Federal Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull cancelled his planned keynote speech at the Internet Industry Association's Sydney gala last night after being called away for other duties in Canberra.
Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull (Credit: IIA)
Turnbull, who has a long relationship with the internet industry going back to his role as co-founder and former chairman of OzEmail, which he sold for $57 million to WorldCom in 1999, was in Canberra last night witnessing the Senate reject Kevin Rudd's $42 billion fiscal stimulus proposal.
It was a last minute decision, according to IIA CEP Peter Coroneos, who last night reminded attendees in his opening remarks that Turnbull's attention was focused on what was to be the largest appropriation of non-budget expenditure in the country's history. The opposition leader pulled the plug on the event yesterday morning, leaving the IIA without time to find a replacement. He was extremely disappointed, said Coroneos.
Coroneus emphasised that Turnbull's no-show did not mean any loss of faith. He said Turnbull was an "ardent advocate" of Australia's Internet industry and, through his involvement with OzEmail and web hosting outfit WebCentral Group, remained "an icon" in the internet world, beyond his status in politics.
Also notably missing from the IIA gala night was Minister for Communications Broadband and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy, who had made his debut appearance at the event last year.
The IIA is one of Australia's peak technology bodies, with a broad membership across a number of sectors interested in promoting laws and initiatives which boost the internet as a medium in Australia.