I'm no tech head: Albanese

I'm no tech head: Albanese

Summary: Australia's new Communications Minister Anthony Albanese has invoked a widely mocked phrase from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in defending his new assistant minister Kate Lundy.


Just under three years since Opposition Leader Tony Abbott uttered the immortal line that he was "no Bill Gates" and not a "tech head", Communications Minister Anthony Albanese has told Triple J that he, too, is no tech head.

Albanese was appointed as communications minister on Monday as part of a reshuffle of the federal Cabinet as a result of Kevin Rudd replacing former Prime Minister Julia Gillard as the leader of the Labor party last week.

While former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy had the entire portfolio to himself, Albanese has three ministers underneath to assist him. Sharon Bird has been picked as regional communications minister, Ed Husic was picked as parliamentary secretary for broadband, and Kate Lundy was chosen as the minister assisting for the digital economy.

Lundy, who had an extensive background in the IT industry prior to entering parliament in 1996, has been a strong advocate for government 2.0, and has been viewed as a potential communications minister in her own right. After publicly backing Gillard prior to the caucus ballot last week, Lundy lost the sport portfolio but picked up the digital economy portfolio instead.

In a lengthy interview on youth radio station Triple J yesterday, the new communications minister defended Rudd's decision to move Lundy from sport to the digital economy, stating that Kate was chosen because she has technology knowledge that Albanese does not.

"Kate's a bit of a tech head; I'm not. And Kate will be responsible for that portfolio," he said.

Albanese's ability in the portfolio will likely be more focused on the government's ability to sell the National Broadband Network (NBN) at the upcoming election. Albanese is already across much of the portfolio, having to answer questions on Conroy's behalf in the House of Representatives prior to taking the ministry.

Yesterday, Albanese also said that there isn't enough information about what the NBN actually offers, and said that after meeting with NBN chair Siobhan McKenna, he was confident that the AU$37.4 billion fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) project is on track and on budget.

Albanese said that NBN Co will announce on Thursday whether the company has met its rollout targets for the end of June.

Last week, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott joked that the man he refers to as "Mr Broadband", Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, "virtually invented the internet" in Australia.

Topics: NBN, Government, Government AU


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Apparently...

    ...the Australian Parliament needs more techies.
    John L. Ries
    • not sure about that

      probably less people pretending they know about technology.
      Knowledge Expert
  • Oh dear, bit of a worry when politicians use this line. Although those under him sound competent enough perhaps Albanese can educate himself just as Conroy did... I know, it really wont be a fair fight when the other side has nothing and obsolete copper to fall back on;-)
    Hubert Cumberdale
    • Don't know about Australia, but...

      ...here in the USA, we have a long tradition of anti-intellectualism disguised as populism that prompts all manner of like stupidity.

      Seriously, how long do you think a Finance Minister who professed to know little or nothing about monetary policy would last? Or the PM who advised his appointment?
      John L. Ries
      • "...here in the USA"

        Here in Australia most of us comprehend what other people say.
        Hubert Cumberdale
        • not everyone in Australia is so inward looking

          that they do not accept an outsiders perspective. Speak for yourself please!
          Knowledge Expert
          • "Speak for yourself please!"

            Clearly I did. You are an exception to the rule. Thanks for demonstrating my point.
            Hubert Cumberdale
      • John Howard did

        When I was receiving my Economics degree, John Howard , the newly appointed federal treasurer said that he was a lawyer and knew only a little about economics.

        Admitting you know nothing about your portfolio has never been seen to be a hindrance to a political career in Australia
      • Anti-intellectulaism

        Yes, only a bunch of Homer Simpsons could have elected George Dubya and then let him waste the nation's entire wealth on war.

        Unfortunately, we have plenty of Homer Simpsons in Australia too. Quite a few of them are members of parliament.
    • "obsolete copper"

      As a remote internet user who currently enjoys fairly reliable if only 7Mbit ADSL I do not look forward to the NBN as others do. I have my Vast television service that goes off the air when it rains and costs $250 per room to buy the box for. Next NBN Co will deliver defective wireless internet at a phenomenally slow speed that I get to share with everyone else in town.
      • "Next NBN Co will deliver defective wireless internet at a phenomenally slow speed that I get to share with everyone else in town."

        Perhaps you should research this before you embarrass yourself again. The NBN wireless service does not work like this. Funny that you should whine about it though. You are happy with your "fairly reliable" "7Mbit ADSL" and enjoying it right? Then continue using it while everyone else laughs at you for using obsolete copper when you have better options available...
        Hubert Cumberdale
        • You should do some research before YOU embarrass yourself further

          A research project by UTas found a lot of (small) businesses in small towns in Tasmania, as well as some in South Australia and Victoria left the fixed wireless NBN because it was too unreliable. Those businesses reverted to ADSL.
          • "A research project by UTas found a lot of (small) businesses in small towns in Tasmania"

            Does "a lot" mean the majority? Does "a lot" have a number or percentage? More information and/or link please;-)

            "left the fixed wireless NBN because it was too unreliable."

            OK, well thanks for confirming why we still need fixed line and especially NBN fibre. Seems wireless is not the future as some have claimed;-)
            Hubert Cumberdale
          • A "lot" was over half

            You could actually do some research yourself, and properly inform yourself about issues, but, hey, why would you want an informed opinion when you can continue to spout you usual ill-informed dross.
      • Do some research


        Fixed Wireless NBN delivery has now been revised from the original proposed 12 to 25Mbps now to match the fibre service & at similar pricing to ADSL
        Seems you're confusing it with the expensive, erratic mobile version we're stuck with here at present due to lack of ports.
  • There's no way it is on track

    Missed the targets of corp plans I & II, best hope it to meet the Dec revision of under 15% of the premises passed of the original.

    Why is this spin, easily disproved, not challenged?
    Richard Flude
    • the spin is not challenged

      for the same reason Mr Albanese will not be mocked over his "not a tech head" statement.
      Knowledge Expert
      • True, lets look at the new members

        Anthony Albanese a lifelong union hack, named in evidence given to the ICAC enquiry into Eddie Orbeid (relating to his support of Ian McDonald; also under investigation). Member of NSW Labor; the most revolting state political party in living memory (and I grew up under the disgraceful Nevil Wran).

        Sharin Bird a high school and TAFE teacher; two of the most disfunctional depts in NSW. Former Shellharbour Council Councillor (91-95), a council dismissed in 2008 by the state govt.

        Ed Husic a lifelong party and union hack.

        Kate Lundy lifelong union hack.

        What could possibly go wrong?;-)
        Richard Flude
        • As if on cue

          "KEVIN Rudd is ordering an intervention into Labor's NSW branch to stamp out corruption and further limit the influence of wealthy property developers on the party."

          All but one (she's from the public service protected ACT) from NSW. The comedy continues...
          Richard Flude
          • ever...

            researched the Lib right wing in NSW, scarier than the Labor guys, at least they don't believe they are on a mission from the big dude in the sky...