The case for mandating governance training for NFP boards

By LAURIE PATTON | 18 July 2017

It’s time for not-for-profits – their directors and their senior executives – to have a good look in the governance mirror. And it would be a good idea for the members of NFP’s to critically assess the governance practices of their boards. Perhaps we even need to look at changing the relevant laws to ensure better governance of the sector?

Too many NFP boards are dominated by people who have hung on limpet-like for too long – precluding others from contributing and defending past policies and practices long deserving review. Too few actually understand modern governance principles.

Continue reading “The case for mandating governance training for NFP boards”

NBN boss attacks Internet Australia under Parliamentary privilege

By LAURIE PATTON | 21 June 2017

Earlier in the year the head of the NBN Co, Bill Morrow, was appearing before a Senate Estimates hearing. Asked by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam about his organisation’s habit of blocking people who make unkind comments about his inferior broadband network on social media, Mr Morrow had the first of two ‘brain farts’ in which he gratuitously attacked Internet Australia.

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The NBN is already out of date, but it’s not too late to change course

By LAURIE PATTON | 29 March 2016

Australia has fallen to 60th in global internet speed rankings. If we fell to 60th in the Olympics medal tally there’d be a national outcry. Just a few years ago we were 30th in terms of average peak internet speed, which is a key measurement of broadband performance.

Within our region we came eighth (even New Zealand is two places ahead of us). Singapore, with whom we are destined to be in serious competition as an Asia-Pacific innovation hub, already has internet speeds 100 times faster than ours.

Continue reading “The NBN is already out of date, but it’s not too late to change course”

NBN stars collide – waiting for the Big Bang

By LAURIE PATTON | 10 March 2016 

Two stars collided in Canberra last week, but the big bang is yet to be heard.

On Thursday, a leak from somewhere inside NBN revealed that our nation building broadband company has been secretly trialling new, thinner, cabling that will significantly reduce installation costs for the entire fibre-optic backbone, including the technically superior fibre to the premises (FTTP) solution.

On Friday, the Senate Select Committee on the NBN held a one day hearing. Continue reading “NBN stars collide – waiting for the Big Bang”

Utopia: the professor, the public service, and the need for change

By LAURIE PATTON | 16 February 2016

In an article in The Mandarin former Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Department, Professor Peter Shergold, is quoted urging public servants to adapt and to show courage.

Shergold is spot on. But before things can change we need to be willing to accept that mistakes are made, even by the best of people. Continue reading “Utopia: the professor, the public service, and the need for change”

Malcolm Turnbull: NBN killer or saviour?

By LAURIE PATTON | 28 December 2015

The ABC Online News headline was pretty blunt: “Abbott orders Turnbull to demolish NBN”. In the article itself then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is quoted as saying: “The Government is going to invest $43 billion worth of hard-earned money in what I believe is going to turn out to be a white elephant on a massive scale”.

Fast forward five years and the cost of the Coalition’s NBN is now put at $46-56 billion, with many experts maintaining that this significantly understates the likely real cost. Confusion and disagreement reign as to how long it will take to complete our much needed broadband rollout. Continue reading “Malcolm Turnbull: NBN killer or saviour?”

Data Retention: How not to introduce complex legislation

By LAURIE PATTON | 21 December 2015

One of my first tasks shortly after joining Internet Australia was to front the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS). Our appearance at the hearing into the (Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015) came at the end of a long day of mostly opposing submissions.

With our president and the head of our policy committee sitting beside me I boldly told the committee that the Data Retention Bill was “fundamentally flawed” and had clearly been drafted by lawyers who didn’t understand how the Internet actually works. How prescient those comments have proven to have been.

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An innovation nation – the race to the top

By LAURIE PATTON | 25 November 2015

There’s no reason why Australia cannot be a leader in the Internet-driven, industrial era.

It is unusual for our two major political parties to find themselves joined at the hip on an issue of progressive national policy. But in the case of innovation, that’s just what’s happened. For a time, Labor had this one all to itself. Then, all of a sudden, a new prime minister made innovation a personal crusade. Both sides are now fighting to show who has the best innovation policy.

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