Unpopulate or perish – revisiting the Whitlam decentralisation vision in a digital age

By LAURIE PATTON | 5 December 2017

On the 45th anniversary of the election of the Whitlam Government let’s reflect on a forward-thinking policy that deserves revisiting for a digitally-enabled world – decentralisation.

It’s predicted that pretty soon 90 percent of all Australians will live in our capital cities. But does it makes sense for most of us to be jammed into a handful of increasingly overcrowded population centres? Continue reading “Unpopulate or perish – revisiting the Whitlam decentralisation vision in a digital age”

Taking Smart City agenda to the regions could help Australia’s straining cities

By LAURIE PATTON | 9 November 2017

Among the issues considered at a recent Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat conference was how to deal with increasing urban density without destroying communities’ liveability, and how to increase people’s accessibility to their workplaces.

In The Fifth Estate’s report on the conference, it said: “By 2053, about 89 per cent of all Australians are expected to live in capital cities. As more and more people enter these cities, residents are becoming increasingly concerned with impacts on liveability”.

One of the solutions proposed was to build more public transport systems within cities, and specifically in the case of Sydney to continue the current trend for building new metros.

But does it makes sense for most of us to be jammed into a handful of overcrowded cities?
Continue reading “Taking Smart City agenda to the regions could help Australia’s straining cities”

Internet Australia continues to call out #NBNFail amid media attacks

By LAURIE PATTON | 9 August 2017

The years ago, Internet Australia, the NFP peak body representing internet users, embarked on a mission to foster more informed debate about the National Broadband Network and its importance to Australia’s future. It was – and is – the view of the board and members that we need something better than a network deploying ageing copper wires. Most technology journalists already agreed with that proposition.

However, some in the mainstream media took much longer to get the message. As one of my former colleagues from Channel Seven put it, the subject amounted to a lot of “white noise“.  Continue reading “Internet Australia continues to call out #NBNFail amid media attacks”

The broadband debacle: NBN Co needs to eat its own dog food

By LAURIE PATTON | 9 August 2017

According to the Australian Financial Review, the company building the National Broadband Network is about to lease two extremely expensive offices — one in Melbourne and one in Sydney.

That’s rather old school thinking. NBN Co should be leading by example. One of the benefits of a digitally-enabled world is the ability to work remotely or to decentralise. Continue reading “The broadband debacle: NBN Co needs to eat its own dog food”

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.

Continue reading “NBN boss attacks Internet Australia under Parliamentary privilege”

What ABC’s 7.30 got wrong (and refused to correct) about ‘that’​ Kennett story!

By LAURIE PATTON | 20 February 2017

Faced with an important editorial decision, the ABC‘s managing director Michelle Guthrie went to dinner instead – thus proving, in my opinion, her unsuitability for such an important role.

The incident highlighted a lack of understanding of her responsibilities as editor-in-chief, not to mention those of the organisation’s most senior executive.

Continue reading “What ABC’s 7.30 got wrong (and refused to correct) about ‘that’​ Kennett story!”

The Internet of Opportunity

By LAURIE PATTON | 4 August 2016

The biggest threat to our success as an Internet of Things (IoT) nation is a loss of trust by people at large. We need effective collaboration between government, industry and civil society to ensure we foster innovation in a manner that creates and ensures security and confidence.

As we consider our IoT future, technology is only part of the equation. Making sure that there is market for newfangled technology and technology based services was a key element that led to the DotCom boom / bust. Too many clever ideas with no serious, or only limited, market interest cruelled many a startup back then.

Continue reading “The Internet of Opportunity”

Generalists and specialists in the Australian public service: Why the ‘theory of empty spaces’ hurts public sector performance

By LAURIE PATTON | 19 April 2016

The other day I was talking to a friend who recently retired from the public service. After a career lifetime of studied discretion he now wears as a badge of honour his entitlement to express independent views. Many of these are critical of the processes that played a pivotal part in his rise to a very senior posting.

I have a number of colleagues who are now ex-public servants, having held extremely high level executive roles. I enjoy hearing about their work experiences more now that they are unencumbered by ambition. Continue reading “Generalists and specialists in the Australian public service: Why the ‘theory of empty spaces’ hurts public sector performance”

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”