blog You may remember that Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen gave a landmark speech last week arguing that much of the future for Australia’s economy lies in high-tech jobs, innovation and entrepreneurship, in sentiments which ran directly contrary to the thrust of the Coalition Government’s first budget. It was assumed at the time that much of the input for the speech came from tech-savvy MP Ed Husic, and that’s still assumed to be the case. However, it also appears that input is coming from another direction — the office of Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Delimiter’s spies have pointed us to a post made by Leigh’s advisor Thomas McMahon on startup/developer gathering ground Hacker News last week. McMahon writes:
“Hi all – I work for Andrew Leigh MP, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer who is responsible for Labor’s tax policy leading up to the next election. I’d be interested in hearing your views on what a future Labor govt could do to support startups in Australia. If you’d prefer to email them, email@example.com.”
Much of the feedback revolved around the need for better broadband infrastructure in Australia, but participants in the thread also pointed McMahon towards other issues such as the need to change tax regulations around Employee Share Scheme. “Both Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen have flagged re-examining our position on employee share schemes. I’ll add your voice to many that I’ve received on this issue,” McMahon told one participant.
With the Coalition virtually abandoning support for Australia’s technology sector in the recent Budget, it’s looking more and more as though it’s going to be Labor which will be carrying the torch for the IT industry over the next few years. Labor politicians such as Ed Husic, Kate Lundy, Stephen Conroy, Michelle Rowland, Jason Clare and now Chris Bowen clearly “get it” when it comes to technology. And of course, there’s also the recently re-elected Scott Ludlam from the Greens, who is likely the most tech-savvy of the lot.
In the meantime, we recommend that if you want to give Labor your opinion on how it should be supporting the tech sector, we suggest you do as McMahon suggested, and email him directly. The more the better! And make sure, if you do, that you remind him to read Delimiter as well :D