Qld dumps cabinet ministers’ bags for iPads


The Queensland Government has revealed plans to become the first government in Australia to dump the traditional cabinet briefing bags full of paper documents and issue all of its ministers with iPads instead, for electronic access to the same information.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh told an IT industry lunch yesterday the state would become the “first jurisdiction in Australia to allow ministers to read their cabinet bag via their iPad”. The cabinet bags contain briefing documents issued to ministers to aid them in their work, containing memorandums and reports from departments and other branches of government.

However, Bligh pointed out that Queensland had ministers located throughout the state, with the documents often having to be couriered out to remote locations. The use of iPads as a replacement, the Premier added, would allow ministers located in regional locations to access the documents “much more reliably from home”.

When the state was looking at implementing an iPad-based solution for the problem, Bligh said, it found “there was none”. So a Queensland-based firm, Speedwell eBusiness Solutions, was commissioned to develop a system for the Government. “I’m very confident that we will see other Governments wanting to buy it,” Bligh said, noting the solution that the company had developed was “highly secure”.

The news comes as debate continues to swirl amongst the top levels of the private and public sectors about the extent to which senior executives should be allowed to use their iPads for sensitive corporate and government information consumption and sharing.

ANZ Bank chief information officer Anne Weatherston, for example, told journalists last week that the bank was currently examining its legal position when it came to using the Apple tablets within the bank.

“There are some quirks of Australian commercial law, which I suspect the other banks are not aware of … in the way you use iPads,” the CIO said. “I would be concerned about rolling them out on a wider basis. It’s currently with our board for consideration in terms of how we deploy, and what functionality we allow from the iPad devices.

However, rival banks such as Westpac are known to use the iPad extensively at a board and executive level. The device is being speedily adopted by executives right around Australia, as well as general consumers. In addition, government authorities such as the Defence Signals Directorate have recently flagged their intention to examine Apple’s iOS platform — which runs its iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices — in terms of its security, with a mind to more widely deploying the technology throughout Government.

In 2011, analyst firm Telsyte estimates almost 1.2 million total tablets will ship in Australia in 2011 — with Apple’s share some 852,000 units. That number is almost triple the 400,000-odd tablets that sold in Australia in 2010.

Image credit: BBC


  1. As usual Qld is behind on news as the ACT have been using iPads for several months. You may want to read the Canberra Times.

  2. Funny the Qld Premier said in yesterdays speech they had contacted other states to see if they had a solution and couldn’t find one. I guess ACT is a Territory so she didn’t lie, and she doesn’t read the Canberra Times either.

  3. Yes Anna didn’t lie, as we are seen as immaterial by other jurisdictions, being just a mere maligned Territory.

    But does anything exist outside Qld, given the lack of knowledge of other parts of Australia held by Qld politicians and their propensity for introspectivity.

  4. Well @theqldpremier is trying to defend this on twitter saying that the ACT App is only a PDF reader with modifications.

    The way I see it is ACT made the first App, but Qld made a better one.

    But just another case of Spin over substance by the Qld Government, I just wish they would admit it.

  5. I’m not disputing the quality of the product just the order of jurisdictional adoption. I suppose that after ruining the Qld economy she needs something to brag about.

    But that’s politicians for you.

  6. Worth reading her twitter feed, @theqldpremier her team feel like they have something to defend. With 4 tweets in a matter on minutes to defend her. I think she has been let down big time by her advisors, my question is now did anyone really look interstate? because from my experience they have trouble knowing what apps other Qld Gov Deparments have let alone finding out what other jurisdictionions have.

    I just wish they would say we got it wrong ACT was first instead of trying to defend bad advice like they always do.

  7. Have to update the last entry, make that 5 tweets from @theqldpremier they now want to debate the fact the ACT one is just a pdf reader and the Qld one is an App.

    Here is latest tweet “QLD’s is an app as opposed to a PDF reader. Prem_Team”

    As a geek I really don’t want to have to explain to them a pdf reader is an app, and the one ACT has would be an app.

    I think a great story headline for someone “when and app isn’t an app” hint hint Renai

  8. Personally I’ll let Anna have bragging rights as it is of little importance. I’d rather good communications and information flow across all jurisdictions as this State/territory parochial garbage is irksome.

    Have a good one Bruce

  9. Couldn’t agree with you more pete. Queensland has to work out how to communicate between it’s own departments before it pretends to be working with other jurisdictions

  10. Funnily enough I have a good working relationship with a few of the departments ;-)

    Nite my friend.

    I gather this won’t be the apple of Anna’s eye in the morrow

  11. Thanks Stev,

    Yeah the Vics are doing some great work down there. I’ve had no issue working with Vics as we do have a lot of governance structures aligned. Their centralised ICT provision like the ACT offers many advantages (plus a few negatives) but allows ease of alignment with other well managed jurisdictions. Some day we’ll all sing from the same hymnbook but I’ll have retired by then.

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