed this topic and offer justification why it works and give real life examples. It is like having a virtual forum and running a proof of concept exercise. No other candidate discussed this. It is on my platform.
  2. Job, Job and Jobs. Most Melbourne business owners know old industries, particular retail will not return the same number of jobs. We need to attract new industries. Council can play a role in attracting new industries. We call this Jobweaver.
  3. The need for rapid digitisation and the establishment of an e-engagement platform to attract new industries and new business from overseas. Melbournians do business overseas like in Singapore. They experience the quick and easy way to establish presence in the city.
  4. Also a local city level outbreak detection and control team — Bug Busters. They saw such in Wuhan, HK [(Hong Kong)] and Singapore. [They] attribute to [it] keeping their numbers down. COVID-19 will not be the last.

These potential ideas and virtual forum findings can be submitted to the council chamber for councillors to debate guided by the evidence presented. Of course the current laws do not allow citizens to directly vote on council decisions. But Melbournians can conduct their votes on online polls. The result will show the councillors in the chamber the wish of the people. If they do not vote reflecting the wish of the people, they will know their [fate] come next election.

If I was to be elected, I will take gradual steps to introduce a platform for participation and direct vote.

My plan is to expand "Participate Melbourne " to empower Melbournians to

  • submit their issues.
  • submit their suggested solution.
  • offer other ideas for the betterment of Melbourne.
  • hold virtual forums.
  • participate in online committees (Dan already legalise[d] online meetings for committees).
  • participate in trials or proof-of-concept exercises.

It goes further:

  • comment on council's own initiative or agenda.
  • rate the performance or action of a councilor.
  • report on policy failures (Herald Sun report of a socall park gate was a classic).
  • While [they] can not directly vote on council decisions, they can vote in online polls to tell councillors the wish of the people.
Melbourne Town Hall
Image: User:Adz.

 ((WN )) Why do you plan to make Melbourne Australia's capital?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Melbourne was Australia capitol until 1927. Then it was moved to Canberra.

The indigenous people of Australia do have rights. But their identity and their rights are either suppressed or not encouraged.

I want to use Melbourne public space to be a place where the First Nations (Indigenous) people can hold their discussion forum. I want to have the map of their different tribes displayed in Town Hall.

I also want a day where we have the Indigenous festival.

 ((WN )) You have plans to create a city level disease detection swat unit and to install temperate and health check gates — how much time would it take to do it all across Melbourne? How much resources and funds are you planning to put behind the disease prevention of the city?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) I am [not(?)] privy to council records. So I don't have all the tools to calculate. But because the area that Melbourne City Council is small. I can work out the budget. I may budget to be the same that the city is spending now controlling the outbreak.

 ((WN )) Your manifesto also mentions reviewing "animal management plan" — could you tell us more about it?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Pets are not support[ed] and unwanted in City of Melbourne. The current animal management plan advocates if lost pets are not claimed within a certain number of days they are killed.

Many people who moved from the suburbs to the city often left their pets on the streets. This is sad.

I think we should be compassionate. I will definitely review the pet plan and called it "Creatures big and small care plan".

 ((WN )) How do you plan to preserve the indigenous art and support multi-cultural aspect of the city?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Mining companies frequently blasted sacred aboriginal sites destroying precious aboriginal artwork. Some of their art work are actually dumped in shipping containers. Melbourne has so many public galler[ies] and museums. They can be commission to preserve, store and exhibit aboriginal artworks.

 ((WN )) Given the owners profit from pairing up with Airbnb which hikes the house rent — what is your stance on Airbnb and similar short-stay rentals and their long-term effect on affordability?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Airbnb and similar short-stay rental are [an] important source of income for city apartment landlords. Yet they are also a source of disturbances for residents. Residents deserve peace and enjoyment.

So Airbnb needs to be regulated. My plan is to have public consultation where all stakeholders get to have a say on the digital democracy platform and hold a virtual forum.

Some of the initial key consideration[s] include:

  • [Give] building management greater powers to set standards.
  • Apply standards to Airbnb and other booking agencies.
  • Ensure new building[s] have setup for Airbnb access and landlord to meet strict requirements.

