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  • News - Written by on Thursday, June 24, 2010 1:47 - 32 Comments

    Should Gillard replace Conroy with Lundy?

    Several of Stephen Conroy’s harshest critics have backed the idea that Julia Gillard should hand his Communications portfolio to fellow Labor Senator Kate Lundy in the event Gillard took the Prime Ministership this morning and conducted a cabinet re-shuffle.

    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd tonight acknowledged on national television that Gillard had challenged him for the Labor crown, with a leadership spill to be held this morning at 9AM. Multiple reports — including Lundy herself, who will vote for Gillard — expect the deputy PM to win the vote.

    It is not yet known which way Conroy will vote, although he is believed to be part of the ALP right faction which has been reported to have been instrumental in building support for Gillard within the party ranks.

    Electronic Frontiers Australia chair Colin Jacobs — who has been engaged in a running battle with Conroy over the Government’s controversial internet filter — said there was “no question” that Lundy understood the technology industry better than Conroy and had great relationships in the sector.

    “I personally would love to see a change in direction in the ministry, given what we have seen in the past few years,” Jacobs said, noting particularly industry disapproval of the filter policy. Lundy is currently pushing for modifications to be made to the policy that would allow Australians to either opt-in or opt-out of having their internet connections filtered at the ISP level.

    “The filter has dominated and totally tarnished Conroy’s reputation when it comes to these issues,” said Jacobs. He noted also that Conroy’s personal demeanour – including his “tough parliamentary style” had not made him the most popular person.

    Internode engineer Mark Newton — also a notable Conroy critic — said “without question”, Lundy had more respect in the technology sector. “Conroy is a laughing stock in the IT world,” he said.

    “You could put a pot plant in the ministry and get a better response.”

    In comparison, he said, Lundy had demonstrated a personal style that was “a lot more nuanced” and more consultative than Conroy. Newton noted that Lundy had spent a lot of time in parliament working within committee structures. “You can see that in the way she has approached the filter censorship issue,” he said.

    Lundy has been vocal on the internet filter issue, but one question about the ACT senator would be how she would handle the National Broadband Network issue — one of the biggest tasks in the Communications Portfolio.

    Jacobs noted that Conroy had achieved some breakthroughs in the NBN area recently — especially the $11 billion deal that brought Telstra into the NBN fold over the weekend. Conroy’s tough style might help in negotiating with powerful telcos like Telstra, he said — but ultimately the EFA chief said he would still back Lundy over Conroy in that area.

    Newton said he believed the NBN was misplaced in the Communications portfolio in the first place.

    “The Rudd front bench has an infrastructure minister, and yet the largest infrastructure project in Australia’s history is being looked after by a Communications Minister,” he said, noting it might be worth creating a separate minister just to look after the NBN.

    “Give it to someone who can provide it with dedicated attention,” Newton said. “If you leave it to a Communications Minister, they’re going to be distracted with issues like internet censorship.”

    Rudd and Conroy have appeared to have a strong working relationship over the past few years, with Rudd backing his Communications Minister on issues ranging from the NBN to the internet filter and even about Google’s inadvertent collection of payload data through Wi-Fi scanning by its Street View cars.

    Less is known about Gillard’s relationship with either Rudd or Conroy, or even Gillard’s own attitude towards technology policy.

    Jacobs noted that the ALP’s right faction had, however, been instrumental in putting Gillard forward to challenge Rudd yesterday. With Conroy being a member of the right faction, it would have to take some “pretty crazy” moves to see him losing his portfolio, the EFA chair noted.

    Newton said it was a bit hard to say what Gillard’s views on key issues such as the NBN and the filter might be — because he believed Gillard would have been fairly restricted in what she could say, as she had been under Kevin Rudd’s shadow as his deputy for several years. However, he noted that Rudd had kept his ministers very strongly under control, and flagged the potential for Gillard to allow her cabinet more leniency.

    Although Newton and Jacobs were interviewed separately, both ultimately expressed frustration about the choices that party leaders have made in the communications portfolio.

    “I don’t think Australia has ever in its history had a successful communications minister,” said Newton. “As far back as I can remember, Australia has been poorly served by communications ministers,” agreed Jacobs.

    Image credit: Adam Carr, Creative Commons

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    32 Comments

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    1. Posted 24/06/2010 at 2:01 am | Permalink |

      Conroy critics use situation to say obvious. No shit Sherlock.

      • Posted 24/06/2010 at 2:16 am | Permalink |

        I’m hoping to find some people more positive about Conroy to provide an alternative opinion tomorrow — but not many of his fans are online at 11PM ;)

        • Posted 24/06/2010 at 11:21 am | Permalink |

          Absolutely!

