news It appears that most tech-focused MPs and Senators have retained their seats in Saturday’s Federal Election, in good news for Australia’s technology community; with the exception of Innovation Minister Wyatt Roy, who appears set to lose his seat of Longman.
The Federal Election held on Saturday has not delivered any conclusive outcome that would lead to certainty in terms of which technology policies will be implemented over the next there years. It is likely that it will take up to several weeks before the final outcome of the poll is known.
However, there is still good news for Australia’s technology sector from the poll.
Tech-focused Labor MPs such as Jason Clare, Ed Husic, Michelle Rowland, Tim Watts and Terri Butler look to have held their seats, as well as Labor Senator Stephen Conroy.
On the Coalition side of the fence, tech-focused MPs such as Christopher Pyne, Paul Fletcher and David Coleman appear to have done the same, although Jamie Briggs, who was instrumental in getting the Liberal Party to block Labor’s controversial mandatory Internet filtering legislation, appears to have lost his seat to the Nick Xenophon Team.
Some MPs such as Brett Whiteley, who had attempted to defend the Coalition’s decision to abandon plans to bring fibre to rural Tasmania, have lost their seats, in what appears to be partially a repudiation of the Coalition’s NBN policy in some key areas.
It appears clear that Communications Minister Mitch Fifield will retain his seat.
Xenophon himself, who has been a supporter of the National Broadband Network project and opposed mandatory Data Retention policy, has strongly expanded his remit in the Parliament, picking up at least two more Senators and at least one, possibly two, lower house MPs for his party.
And Greens Senator Scott Ludlam appears to have retained his seat in Western Australia.
The fate of Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm, who opposes the NBN but also was one of the strongest opponents of Data Retention, is not yet clear.
The news means that overall, the core of technology policy expertise in the Federal Parliament has been retained, with one major exception: Wyatt Roy, who appears to have lost his seat of Longman.
The Queensland MP has not yet conceded the seat, and still may retain it based on postal voting or final count figures, but is behind on a two party preferred basis by 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent. Labor’s Susan Lamb achieved a sizable 6.1 percent swing against Roy on Saturday and looks set to win the seat.
The news of Roy’s likely exit from the Parliament will hit some in Australia’s technology sector hard.
Roy was a key supporter of Malcolm Turnbull when the Member for Wentworth successfully challenged Tony Abbott for the Prime Ministership, and was rewarded with a junior Ministership for the Innovation portfolio in Turnbull’s revised Cabinet.
He has since forged extremely strong links with Australia’s technology startup community and is highly regarded within the sector.
I will post my detailed thoughts on Wyatt Roy’s likely demise if he does indeed, formally lose the seat of Longman. However, suffice it to say that I would consider it a great loss to the technology community if he does lose the seat; and I hope he will return to Parliament in some form at a later stage.
The Queensland Parliament, perhaps, could very much use Roy’s expertise, if he can’t find a new role in Canberra.
Image credit: Office of Wyatt Roy