 ((WN )) What are some of the strongest criticisms you have received for your plans for Melbourne? How did those criticisms change your views?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) My policies for the city of Melbourne have been collectively suggested by talking to the people of Melbourne through my digital participating democracy platform. So they are populist policies. Few actually criticise them.

However, there is one major challenge. The current tension between Chinese and Australia fuel public speculation about why so many Chinese candidate. They are worried about foreign infiltration. While I enjoy pretty good coverage, many other Chinese/Asian candidates are being teased or harassed. Overall, this does not give a good public image for all Chinese/Asian candidates. Any voters who [do] not know me, may not vote for me because I have a Chinese face.

 ((WN )) If you had to vote for the current candidates other than yourself for this year's election, which three candidates would you vote for? Why?

 ((Wayne Tseng ))

  • Sally Capp — She has the experience as mayor and can ensure continuity of city's affairs.
  • Aaron Wood — He was the deputy mayor and he is willing to stand up for the city's benefits from the next level up government — The State Government which has more over-arching power over the city.
  • Greens — they are a popular party in Melbourne city CBD, their policies [have been] becoming less radical and more mainstream.

 ((WN )) What are some of the reasons people may not vote for Team Zorin?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Reasons:

  1. We do not belong to the major parties (Liberal or Labor).
  2. We are not from the social elite (traditionally mayors were from big business person, link to major parties or social elite). The current mayor Sally Capp comes from political heritage linked to the Liberal Party. This is where this model does not fit the modern world. It is not fair that the seat of mayor always goes to the elite.
  3. We may be seen as inexperience[d] as none in our team have administer[ed] the City of Melbourne.

 ((WN )) In case if you do not win the election, what would be your next plan of action?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) [My] goal is to leverage on the friend and networks [I have] developed to further advance participating democracy in Australia.

During the time as a candidate, I have used any publicity available to promote the concept. I have written to the following part[s] of society:

  • To all Australia sitting politician and candidates,
  • To all Australian media includ[ing] TV, radio and newspapers,
  • To different cultural community groups,
  • To different community and non profit organisation[s].

I hope to promote the concept to all level[s] of society so they will become more educated and understand its benefits. So when future government can enact direct vote, the great people of Australia can easily follow.

I will formally form a party called Zorin Australia which will attract member[s] across Australia through the democracy platform.

We will also gradually establish a nation-wide democracy platform where the great people of Australia continue to post their issues, solutions, vision, hopes and advise the government on the course of governing.

The various champions on the platform can be great candidate[s] to represent the people come next election.

 ((WN )) What do you think of world dominance?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) I do not believe in world dominance. The whole point of the participating democracy or Democracy 2.0 is to give the power to determine by the people.

The people collaborate in their own community. The different communities collaborate in a city. Cities collaborate in a state/provinces. Provinces collaborate in a country. Countries collaborate together as part of one cohesive entity.

Of course, this is a utopia that is not going to happen anytime soon. But it is a model that we hope where countries at different stage of readiness will adopt. Step by step humanity improves.

Imagine we have a new martian colony. What kind of government will we want to be there. We will likely want something like participating democracy, everyone['s] needs are address, everyone collectively decides. So if this is what is in the future, why can['t] we start to slow[ly] adopt this model today.

About multi-cultural aspects of Melbourne

 ((WN )) What does the demographic of Melbourne currently look like?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) According to 2016 census:

Children aged 0–14 years made up 3.8% of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 5.1% of the population. Of people in Melbourne (State Suburbs) aged 15 years and over, 23.7% were married and 5.8% were either divorced or separated.

0.5% of the population, or 24,062 people, identified as Indigenous Australians (Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders) in 2016. Melbourne has the 10th largest immigrant population among world metropolitan areas. In Greater Melbourne at the 2016 census, 63.3% of residents were born in Australia.

 ((WN )) How do you plan on making Melbourne the Repository for Cultural Artefacts and Knowledge?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) I always believe knowledge is humanity['s] biggest achievement. Yet they are constantly be[ing] destroy[ed] by successive regime who see certain part do not align with their ideology. It happens all around the world.