          Conroy’s tech related proclamations make him and the country look foolish and ignorant. We need a cluey minister, and @katelundy is it.

      • Michael H
        Posted 24/06/2010 at 2:19 am | Permalink |

        Couldn’t agree more.

        @Renai: I think finding alternative opinions on Conroy will be hard enough to find at 11am, let alone 11pm. There’s not enough coffee or energy drinks in the world to make anyone in the industry say something positive or neutral about him.

    2. Mike
      Posted 24/06/2010 at 7:58 am | Permalink |

      Agreed. Conroy is far more dangerous than a joke. He needs to be whisked away from any portfolio and made bottlewasher in the parliamentary kitchens, out of sight, where his McCarthyist attitudes can’t do as much damage. Lundy has shown herself to be much more in-tune with the industry, and with technology in general. We can only hope that Gillard is not worse than Rudd when it comes to policy.

    3. chris
      Posted 24/06/2010 at 8:11 am | Permalink |

      YES,
      Conroy is as incompetent as Krudd.

      Lundy has some common sense when it comes to the internet censorship regime Conroy is imposing on this democracy.

      This would certainly claw back alot of lost voters :)

    4. Posted 24/06/2010 at 8:58 am | Permalink |

      Replace Conroy with Lundy? You could replace him with a pet rock and get better policy… but Kate knows WTF she’s talking about for the most part in I/T, no farkin’ brainer.

    5. Steve
      Posted 24/06/2010 at 9:14 am | Permalink |

      I think Conroy would be behind the spill, but this could lead to him being given a higher portfolio, leaving room for Lundy.

    6. Phil Collins
      Posted 24/06/2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink |

      Hmmmm… still the whole IT crowd are blinded by the filtering. getting structural reform of telco sector a much bigger game. What about broadcasters and spectrum dividend? Not surte Lundy could have done that. Still, she writes a blog, so I guess that qualifies her…

    7. Nick
      Posted 24/06/2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink |

      I don’t think Conway will be demoted. But there is some chance he could be promoted out of trouble, maybe (hopefully?)

    8. Peter
      Posted 24/06/2010 at 12:00 pm | Permalink |

      Conroy is tainted and too close to the Rudd “brand”, wielding toxic policies. The smart thing to do is dump him and the filter.

    9. Vick
      Posted 24/06/2010 at 12:22 pm | Permalink |

      If Gillard wants me to vote Labor, dumping Conroy and his Orwellian ideas is non-negotiable.

    10. Paul S
      Posted 24/06/2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink |

      This is hard for me to say. I intensely dislike Conroy. I am appalled at the insanity of mandatory filtering. But I think Abbott is a far worse prospect and Gillard has so much potential. She deserves a chance for a full term as elected PM and if she needs to play some faction games or maintain the stability of the government by not making massive changes I do understand.

      I would hope that if Conroy doesn’t go now he will after the election and that they will go to the election with a change in policy thanks to the work of Senator Lundy.

      That is my vote decider. Not Conroy, but a clear change of policy. Though Lundy as minister would be icing.

    11. bill bigwater
      Posted 24/06/2010 at 1:36 pm | Permalink |

      Like rudd conroy should be sacked hes got no idea and is controlled by the american interest groups eg american corporations as to what to do in the communications arena. remember he wants to incorporate a surveilleance state and this is the reason to not vote for the liberals or the labour goverments as they have the interests of coroporations. give parties like pirate party a chance just a suggestion

    12. Tom
      Posted 24/06/2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink |

      Hell yes. We need someone who doesnt automatically label everyone that opposes the filter a criminal or pedophile.

      We also need someone who will listen to the *majority* of Australians who say they dont want a filter, and push for it to be dropped.

      • Tom
        Posted 24/06/2010 at 1:49 pm | Permalink |

        Re my comment above, whether or not Lundy is the person to do this, I dont really care. Just get Conroy out, and someone better in. :-)

    13. Bob
      Posted 24/06/2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink |

      Definitely not. Compared with Conroy, Lundy looks too acceptable and could therefore be the one who shoves the wedge in. The only opt-in scheme that’s acceptable is if the ISP itself has the option to opt in. (IE: What the laws are now)

    14. Bruce
      Posted 24/06/2010 at 3:14 pm | Permalink |

      Our new PM is someone who was the least offensive candidate when viewed by the various factions that wanted change rather than being a leader per se. If Conroy has the numbers or whatever deal he has done that requires him to maintain his filter position is sufficiently strong then he stays. Its murky but it has democratic underpinnings. As to what is driving the lemming like drive to a police surveillance state, we all have our theories but nothing is in the open yet – oh for some quality investigative journalism.

