Govt style manual updated for digital age

The government is updating its official Style Manual to bring public servants’ communication skills into the  digital age.

The Australian Government Style Manual provides rules and guidance for writing and editing with the aim of ensuring clarity and consistency in government communications.

The first government style manual appeared in 1966 with the aim of improving the quality of documents presented to parliament.

New editions were published in 1972, 1978, 1988, 1994 and 2002 to keep up with changes in technology, inclusive language and desktop and online publishing.

The seventh edition of style manual, which is currently in beta development by the Digital Transformation Agency, will be digitally-focussed in content and format and will be published online, complete with links and internet-enabled features.

The document is being created in partnership with Ethos CRS, the ANU National Dictionary Centre and Oxford University Press Australia and NZ (OUP ANZ).

The DTA says the new guide will reflect contemporary government usage and will include sections on digital media and content design.

OUP ANZ says the result will be a “definitive digital style manual” that will set a new standard both in Australia and internationally.

The manual would refresh and define government communications, OUP ANZ Director Secondary Publishing Lee Walker said.

“As the authority on Australian English, we are looking forward to contributing to the Australian Government’s Style Manual, ensuring the highest standards for writing and publishing are maintained, and that the language used in government publications reflects the new realities of the digital age,” she said in statement.

The new manual will be approved by a multi-agency governance board before going live later this year.

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2 thoughts on “Govt style manual updated for digital age

  1. It would be great if they encouraged active voice rather than passive – hard to read local councils documents with passive voice

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