Come September a group of industry leaders, politicians, academics and consultants will gather in Canberra to grapple with some of the most challenging social, economic and political issues facing Australia. Provocatively titled “Regionalisation – Rebalancing the nation” the event will present an opportunity to consider where Australia should head, and where we should all live, as we emerge from an all-consuming pandemic.
Novak Djokovic may have thought he’d beaten the system when he entered Australia. Instead he shone a light on our government’s lack of accountability.
The Djokovic visa saga was a stuff-up from end to end. One that has shone a light on the centre court of government in this country. And in the process further exposed a glaring lack of accountability in the public sector.
We must ensure that private companies placing objects in space don’t create another environmental disaster like the plastic pollution in our oceans.
Sixty years ago the Antarctic Treaty was created to reduce the risk of environmental damage and to establish a multinational governance regime. It looks like a similar arrangement is long overdue when it comes to the increasing exploitation of space.
In years to come Malcolm Turnbull will be remembered as the communications minister who, under an instruction from then prime minister Tony Abbott, ‘demolished’ Labor’s 21st Century National Broadband Network. But another prominent politician had earlier inflicted enduring damage to any nascent aim of becoming an innovation nation and set us back in an emerging digitally enabled world. Are we heading towards a repeat of this mistake in telecommunications policy?
Australia invented the technology underpinning Wi-Fi, along with the ‘black box’ flight recorder, ultrasound scanners and the heart pacemaker – just to mention some of our globally recognised innovations. We have an enviable track record when it comes to technology.
And yet, apparently Prime Minister Scott Morrison just wants us to adopt other country’s technologies these days. This week he told us, “we’re not trying to create the next Silicon Valley here in Australia. That’s not it. We’ve just got to be the best at adopting (other country’s technology)”.
This week’s capitulation – that’s what it is – by communications minister Paul Fletcher sets us on a course that hopefully will see Australia start moving in the right direction again as we head further into a digitally-enabled future. It’s a welcomed move, but we’d be wise to take a close look at the detail in his National Press Club address before getting too excited.
Today we have finally reached the much-vaunted date on which the Government said it would have completed the rollout of the trouble-plagued National Broadband Network. Despite widespread industry expectations a media blitz by communications minister Paul Fletcher has so far not materialised. No ribbon cuttings and no skywriter plane spelling out “Mission Accomplished” as some jokingly predicted (see postscript).