There's nothing worse than seeing a government devoid of any new ideas squeeze itself into another three-year term. Admittedly, the result doesn't say much about the electorate either, except perhaps that, in our eyes, Kim Beazley was too big to squeeze into anything - let alone his first prime ministerial suit. Which just goes to show that the bigger bloke doesn't always win.
Now that we have Mr Howard back, let's just say there will be no more butter on the bread, no matter where in the IT industry your buttering is done. As the economic gospel according to John and his nutritionists says, in these challenging times, it pays to be lean and diet-conscious. Mind you, if John's nutritionists are as good as his IT policy-makers, we'd better start writing to the Governor General right now. For, apart from figuring out that IT should emerge as an area worth including in a political platform, there isn't much else to indicate that anyone in the newly elected Government gets IT!
Take proposed policies, for example. Based on the $2.9 billion Innovation Plan announced earlier this year, the Government is still operating with three to five-year expenditure timeframes; has promised help in commercialising Australian research, but keeps cutting research funding; and has professed undying devotion to solving datacasting and broadband issues, but can't bring itself to twist the arm of its naughty favourite, Telstra. At best, it's status quo, as Pete Young's Big Yarn of the month argues. At worst, such a post-election attitude smells like a disaster equalling only that of a one-night stand. Somehow, it feels like Johnny no longer wants to know you.
Of course, there was a time when IT was the star-performing employer and wealth creator of the decade, which necessitated the unlikely coupling of a rather spunky-less government and a sexy economic prodigy. It wouldn't be unfair or arrogant to claim that the success of the Howard-Costello Government indeed depended heavily on IT's job-generation ability. But that was before 2001. The industry is currently at its lowest point in the last 30 years, yet the Government seems oblivious to the fact the star performer is in urgent need of policies to stimulate investment to get it out of the slump. So much for political memory - it's full of one-nighters!
Then again, political marriages rarely last longer than an election cycle, so the relegation from amoureux du jour to yesterday's news is not necessarily a bad thing. Except for the fact that we, as an industry, will have to rely on ourselves to get things moving again. Which is what this issue of Channel X is about.
When Murphy's Law decides to take a holiday and 18 months is no longer long enough to prop up upgrade cycles, looking for money can become a bit of an open-season business. Indeed, over the last few months, it's become obvious that only storage and security markets remain shielded from the otherwise omnipresent IT spending freeze, which has affected a great majority of channel services providers. Vendors, analysts, distributors and resellers are in agreement that the two segments remain rich in services opportunities and, while the bounty might not be of a dotcom magnitude, the pie is big enough for quite a few to dig in. So, read up, skill up and take a plunge.
While you're at it, the holiday season will descend upon us soon, so, from all of us at Channel X, have a safe and happy Christmas and New Year. And happy plunging.