I'm no tech head: Albanese

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.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

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.

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