Industry group wants IT in a Labor cabinet

A leading IT industry group plans to write to Labor leader, Mark Latham, seeking assurances that a Latham Labor government would include an IT Minister and that Minister would have a Cabinet post.

A leading IT industry group plans to write to Labor leader, Mark Latham, seeking assurances that a Latham Labor government would include an IT Minister and that Minister would have a Cabinet post.

Edward Mandla, Australian Computer Society president, told ZDNet Australia   he planned to send a letter tomorrow to Latham seeking the assurance, saying to date there had been no guarantees from the Australian Labor Party that IT would be accorded the profile and impact within government that firstly Ministerial and secondly Cabinet status would confer.

Mandla backed the incumbent Shadow Minister for IT, Kate Lundy, to take on such a role should the ALP win power, saying her unbroken incumbency during a period during which three coalition members of parliament -- Richard Alston, Daryl Williams and now Helen Coonan -- had managed the IT portfolio gave her an edge in experience over other candidates.

He also lauded Lundy's hard work, saying she "had done a good job of being at every industry event, whether invited or not," and had made an effort to understand the players and a lot of the issues.

The ACS is also concerned that should the current arrangements within the ALP -- which see Lundy with IT, Lindsay Tanner with communications and Kim Carr with industry -- be replicated in government, it and other lobby groups would be forced to deal with three Ministers in their efforts to secure positive results for the sector.

However, Mandla said Lundy had assured him in several telephone conversations last week that should such a situation come to pass, she would nevertheless act as the prime point of contact within government for the IT lobbying community.

Mandla also lauded Coonan, saying she had told him in a meeting a couple of weeks ago she had wanted the IT portfolio, fought for it and regarded it as very important.

Mandla said the ACS had been successful in raising its profile as evidenced by the number of times the organisation was referenced in policy speeches given by Coonan and Lundy in recent days.

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