    15. Peter
      Posted 24/06/2010 at 4:14 pm | Permalink |

      This is really a question? Absolutely! In fact anyone would do really. Just get rid of these stupid “we are your new parents” polcies..

    16. Craig
      Posted 24/06/2010 at 4:30 pm | Permalink |

      Maybe Conroy could be the dedicated NBN minister since that seems to be the only thing he has done right as communications minister and Kate can take over as communications minister?

    17. Jill
      Posted 24/06/2010 at 6:04 pm | Permalink |

      Can she “promote” Conroy to another portfolio? He’ll stuff that up as well, but at least he’d be out of Communications.

    18. James
      Posted 24/06/2010 at 8:17 pm | Permalink |

      They could promote Conroy to Finance now that Tanner is going. Can you imagine how effective he would be running our country economically! We would catch up with the depression in the rest of the world in no time.

    19. Posted 25/06/2010 at 11:26 am | Permalink |

      What a bunch of ungreatful peons!

      Conroy is the Minister you lot deserved, a stupid headkicker with a fundy streak so wide you can get the Labor right to stagger through it after a night of number crunching and other debauche activities.

      What fun is there to appoint a Minister who knows anything about broadband or the portals? Go back to your porn sites you unrepresentative swill for the public!

    20. Posted 25/06/2010 at 2:51 pm | Permalink |

      I think Keating was more eloquent than that. ;)

    21. Jobst
      Posted 27/06/2010 at 1:26 pm | Permalink |

      Gillard replaces Conroy with Lundy.
      There, fixed that for you.

    22. masealake
      Posted 10/09/2010 at 9:27 am | Permalink |

      Will Julia Gillard’s re-elected Labor Party government fixed voters voices, pains and crying?

      The historical hung parliament demonstrated deep in voter’s heart a fixed must to carry on in vision and action immediately:

      Voters’ voices do not hear?
      Voters’ pains do not ease?
      Voters’ cries do not care?

      1. Poverty will not be phase out if no fairer resources to share;
      2. Illness will not be reducing if no preventive measurement in real action;
      3. Agriculture will not be revitalize if urbanization continuing its path;
      4. Housing affordability will not be reach for young generation if government continues cashing from young generation debt by eating out the whole cake of education export revenue without plough back;
      5. Manufacture industry will shrink smaller and smaller if no new elements there to power up to survive;
      6. Employability will not in the sustainable mode for so long as manufacture and agriculture not going to boost.

      Ma kee wai
      (Member of Inventor Association Queensland since 1993)

    23. Adam
      Posted 14/09/2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink |

      Get Conroy out, we don’t want our Internet destroyed by a corporate slave!!!!

    24. masealake
      Posted 18/09/2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink |

      What democratic societies should learn a lessen from Australia election 2010:
      1. What goodwill of Australia parliamentary reform? Peoples power to ease their pains?
      The Australia historical hung parliament demonstrated the big gap of inequality society between the small educated elite groups who get highest pay by talk feast used mouth work controlling live essential resources of the country in every social platforms against the biggest less educated groups who get lowest pay by hands work squeezed by discriminative policies that sucking live blood from individual poor/less wealth off?

      Voters’ voices do not hear?
      Voters’ pains do not ease?
      Voters’ cries do not care?

      1. Poverty will not be phase out if no fairer resources to share;
      2. Illness will not be reducing if no preventive measurement in real action;
      3. Agriculture will not be revitalize if urbanization continuing its path;
      4. Housing affordability will not be reach for young generation if government continues cashing from young generation debt by eating out the whole cake of education export revenue without plough back;
      5. Manufacture industry will shrink smaller and smaller if no new elements there to power up to survive;
      6. Employability will not in the sustainable mode for so long as manufacture and agriculture not going to boost.

      Ma kee wai
      (Member of Inventor Association Queensland since 1993)

    25. masealake
      Posted 24/09/2010 at 3:47 pm | Permalink |

      What democratic societies should learn lessen from Australia election 2010:
      1. What creative vision of Gillard Labor government’s nation-building agenda without support to Australian Inventors?
      The Australia historical hung parliament demonstrated the big gap in 70 years of inequality society between the small educated elite groups who get highest pay by talk feast used mouth work controlling live essential resources of the country in every social platforms against the biggest less educated groups who get lowest pay by hands work squeezed by discriminative policies that sucking live blood from individual poor/less wealth off?

