AIIA: The IT industry will vote for Labor, Stephen Conroy and the NBN

Industry lobby group claims the Coalition’s lack of strategy may represent a lack of understanding

The Australian ICT industry has little to gain from the Liberal Party and is likely to get behind the Labor Party and Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, according to AIIA CEO, Ian Birks.

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) is a leading ICT industry lobby group.

“At the moment the ICT industry would be quite partisan and would provide strong support for the Labor Party,” he said. “There isn’t really a clear alternative. Once there is one then we’ll have to evaluate it and it may lead to a different assessment.

“The current policy position of the opposition doesn’t recognise the critical position that the Digital Economy will play in the future… by not supporting the rapid rollout of ubiquitous high-speed broadband they’re not providing the key underpinning from which everything else will flow.”

Birks said the Opposition lacked an understanding of how important the IT industry and its products are to any viable society. He expected the Labor Party to the bigger spender when it comes to Government procurement of IT hardware and services.

“If the Opposition is that it wants to reduce the size of Government then there is an implicit position that says it will spend less on IT,” he said “The key issue is to understand the role technology has in underpinning a better society and economy and the Opposition doesn’t really have that clearly as their platform at the moment.

“It is a concern that we have not seen a clearly stated Opposition policy in this area but I understand one is being developed.”

Birks also disliked the Coalition’s use of the National Broadband Network as an example of financial mismanagement.

“It undermines confidence in the digital economy and the value of infrastructure,” he said. “The danger is that people who only have a limited understanding of what can be achieved are likely to view this as a negative issue and therefore the whole thing will catch a cold.”

But the Coalition is talking with various industry bodies with Birks claiming Shadow Minister, Tony Smith’s, office had contacted him about having a meeting on key issues.

Former Optus executive, Paul Fletcher, is now a member of the Liberal Party and has met with the AIIA and other industry bodies to canvass opinions for a Coalition policy.

“He generally understands the positive role our industry can play so I feel confident he’s a good person in that sense,” Birks said.

According to a spokesperson for Shadow Minister, Tony Smith, the Coalition would not shy away from criticising the estimated maximum cost of the NBN or describing it as a reckless and risky adventure.

"We won't respond to speculation about what may or may not be in the Coalition's broadband policy," the spokesperson said in a statement. "During the course of the campaign the Coalition will outline a responsible alternative policy to deliver fast, reliable and affordable broadband, as well as other related policies."

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Tags Labor PartyAIIA CEOLiberal Partyian birksNational Broadband Network (NBN)Senator Stephen ConroyCommunications Ministeroptuspaul fletchertony smithShadow Minister

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The Liberal Party if by some disaster it gets elected should face criminal charges if it scrapped the NBN



"During the course of the campaign the Coalition will outline a responsible alternative policy to deliver fast, reliable and affordable broadband, as well as other related policies."

It's probably about time the coalition took it out of the too-hard basket and started to make something up. They have nearly four weeks. It should be easy. It's only the entire nation's I.T. infrastructure for the next several decades.



Ian is clearly a Birk of the highest order. It is insulting to suggest that ALL in the IT industry would rally around a common theme during an election campaign. In suggesting such, Ian is clearly assuming that ALL in the industry are either too simple or too selfish to be able to discriminate between their work and their world.

Right minded people, regardless of their vocational calling or industry paymaster should be free and able to make political decisions based upon what is best for them personally not what might best suit their employer.

Shame on you Ian for bringing what is otherwise a valuable body into disrepute by engaging in political dialogue. Shame.



coalition gets my vote, yes I hope they don't scrap the NBN, but,
Labours mandatory filtering, i'm not against filtering certain things like child porn, but it must be a open list, which is restricted to child porn (Turkey, added a filter a few years ago specifically against child porn, now it blocks over 6000 websites, including political commentries and parts of google). This alone would be enough for me to vote coalition.
But also, everytime labour is in power, they drag the country into debt again - until either they (or the coalition) eventually have to raise taxes to cover the debt labour have created.

As far as I can see, the NBN is the only good thing they have done.



Let me rephrase that title:

AIIA: The IT industry will vote for Communism, Stephen Conroy and the Filter!



When I can get up to 300% faster Internet performance for free using Malaysia/Singapore/Thailand airport wi-fi than I can get from my $180 per month service in Australia on the best day it ever saw, I figure something needs to be drastically improved.

The NBN is essential! My vote depends on it!



Speak for yourself, AIIA.
I would like reasonably-priced fibre internet, but a government that plans to filter the net in any way will never get my vote. I don't care about anything else - they could buy me a new house and I still wouldn't vote for them.



Its these stupid assumptions from new style so called "news reporters" that I hate most. Bad enough you dare you ASSUME this but to put it to print as major headline based on a 1% er.
LOW LOW I am sure there are a lot more people out there that do not accept the degree of Conroy filter.
Besides what country was that agin, that kicked up the fuss on China's censorship..OH please!



Conroy's filter will never happen. He'll be outgunned by public protest.

Stephen F Conroy


I just hope that whoever gets in can keep all them spams and phishes out of the internets. 20,000 phishes and spams, er...reboot, reboot...

Angus Pickering


You guys do realise that abbot is going to implement a filter as well. He has dodged every question about it and is part of the same ACL group that is pushing for it. Voting for Liberal will still get us filtered but with even slower internet.



A lot of people are worrying unnecessarily against the filter. Conroy has delayed it now, and in my view it will never come in. It is too hard to do. I suspect that the ISPs will have to block some obvious kiddy porn sites, but that will be the compromise. Governments always do this with unpopular policies. First they announce a delay, review etc, and then back down (e.g mining tax). This is what will happen here.



Conroy will not back away. He is a zealot. Abbott is no better. They are acting in their own interests, and don't give a stuff about what the general public wants. They fear the internet as they can't control it like the big media. Conroy gave $250M to the TV stations - Sold! They are in his pocket. Invite a few journo's down to the casino for a few beers, a few girls might wander in to say 'hi', and everyone is best friends all of a sudden. We have no hope - the government is against us, and very soon the ability to say anything about it will be taken away. Mr and Mrs Average living in suburbia have no idea, and couldn't care as long as Masterchef comes on every night, and there is beer in the fridge.



@rodzilla. Rod, how can anyone know to protest, when the ability to advertise the protest is gone? You say 'outgunned', but they took them away too, and no-one could get off their fat ass long enough to care. The average Australian is too well indoctrinated to do as they are told and not question. Or too stupid and lazy. Either way, the result is the same.

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