Following the road pioneered by Fake Steve Jobs,
Conroy's alter ego has used satire to skewer his real-life
namesake at every opportunity, not to mention the
opposition. With this in mind, ZDNet.com.au interviewed Fake
Stephen Conroy in depth to find out more about the man behind the
What do you enjoy most about being the Minister for Broadband,
Communications, and the Digital Economy?
I love speeches. I didn't used to, though. I'm not some
fancy-talking guy with a Diploma in Fruitiness. But now I just love
Paula and I were at dinner with the Fielding's one night and
Steve suggests we play a game. I'm no prude, so when he leaves the
room, I start unbuttoning my shirt and giving Susan my best "hey,
baby" eyebrow-wiggle. Long story short, Steve comes back with some
pencils and paper and we play "Madlibs".
So in the middle of all the verbing and nouning it dawns on me;
I could Madlib my speeches! Now I just throw a few "hackers" and
"helpless children" and "rapists" into a Word template and I'm
done. No muss, no fuss, and it's a lot of fun.
What do you enjoy the least?
I'm not a fan of all the briefings and meetings and
strategerising. I'm a hands-on guy, I'm a decision-maker; I have
better things to do than listen to my staff go on and on and on
about a pending total economic meltdown stemming from the
catastrophic failure of IT infrastructure. My time is better spent
patrolling the internets, looking for deviants to punish.
Sure, I could delegate the e-police work to an intern, or
outsource it to India, but my standards are high, and only I have
the intelligence and wisdom to discern the graphic from the
Also, Indian people are freaks. Have you seen the Kama Sutra?
What activities/hobbies do you pursue outside of hours?
I used to be an avid kitten fisherman (purely recreational;
catch-and-release), but there just aren't enough hours in the day
anymore to find kittens, let alone stuff them into a sack and toss
them into a river.
What politician or other social leader do you use as an
Uncle Ben Parker, Tony Stark and Jesus. Uncle Ben once said,
"with great power comes great responsibility". Tony Stark and Jesus
took that advice to heart, and now we live in a perfect world that
is free from hatred, crime and shape-shifting Skrull invaders.
Can you talk a bit about the progress of the National
Broadband Network request for tender process — what's going on,
and what's next?
No. The tendering process mandates that discussion, analysis
and criticism of said process is punishable by up to 15 years in
What is your opinion of the Federal Government's relationship
with Telstra? Is it good, or if not, what could be done to improve
Look, I don't want to talk about our relationship, but I will
say that it takes work on both sides to keep a relationship
working. I know Sol is busy, but it'd be nice if he'd return my
calls once in a while. Sometimes ... sometimes it feels like he just
How would you respond to criticism that the internet
filtering scheme currently being trialled has the potential to
impose censorship restrictions on free speech in Australia?
Let me answer your question with a question; do you love
children? Did you know that children love delicious candy? We
regulate the delicious foods industry to protect the children you
so love, so why should the internet be any different?
Unregulated, our nation's grocery store shelves would be full of
chocolate-covered razor blades. That's what the internet is like
today, and every time a child visits a web page, they're consuming
Filtering is a public safety issue, not a free speech one.
What is your opinion on the performance of your Shadow
Minister, Lindsay Tanner?
Last time I checked, The Tannernator was on our side. Did you
mean Nick Minchin? It's exactly this kind of journalistic deception
that necessitates and vindicates the National Filter Network.
With regards to Nick Minchin, to be honest, I don't care for the
man. He is constantly undermining my policies and taking my milk
from the parliamentary refrigerator. We may disagree on politics,
but we should be able to be civil to each other. Minchin's
predecessor, Helen Coonan, was a delightful woman. She'd always
find time to talk to me, complimenting my tie, for example, and
telling me that I smelled nice.
Can you comment on what sort of telecommunications and IT
policies the Rudd government will take to the next election?
What makes you think there'll be a "next election"?