But I [don't] want to be racist. I am Chinese. So I can comment on China. For a millenni[um] each imperial dynasty aim[ed] to destroy the knowledge and culture of those that were not compatible with their regime.

The biggest destruction was [by] the Qin (Chin) emperor when he unified China. Even to this day, the Chinese Cultural Revolution has further destroy[ed] what was traditional China.

File photo of Buddha's statue in Bamiyan, Afghanistan which was later destroyed.
Image: James Gordon.

We see it in Afghanistan, Syria and even in Australia.

There are a large part of Australia society which love truth, knowledge and fairness.

Australia for the time being is very stable politically. The country geographic is stable with no earthquakes and volcanoes. Humidity is low and weather stable.

To sum it up, it is a country suitable to [store] artefact[s] and knowledge that are at risks in their host country. The benefit for Australia is that the world will come and see, bring[ing] tourism.

The artefacts will only be preserve[d] here with consent of the traditional owners.

 ((WN )) Are you aware of the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museum) outreach project run by Wikimedia? Do you look forward to facilitating the outreach for mutual benefit? How would you facilitate that?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) I did not know until now. I understand what is GLAM. I think it can serve as a great preservation of culture, artefact while Wikipedia is for the preservation of knowledge. I will look into it in the future.

 ((WN )) What according to you is more important: Representation of minorities in the council or minority citizens getting a platform to express their needs, and grievances? Why? What are your plans to achieve that?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) It's democracy in Australia. The City administration changes after each election. Certain administration may be pro-minority, some may not. Some administration may have good minority representation, some may not.

So it is important that there is a platform which empowers the minority to post their needs and discuss their preferences. [By] law if issues are known, they need to be addressed by the government.

So it will be ideal that we get both good minority representation in government and the platform to support them. But the former can not be guaranteed.

 ((WN )) Why did you start eTranslate? What type of advice does it provide to the three tiers of government?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) eTranslate has two arms — the Technology arm — which focus on empowering technologies to support multicultural user needs and multilingual content.

The other is multicultural communication services — It is a like a Public Relation service but focus on ethnic groups. So our team provide this multicultural PR services to government. We empower the government clients with language resources, cultural expertises and ethnic media channel to interact with their ethnic minority constituents.

So we work with all levels of government.

 ((WN )) What are some of the problems ethnic minorities face in Melbourne?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Due to low fertility rate, Australia has [to] constantly embark on increasing migration to top up its population. As such, there is a diverse set of ethnic minority groups in fact over 80. Australia treat[s] its minority well compare to other OECD [(Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)] countries. But when you have so many group[s] competing for government priorities, it is hard to find a balance.

Most of the time, the larger minority group[s] gain more access to resources. This is why my participating democracy platform helps to ensure the needs of all minority groups are identified and addressed — Thus Precision Policies.

 ((WN )) What percentage of residents in Melbourne and Victoria are aboriginals?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Melbourne 0.5%, Victoria 1.6%.

Wayne Tseng talking about making Melbourne the capital of the indigenous people of Australia.
Image: Wayne Tseng.

 ((WN )) Aboriginal population in Melbourne and in Victoria is very low as compared to other states. Why? And would it make sense to make Melbourne capital of Aboriginals when there aren't enough of them in the city?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) The distribution of indigenous people depends on a lot of factors. These again due to historical reasons that we can go on forever. The are tens of indigenous tribes across the country. Sadly some were hunted to extinction in the last century, particularly in Tasmania.

Mak[ing] a location a capital for the First Nations people will be symbolic rather than totally enshrine[d] in law. Ideally it would be best in the City of Darwin. But unless I was a mayor there, it may not happen.

So having [it] in Melbourne does allow some symbolic and provide a forum for the different tribes to gather and have open discussions.

The "capital" can rotate from city to city periodically if other cities allow. But ultimately it will be up to the elders to approve.

 ((WN )) How [do] you envision Melbourne would look like by 2025 under your mayorship?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Each mayor term is 4 years, that takes it to 2024 at the latest. Realistically, Melbourne and Australia being a much smaller economy will take longer to recover from COVID-19.

