Election summary: non-broadband policies

With just one more sleep until election day, it's clear that it has been dominated by talk of which of the two major parties has the best broadband policy.

With just one more sleep until election day, it's clear that it has been dominated by talk of which of the two major parties has the best broadband policy.

The Labor Party has even tied in much of its e-health agenda in with the National Broadband Network (NBN). All this talk about whether the NBN is a white elephant, or whether the filter is truly dead has meant some other important ICT-related issues have fallen by the wayside.

In the run up to the election, the Australian Computer Society, the Australian Information Industry Association and the Internet Industry Association (PDF) all released manifestos for ICT issues in this election.

Here's where each of the main parties stand on the non-broadband issues mentioned in those manifestos.

Policy
ICT Portfolio The Coalition has not indicated whether Tony Smith's portfolio would be re-evaluated after the election. Senator Stephen Conroy has previously indicated he would support a re-evaluation of his portfolio. Senator Scott Ludlam remains the communications spokesperson for the Greens.
Skills shortage Liberal has promised to limit immigration. Labor has reformed skilled migration to include more telecommunication engineering places. Greens has a population policy directed towards ecological sustainability in the context of global social justice.
Government 2.0 No clear policy on Government 2.0 Labor began implementing Government 2.0 including putting up blogs and releasing documents online. ACT Senator Kate Lundy has led the charge in this area. Support more open government and advocate the use of open source software and publishing government documents online.
e-health The Coalition has said that there will be funding for e-health to 2012, but had previously put the $466.7 million Labor wanted to spend on e-health over the next two years on its list of savings. The Coalition may seek to bring in a national identifier card. Labor made a $466.7 million commitment to e-health in the budget, e-health records and teleconferencing doctors will be available by 2012. The Greens supports the introduction of an electronic health record system, but has raised concerns about maintaining patient privacy.
Data retention Smith told Commsday that it was a matter for the Attorney-General, but said that the Coalition supported the Senate inquiry into the matter. The Department of Attorney-General has been investigating the notion of implementing such a policy in Australia. The party opposes data retention and will seek to table all documents relating to the investigation at a Senate inquiry.
Research and
development
The Coalition would retain the current R&D tax concession system until June 2011. Legislation for a proposed new tax credit scheme by Labor had been entered before parliament but has not passed as yet. The party proposes extra funding for Australian universities for research and also additional funding for the Australian research council.
Green policies The Coalition would resurrect the Howard-era Greenhouse Friendly program with $10 million in funding. The program allows Australian businesses to receive tax offsets for providing carbon neutral products and services to the market. Conroy has said that increased use of telecommuting through the NBN would lead to a 320,000-tonne reduction in carbon emissions per year. The Greens supports a carbon tax and specify that the government must prevent adverse environmental and social impacts of emerging technologies.

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