Coonan vs Conroy: preparing for battle

Photograph of Senator Stephen Conroy and Senator Helen Coonan

As mentioned last week, Friday morning I’m having breakfast with the ICT minister Senator Helen Coonan and her ALP counterpart Senator Stephen Conroy — along with some many members of the ACS.

That’s Senator Coonan on the right. In every sense of the word.

While the discussion will be chaired by some bloke from Channel 7, I’m assuming there’ll be a chance for questions. When I asked on Link last week, here’s what popped up. What would you add?

[In no particular order, numbered for reference.]

  1. ICT as a critical “enabling” element in our response to climate change, which will require lots of distributed access to lots of information and the tools to evaluate it.
  2. Protecting children online.
  3. Increased broadband capacity at affordable prices.
  4. What happened to the Information Economy? Why are all the information jobs going off shore to India?
  5. What is going to happen to the CDMA network?
  6. Why does the government continue to behave like they own Telstra?
  7. Programming for digital TV.
  8. What would each do in government to facilitate remote/teleworking?
  9. Reducing Australia’s reliance on monopoly software — particularly in government; promotion of the use of open standards; and the development of a national software industry based on open standards and open source.
  10. ICT security — do we want to develop critical ICT infrastructure with (how can I say this diplomatically?) levels of security commonly associated with user platforms?
  11. An enforced split of Telstra’s retail and infrastructure divisions

I think I’d pull back to a Big Picture question about teh Internet. In 1995, Australia was 3rd on the planet in terms of Internet bandwidth and computer power per population, now we’re not even in the Top 10. What are your thoughts on that? Is it important? If so, how should it be addressed? If not, why not?

What are your thoughts?

8 Replies to “Coonan vs Conroy: preparing for battle”

  1. Oh dear. I’ve replaced the photograph with the “correct” one. For reference, here’s what I’d posted originally.

    Photograph of Senator Stephen Conroy and Julie Bishop MP

    I think my mistake was caused by (a) a very long day yesterday and (b) my deep, sensual love for Julie Bishop.

    @Snarky Platypus: Sadly, no, there was no “good joke”. Your challenge for today is to think of one. It’ll make up for your, ahem, “breach of ethics” last night.

  2. @Snarky Platypus: There’s some deeply disturbing logic bomb in what you just said. I’ll try not to think about it.

    As for tomorrow, well, on Facebook today my status was:

    Stilgherrian is blurring distinctions between Helen Coonan and Julie Bishop, and it’s kinda dirrrrty.

    Someone who shall remain nameless (but he works for Microsoft) said:

    Julie is the cute one. Helen looks like a school headmistress. And not one of those naughty ones with leather, whips and spanking.

    I don’t know what that says about him. Or Microsoft.

  3. Well originally I was horrified when Telecom was sold off. IMO, infrastructure like roads, education, health, power, water and telecommunications are just to important to the entire economy of a country to risk making a profit out of, and I think the Californian experience with Enron adequately demonstrated this, yet despite all the evidence Australia went blindly on making a small amount of people rich and everybody else struggling to pay the bills, US stylin!

    Now I work at Telstra (oh the irony).

    Anyways, I’ve been pretty indoctrinated, when they autopsy me they will find a big T branded on my heart. In for penny… But what boggles my mind is how on one hand the Liberals will sell off Telstra to ma and pa investors and then with the other, give foreign owned company (OPAL) money to compete with an Australian owned company directly. HSDPA vs. WiMAX…

    The present telecommunications situation is laughable. For example, Telstra can only place ADSL 2+ at exchanges that the competition ALSO plan to place ADSL 2+. The Fibre to the Node network is all ready to roll with no tax payer money involved, and yet, due to concerns for looming monopoly (ahem) are prevented from rolling it out…

    Obvious signs to me that our government is short sighted and reactionary, and don’t even get me started on the digital television farce…

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