Although the federal election campaign officially kicked off on Saturday, the Coalition is still weeks away from making policy announcements on ICT issues, according to the office of Tony Smith, shadow minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.
When Prime Minister Julia Gillard called the federal election on Saturday, she set the terms for a shorter campaign with just five weeks until polling day on 21 August, which leaves the Coalition with much less time to establish its policy alternatives prior to the election.
While issues such as the mandatory internet filter, the future of the National Broadband Network and data retention are at the forefront of ICT concerns, Smith's media spokesperson Andrew Cox told ZDNet Australia that the Coalition's official policy on these issues was not available yet. He said, however, that "something substantial" would be made public a couple of weeks out from the election.
In March, Smith referred to the Labor Government's proposed mandatory internet filter as "unworkable" but refused to reveal the Coalition's policy on the matter. A recent press release (PDF) from Smith's office highlighted the Howard Government's NetAlert program that allowed parents to install web filters on their family computer.
Liberal Leader Tony Abbott has previously promised to scrap the National Broadband Network and has said that the Labor Government's $466.7 million investment in e-health outlined in this year's budget was a waste of money.