Miscommunication. Paul Fletcher spins his top like turvey

By LAURIE PATTON | 9 October 2019

Communications minister Paul Fletcher today spoke at an industry conference and outdid his Coalition predecessors in an extraordinary attempt to defend the beleaguered National Broadband Network. These are just some of the comments he made to an incredulous audience of IT professionals who know so much more than he does.

Continue reading “Miscommunication. Paul Fletcher spins his top like turvey”

Time to stop digging our way out of trouble. A lesson from the past?

By LAURIE PATTON | 6 Octoberr 2019

For the foreseeable future Australia will rely on mining for economic growth and to maintain our current standard of living. Yet unresolved debates over a number of proposed coal mines have exposed a rift in political circles that may well determine the outcome of the next federal election, just as the issue had a major impact on this year’s poll.

While the risk is arguably greater on Labor’s side the turning tide of public opinion spurred by concerns about Global Warming suggests both the major parties would be well-advised to start thinking about their future responses to the demands of the mining lobby.

Continue reading “Time to stop digging our way out of trouble. A lesson from the past?”

How Malcolm Turnbull missed his chance to fix the NBN

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is nbn.jpg

By LAURIE PATTON | 26 September 2019

Internet access is now the most complained about telco service in Australia according to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s latest report. The state of our trouble-plagued NBN continues to see consumers heading to the authorities in the faint hope their broadband problems can be fixed. Alas, the future remains bleak for millions of NBN Co customers until the Government abandons a flawed set of technologies simply incapable of delivering 21st Century speeds.

Back in December 2016 I attended a fancy black tie dinner at which then prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, was one of the guest speakers. Toward the end of the evening, having spotted me at a nearby table, Mr Turnbull beckoned me to join him in conversation. We’ve known each other for many years.

Not missing an opportunity I told him that his NBN was in big trouble. Actually, I used far more colourful language to describe this fetid project. However, I also said that there was a solution that should be adopted ASAP. “I need to know about this. Come and see me”, was the PM’s response.

Continue reading “How Malcolm Turnbull missed his chance to fix the NBN”

Barbarians at the gate – don’t let them destroy Murray Valley National Park

By Laurie Patton | 12 July 2019

The New South Wales deputy premier wants to allow logging in a national park in the state’s Riverina. John Barilaro says he intends removing statutory protection of the 42,000 hectare Murray Valley National Park – either by de-gazetting the entire area or reducing its size.

Forty years ago we fought to stop the logging of a rainforest at Terania Creek in northern NSW. I cannot believe this issue is back on the political agenda.

Continue reading “Barbarians at the gate – don’t let them destroy Murray Valley National Park”

The Assange dilemma. What is journalism in the online age?

By LAURIE PATTON | 13 June 2019 (Updated 22 July 2019)

Julian Assange dumped huge amounts of material secured from US Government computers straight onto the Internet, unfiltered and uncorroborated. If, instead, he had leaked it directly to the media outlets that subsequently, but very selectively, published reports based on some of his WikiLeaks files he probably would not be in gaol facing extradition to the United States. His identity as a ‘source’ would have been protected. Ironically, any American journalists who used his material could quite possibly now be in prison for failing to reveal their source.

While there seems little doubt the material was genuine, that’s quite a separate matter from whether or not each document contained accurate and truthful accounts.

And while I sympathise with Mr Assange’s perilous personal plight and accept that he is not in good health, let’s not applaud what was a dangerous practice and a dubious precedent – publicly exposing sensitive and unverified data that could potentially risk people’s lives and create unforeseen collateral damage.

At the very least WikiLeaks arguably violated the privacy rights of people named in otherwise confidential documents.

There are calls for the Australian Government to help Assange, but it’s hard to see what can be done for the guy at this point. By all means we should argue the case for fair treatment but some of his supporters’ statements and actions are more likely to do him harm.

Continue reading “The Assange dilemma. What is journalism in the online age?”

Multi-technology mess. Why the film and TV industry should be fighting for #BetterBroadband

By LAURIE PATTON | 17 June 2019

According to PwC’s 18th annual Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook, video streaming platforms will outstrip Foxtel and other traditional Pay-TV services for market share in the next two years. More than half Australia’s adults are paying for subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services, according to Media Partners Asia research.

As sure as the Sun will rise from the East tomorrow we’ll soon enough be rushing out buying 8K televisions, the next technology upgrade bringing even more ultra-high definition pictures to our screens. When the original high definition TV’s went on the market they were so expensive it took years before they became commonplace in Australian homes. These days more than 90 percent have HDTV’s in some form, and prices have dropped dramatically.

Increasingly, people are watching content delivered via the Internet rather than traditional terrestrial broadcasts. Yet, for many consumers of film and television content our dud NBN means upgrading to the latest HDTV is pointless.

Continue reading “Multi-technology mess. Why the film and TV industry should be fighting for #BetterBroadband”

It’s the vision, stupid! Why we need #BetterBroadband

By LAURIE PATTON | 19 May 2019

While neither side of politics said much about our increasingly-maligned National Broadband Network during the election period, the fact is Australia is falling behind in the race to leverage the benefits – economic and social – of an emerging digitally-enabled future.

“It’s the economy, stupid” is the slogan attributed to James Carville, who was Bill Clinton‘s 1992 US presidential campaign strategist. It was about creating a clear message about the candidate’s plans for the country.

In 2015, newly appointed prime minister Malcolm Turnbull similarly coined the term “innovation nation” to describe what he saw as a pressing need to make Australia more innovative and agile – and an issue that would differentiate his approach to government. Turnbull’s problem was that two years earlier, under pressure from his predecessor Tony Abbott, he had laid down tracks leading in the opposite direction.

Continue reading “It’s the vision, stupid! Why we need #BetterBroadband”

UPDATE: A tale of two smart cities – life in the NFP sector

By LAURIE PATTON | 16 May 2019

Back in January I wrote about my disappointing time at the helm of the Australian Smart Communities Association. Since then all the Annual Reports have been taken down from the ASCA website. This happened only days after I’d asked for a copy of the latest report, having noticed that it had not been posted on the website along with all the others.

When I inquired about the return of these reports I was informed that they had been removed as part of a major website upgrade. While I couldn’t quite understand the logic of the argument (no other changes have been made to the site) I nevertheless accepted it and repeated my request for a copy of the latest Annual Report. Despite numerous subsequent requests I still have not received one.

Continue reading “UPDATE: A tale of two smart cities – life in the NFP sector”

It’s time we all called for #BetterBroadband

By LAURIE PATTON | 10 May 2019

Australians are great adopters of technology. We love anything electronic, especially if it entertains us or makes life easier.

When the Internet arrived we were very quick to start emailing each other and when social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter turned up we were “in like Flynn“!

We are among the top consumers of video content, be it at home on a big screen or out and about with our smartphones and tablets.

Continue reading “It’s time we all called for #BetterBroadband”

How World Movies changed the face of Australian cinema

By LAURIE PATTON | 6 May 2019

SBS has announced that it will make World Movies part of its free-to-air offering. This comes nearly 25 years after its creation as a niche Pay-TV channel.

World Movies premiered the night of the Foxtel launch in 1995. It was immediately one of the platform’s most successful channels. For several years World Movies was only available as a stand-alone channel for an additional fee, which made its incredible take-up even more exciting. Eventually it was placed in the movie tier.

Continue reading “How World Movies changed the face of Australian cinema”