Conroy says he's not the IT minister

Conroy says he's not the IT minister

Summary: Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today told press at the launch of a new Macquarie Telecom call centre that he didn't consider information technology to be part of his portfolio — claiming that role belonged to Industry Minister Kim Carr.

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Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today told press at the launch of a new Macquarie Telecom call centre that he didn't consider information technology to be part of his portfolio — claiming that role belonged to Industry Minister Kim Carr.

Various sections of Australia's technology sector have speculated over the past few weeks that new Prime Minister Julia Gillard could split Conroy's portfolio up — giving the IT part to Labor Senator Kate Lundy, who has demonstrated an enduring interest in the sector, and leaving Conroy with the National Broadband Network and oversight of the regulation of the telco sector.

"Well, IT is not formally part of my portfolio — I'm broadband communications and the digital economy and Kim Carr looks after IT, so it is actually already split," Conroy said, referring to the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Kim Carr.

There have been situations where this arrangement has created havoc. Directly after the 2007 Federal Election it was unclear whether Australia's peak IT research group, National ICT Australia, was the responsibility of Carr or Conroy. At the time, Opposition Senator Eric Abetz said the government was "in a bit of a muddle" with the group — leaving NICTA hanging somewhere between the two ministers.

When a journalist asked Conroy if the move by Defence Minister John Faulkner to the backbench would open opportunities for Conroy, he said that he would prefer to stay on in his current role as Minister for Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy.

"The Prime Minister, obviously, of the day decides portfolio allocations," said Conroy. "If she was to ask me my opinion I would say I would like to stay on this portfolio to finish the work on the National Broadband Network. I've worked on it since we've first created the policy on 2005 and I would like to work my way through."

"Ultimately I would take any offer that the Prime Minister makes after the election, but but I'm very comfortable in this portfolio and there is a lot of work still to be done."

Topics: Broadband, Emerging Tech, Government AU, NBN

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3 comments
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  • So is the Internet based on "Information Technology" or "Communications Technology"?

    Is Telstra's, Optus' and all the other "phone companies" networks, which are mostly IP based now, "Communications Networks" or "Internet (IP) based networks"?

    Basically, where do you draw the line? Who decides what bit of infrastructure is "communications" or "IT"?
    hamrag.yattletrot
  • Stephen Conroy shouldn't be 'apart' of any Information Technology or Communications. One day 'we' hope the Government will be empowered by people that know what they are doing.

    Australia will head in directions of censorship no matter what government is involved, the internet censorshop sager has been going on for a number of years now.

    It's one further step where Australian citizens are loosing there Freedom.

    However there is always opportunity to take your own action and use VPN services like vpnsecure.me it encrypts your internet connection so governments and ISP's cannot see any internet traffic from your computer. Therefore, instant circumvention.

    I am sure many Australians will be looking for a solutions to beat this policy from Stephen Conroy.
    LukeL
  • IT is a systems segment, internet is a communications segment.

    We must get used to the fact that the internet sits firmly in communications and will become increasingly integrated in this domain of responsibility.

    The internet remains a DBCDE portfolio responsibility, as will internet regulation.

    I am certain that the vast majority of Australians will neither care nor notice when an RC URL filter is running... Good luck to those who wish to pay extra $$ and slow down their connections by using VPN services, that should be fun.

    Well at least you will get around the censorship that many overseas sites implement when we try and download our fav TV shows, like NCIS from nbc.com... >;))
    Ocker-da8d6