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Thread: Internet Freedom/Filtering

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Extreme Humble Blogging is my Forte.

Conroy's Credibility Gap


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Date: Sat, 13 Feb 2010 14:02:23 +1100

Since this blog re-opened, there have been the occasional item about Internet Filtering. And on the odd occasion your humble blogger has posted some comments which could be construed as critical of the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. In the last few days the minister has come under attack from Opposition Senator Minchin.

Note: This was one of several posts about The Great Internet Rabbit-proof Fence -- Click here to return to the Index page.

It started last week when the Auditor-General revealed that the NBN tender process cost $30M. Later it was revealed that the CEO of the fledgling NBN corp had appointed a former Queensland labor party apparatchik, Mike Kaiser to a senior (and very well paid) position in the organisation. This had been done with very little regard to due process, after a "conversation" with Senator Conroy. The opposition went almost ballistic, especially Senator Minchin who sounded very self-righteous and indignant.

And if you have followed the sad case of communications in Australia, you would realise that it was Senator Minchin's colleagues who had spent most of their time in office preparing Telstra to be sold rather than to deliver services and also the same party who had stacked the boards of Telstra and the ABC with their own political appointments.

And all of that is how we ended up with the current mess. And why Senator Conroy had to go through the farcical tender process when there was only one tenderer in the country that had the resources to bid for it ... But it is still no excuse for the current abuses of political incumbency.

Nevertheless, the Telstra problem won't go away. Even though Sol Trujillo, the expert duck-speak quacking former CEO has departed our shores laden down with heavy saddle-bags stuffed full of our money, corporate duck-speak still remains the lingua franca of the Telstra board-room. And the communications market remains a confusing mess of unnecessary and almost incomprehensible, incomputable options where the clamour of the stock-market drowns out the feeble whimpering of the confused consumer.

The only way Australia will every get genuine competition in the communications sector will be if the government of the day is courageous enough to "unmake" Telstra. And that probably won't be done by the Liberal party, who have always promoted themselves as the "business party". The legacy of their last period in office was two outstanding obscenely large, rampant and privately owned monopolies, Telstra and the AWB. And some segments in the Liberal party also had the ABC in their sights. It seems they intended to rid the communications sector of all vestiges of "public enterprise".

However, the Howard government's plans were finally thwarted by the fickle electorate who tossed them out of office. But will the Labor Party be able to deal with the "Telstra problem"? ... And doesn't it seem a trifle inefficient to spend all that effort (and money) selling communications assets and then re-acquiring them? It reminds your humble blogger of the famous quote (wrongly) attributed to the ancient Roman satirist, Gaius Petronius Arbiter:

We trained hard ... But it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganised. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising; And a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.

The tactic of "Blaming the previous government" has reached its' use-by date. One thing is for sure ... Pretending to do something about "cleaning up" the Internet is not going to make any of these problems go away.

Of course Senator Conroy could just start pretending that he is going to something about the "Telstra Broadband Problem". That would dove-tail nicely with the policy of "pretending to do something about the fossil fuel problem" (otherwise known as the ETS).

The opposition hasn't confined their attacks to Senator Conroy however. The Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett has copped a fair bit of flak. Also Tony Abbott has started to promote his "Direct Action" alternative to the government's ETS. Mr Abbot, it seems is going to take it all one step further ... He will pretend to pretend to do something about climate change and he won't even tell us how much money they will give to their mates as part of the pretense.

And just as your humble blogger was beginning to feel a little sympathy for the government, Senator Conroy had the effrontery (during an Interview on "Hungry Beast") to protest that Australia deserved a "clean feed" from Google, similar to that which Google provides for China ... So, in other words, it seems that Senator Conroy is endorsing the Chinese model ... It really is hard to feel sorry for him ... The interviewer missed the opportunity to ask the obvious question ... What about Iran and North Korea? ... Do they also deserve a clean feed? ... Is that a trick question?

To be fair, if you watch the extended interview, Senator Conroy goes on to explain that there is no chance of Australia adopting the type of censorship regimes practised in China and Iran, because Australians are good guys and they are only doing it to protect the children ... Although it begs another question ... Umm Minister? Isn't that exactly what China and Iran also say?

Interested readers can view the Interviews by searching for "Conroy Hungry Beast" in Youtube.


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