Losing the filter without losing face

This week the Australian Labor Party installed Julia Gillard as its new leader, making her the first female Prime Minister of Australia.  This change in leadership provides the government with an opportunity to change its approach to certain policy issues without losing (quite so much) face. The new PM has wasted no time in seizing the opportunity to  change the governments  approach to negotiating with the mining industry over the resource super profit tax (RSPT). The question now is – what other policy areas could benefit from an opportune change of tack? Within the telecoms and technology arena, there have been two hot topics for the  ALP led government since it came to power – the National Broadband Network (NBN) and internet censorship. This week, […]

NBN not mandatory for ‘smart grids’

One of the claimed  benefits of the national broadband network (NBN) is that it will act as an enabler for ‘smart grids’.  ‘Smart grids’  have been described as electricity distribution networks that: “use sensors, meters, digital controls and analytic tools to automate, monitor and control the two-way flow of energy across operations—from power plant to plug. A power company can optimize grid performance, prevent outages, restore outages faster and allow consumers to manage energy usage right down to the individual networked appliance. Smart grids can also incorporate new sustainable energies such as wind and solar generation, and interact locally with distributed power sources, or plug-in electric vehicles.” (IBM 30/11/2009) In his NBN advocacy,  Senator Conroy has claimed smart grids can make a significant contribution to helping […]

NBN Study: Were the right questions asked?

Earlier this month, the Australian government released the implementation study for the National Broadband Network.  The scope of the study was to: “advise Government on how best to implement its stated policy objectives, not to evaluate those objectives, given that the policies have already been agreed by Government. This report therefore focuses on translating high-level policy objectives into tangible actions for both Government and NBN Co to implement. Explicitly, it does not: Evaluate Government’s policy objectives; Evaluate the decision to implement the NBN via the establishment of NBN Co; Undertake a cost-benefit analysis of the macro-economic and social benefits that would result from the implementation of a superfast broadband network.” (NBN Implementation Study, 06/05/2010) The report is clearly directed at answering the question of how to […]

Internet censorship: not dead, just sleeping

With the Australian government delaying  introduction of its internet censorship legislation, there’s been some speculation that the policy may be dead. The more likely scenario however is that the policy has simply  gone in to hibernation until after the Federal election. Despite the media and blogosphere cries of “backflip”, this is a smart tactical move. Tactically, delaying the legislation makes sense. Pushing it through before the election risks continuing the distracting public feud with the government’s critics. Delaying until after the election gives the ALP a range of options. Should the ALP  fail to hold a majority in the Senate following the next election, ‘net censorship may once again become a political bargaining chip.  Family First are strong supporters of mandatory ISP filtering, and have previously called for the […]