NBN update. Let’s not compound a history of poor policy making

One day a rooster, the next day a feather duster!

By LAURIE PATTON | 18 November 2020

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?

Continue reading “NBN update. Let’s not compound a history of poor policy making”

Data Retention – An Act of blindness

One day a rooster, the next day a feather duster!

By LAURIE PATTON | 30 October 2020

Shortly after joining Internet Australia as CEO in 2014 I fronted the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Security and Intelligence (PJCIS) to make a submission on the subsequently enacted Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015. I boldly told the committee that the draft Bill before the Parliament was “fundamentally flawed” and had clearly been written by lawyers who didn’t understand how the Internet actually works.

One of the then committee members, Philip Ruddock, challenged me to provide evidence, which was subsequently delivered in a confidential supplementary submission. As a result the committee made 29 recommendations for amendments to the Bill. The most important of these was a proposal for the PJCIS to undertake a review of the scheme after three years.

This week the PJCIS released its report on that review – making 22 recommendations that, if accepted, would lead to increased transparency, raise the threshold for when data can be accessed, and reduce overall access to our private data.

Continue reading “Data Retention – An Act of blindness”

A Lucky Country, or the land of the Luddites?

One day a rooster, the next day a feather duster!

By LAURIE PATTON | 27 October 2020

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)”.

Continue reading “A Lucky Country, or the land of the Luddites?”

NBN glass still only half full

One day a rooster, the next day a feather duster!

By LAURIE PATTON | 23 September 2020

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.

Continue reading “NBN glass still only half full”

It’s time for a virtual parliament

One day a rooster, the next day a feather duster!

By LAURIE PATTON | 18 July 2020

With an increasing number of COVID-19 cases being reported across the country, especially in Melbourne and Sydney, regular scheduled meetings of the federal parliament have been cancelled.

This means the country will be run by a government that cannot be held accountable by the opposition and other non-government MP’s.

Perhaps it’s time for a virtual parliament? This is, after all, the 21st Century. We have the technology. Why not use it?

Continue reading “It’s time for a virtual parliament”

NBN Debacle. Wherefore art thou, minister?

By LAURIE PATTON | 30 June 2020

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).

Continue reading “NBN Debacle. Wherefore art thou, minister?”

COVIDFail. The IT debacle that could cost lives. UPDATED

The Mandarin

By LAURIE PATTON | 14 July 2020

A rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases being reported in Victoria and New South Wales. China re-instating restrictions as it sees infections return. Our chief medical officer says his greatest fear is a second wave, and there’s the likelihood the coronavirus will linger around forever like the flu.

Yet another IT debacle from the federal government. But this one is different. In this case we could see people die.

The blunt reality is the COVIDSafe app is a dud. Poorly designed and incapabale of doing what it is intended to do. We need a contact tracing app that actually works.

Continue reading “COVIDFail. The IT debacle that could cost lives. UPDATED”

The Opposition Leader is correct. We need a decentralisation plan

One day a rooster, the next day a feather duster!

By LAURIE PATTON | 11 May 2020

Australia’s Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese is right. In his latest vision speech he pointed to the benefits of decentralisation. It’s time we stopped cramming more and more people into already overcrowded cities. It’s predicted that pretty soon 90 percent of all Australians will live in our sprawling capitals. But does that really make sense?

The current health crisis has seen people forced to work from home. We’ve discovered that with modern technology we don’t all need to gather in CBD offices. It’s likely home working will continue when we emerge from the threat of the coronavirus.

Continue reading “The Opposition Leader is correct. We need a decentralisation plan”

Passing the buck. Why is there no accountability in public administration these days?

One day a rooster, the next day a feather duster

By LAURIE PATTON | 10 April 2020

PREFACE. 

Since publication, an inquiry into the the Victorian Government’s handling of its COVID-19 hotel quarantine program has heard that nobody could say where a decision to hire private security guards originated. In a rare move the responsible minister, Jenny Mikakos, actually resigned.

Earlier in the year federal Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy took ‘full responsibility‘ for a $60 billion over-estimation of the JobKeeper wage subsidy program. Yet he did not resign. Nor did anyone else.

Where does the buck stop these days? What should taking responsibility actually mean?

Continue reading “Passing the buck. Why is there no accountability in public administration these days?”

Telstra bells the broadband cat and spays NBN Co

By LAURIE PATTON | 27 February 2020

Telstra’s decision to only offer a maximum 50Mbps plan to more than half its NBN customers is another setback in the quest for #BetterBroadband and further vindication of Labor’s plan to make Australia what Malcolm Turnbull subsequently dubbed an “innovation nation”. It’s the latest fulfilment of a highly political decision by Tony Abbott to instruct Turnbull to demolish NBN Co.

If anyone knows about good and bad broadband it’s Telstra. And they know that anything other than fibre is second best.

Continue reading “Telstra bells the broadband cat and spays NBN Co”