So to be practical, we hope the city will attain the following by 2024-25:

  1. Melbourne recovers from the pandemic;
  2. Most business restored;
  3. City finances recover from the massive debt incurred;
  4. City fully digitised and ready to take on new opportunities;
  5. Residents can enjoy a safe, healthy and livable environment;
  6. Tourism flourish[es] again;
  7. New industries invest in Melbourne;
  8. Arts and Culture restored.

 ((WN )) If elected, what would constitute a successful mayorship for you?

 ((Wayne Tseng )) I believe what constitute a successful mayorship are

  1. To maintain the integrity and high standard expected from the office of Mayor;
  2. Implement the pledge made during the election;
  3. Be consultative to the community;
  4. Be proactive in responding to issues;
  5. Monitor the changing force at state, national and international level and prepare the city to meet those challenges;
  6. laid the foundation necessary to grow the city and protect it against unsavoury forces.

Further thoughts

Wayne Tseng also shared his insights on various things on how collaboration between the members of society,

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Just [to] summarise:

Since I was 10, I watched how the ant[s] collaborate. I asked how we people can collaborate further. In school, I appreciated competition bring creativity. But I also believe collaboration ensures not only creativity, but accountability, responsibility, integrity and productivity.

When I was in university, my computer studies focused on collaborative computing. My post graduate research was on software globalisation — again global collaboration.

My company eTranslate really aims to empower companies to go global while in Australia assist all ethnic minority groups collaborate and co-exist in harmony.

In politics, I seek to find a solution where we can reach consensus. It does not have to be LEFT or RIGHT, black or white. Democracy is one system that endures, but it is no longer acceptable to just say majority rules. This led me to participating democracy or Democracy 2.0.

Once can say — So my life experience really led me towards participating democracy or Democracy 2.0.

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Democracy 2.0:

When I gave presentation, I always said if there is a Mars Colony now, what kind of political system or government would you prefer: Authoritarianism, Communism, Fascism, Monarchy or Democracy?

If Democracy, do you want to be squeeze[d] to either the LEFT or the RIGHT or only majority rules? Or may be you want a collective government where the needs of everyone is addressed. So that's participating democracy. Now if that is the future, why don't we progress towards this TODAY.

I have developed an index to measure to what degree a country has adopted participating democracy. I share this in the future topic.

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Society 1.0:

While developing the model for participating democracy, I saw many institutions have refined processes and some have matured to a point where it is like a car. The [model], functions and overall attributes of a car is matured.

Imagine that we put all the attributes of an institution whether a health system, a hospital, a school or an education department in a bottle. We can deploy this to other countries that have [not] yet got such a matured setup.

Now imagine we got a whole matured community or city setup in bottle, this can be deploy to new city setup in the dessert or new settled land.

Now imagine after exchanging and further developing these setup. Eventually, like a car which is quite mature, we have a setup or definition of a city or SOCIETY that is almost universally accepted. I call this SOCIETY 1.0.

Democracy 2.0 can lead to SOCIETY 1.0. The ongoing debate of how to govern a society will lead to a universally agreed FORMAT/SETUP/DEFINITION of a SOCIETY.

During COVID-19, the ability of different medical centres to collaborate in the development and trialling of different vaccine candidates showed the need to standardise setup of clinics, hospital and even the health ministry. Those that are compatible and matured progressed further.

It will take a moment to sink it.

 ((Wayne Tseng )) Collectivism 1.0:

Collaboration and Collectivism if well structured or modelled can be the next BIG step in human achievement.

We see collaboration between students. Let say this has a productivity factor of 4 (where 1 is a person working on his own)

We see collaborat[ion] of different team[s] working together each focusing on a part of the problem. This has the productivity factor of 16.

However if there is [a] well defined guide to community collaboration where the high number of participants can explore all different permutation[s] of a problem, the productivity factor can be 256. Add in computation power. We are talking about a factor of 65,536. It will expand humanity achievements.

Back to my childhood observation — the numbers do count in creativity and productivity.

The holy grail is to find that magic collaboration model.


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.