      Voters’ voices do not hear?
      Voters’ pains do not ease?
      Voters’ cries do not care?

      1. Poverty will not be phase out if no fairer resources to share;
      2. Illness will not be reducing if no preventive measurement in real action;
      3. Agriculture will not be revitalize if urbanization continuing its path;
      4. Housing affordability will not be reach for young generation if government continues cashing from young generation debt by eating out the whole cake of education export revenue without plough back;
      5. Manufacture industry will shrink smaller and smaller if no new elements there to power up to survive;
      6. Employability will not in the sustainable mode for so long as manufacture and agriculture not going to boost.

      Ma kee wai
      (Member of Inventor Association Queensland since 1993)

    26. masealake
      Posted 26/09/2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink |

      What democratic societies should learn lessen from Australia election 2010:
      1. What productive action Gillard Labor government 5 billions to UN buys ousted PM Kevin Rudd’s face?
      Voter’s pains did not link to high income Politicians and Bureaucracy.
      The Australia historical hung parliament demonstrated the big gap of inequality society between the small educated elite groups who get highest pay by talk feast used mouth work controlling live essential resources of the country in every social platforms against the biggest less educated groups who get lowest pay by hands work squeezed by discriminative policies that sucking live blood from individual poor/less wealth off?

      Voters’ voices do not hear?
      Voters’ pains do not ease?
      Voters’ cries do not care?

      1. Poverty will not be phase out if no fairer resources to share;
      2. Illness will not be reducing if no preventive measurement in real action;
      3. Agriculture will not be revitalize if urbanization continuing its path;
      4. Housing affordability will not be reach for young generation if government continues cashing from young generation debt by eating out the whole cake of education export revenue without plough back;
      5. Manufacture industry will shrink smaller and smaller if no new elements there to power up to survive;
      6. Employability will not in the sustainable mode for so long as manufacture and agriculture not going to boost.

      Ma kee wai
      (Member of Inventor Association Queensland since 1993)

    27. masealake
      Posted 24/03/2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink |

      Why believe coalition Supporting Local Communities?
      It’s all about power and money most Politicians and parties wanted above all and after all election?
      Just listen how Barry O’Farrell convincing voters: “Over the last four years I announced positive and practical policies which will help support local communities……..” .
      Take a look below the link subject: “Time for Action” in “Healthy Active Life” program that convert Broken hill into a Healthy Las Vergas Broken Hill economy? Link with http://www.streetcorner.com.au/news/showPost.cfm?bid=20747&mycomm=ES
      … , will you then still believe Barry O’Farrell’s announced positive and practical policies which will help support local communities……..” ?
      Will you also believe there were only 1-2 Politicians responding to this greatest “Healthy Las Vergas Broken Hill economy model”?
      Why the most Politicians do fail their own test in support community health/economic development who with$1.65 million Tax payer’s money each annual spending for?
      Masealake (Member of Inventor Association QLD)

    28. masealake
      Posted 25/03/2011 at 3:51 pm | Permalink |

      Why believe coalition economic plan works without revitalize agriculture and manufacture industries??
      It’s all about power and money most Politicians and parties wanted above all and after all election?
      Just listen how Barry O’Farrell convincing voters: “People are our asset. They are our greatest wealth and they should be given the opportunity to pursue their dreams?” On the issue of economic management, Mr O’Farrell was asked what he thought was the state’s greatest source of wealth, given NSW lacked a resources industry.
      Take a look below the link subject: “Time for Action” in “Healthy Active Life” program that convert Broken hill into a Healthy Las Vergas Broken Hill economy? Link with http://www.streetcorner.com.au/news/showPost.cfm?bid=20747&mycomm=ES
      … .
      When we look at what today’s shrinking industries, such of agriculture (34% of fruit and 19% of vegetables imported); manufacture (10.5% by 2005–6) destructed by John Howard’s coalition government.
      Will you then still believe Mr Barry O’Farrell’s coalition opposition announced positive and practical policies which will help revitalize agriculture and manufacture industries for create more sustainable jobs, and innovative export products?
      Remember, it’s not one person to construct or destruct the whole lots of industries, it’s the matter of whole political party/government?
      Will you also believe there were only 1-2 Politicians responding to this greatest “Healthy Las Vergas Broken Hill economy model”?
      Why the most Politicians do fail their own test in spend little brain work to revitalize agriculture and manufacture industries who with $1.65 million Tax payer’s money each annual spending for?
      Masealake (Member of Inventor Association QLD)




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