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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-24-10 08:35 AM
Original message
Will Gillard replace Stephen Conroy with Kate Lundy?
Speculation was rife this morning (or evening, over in Australia) that controversial Communications Minister and architect of Australias great firewall project, Stephen Conroy may shortly be for the chop. In his place, it is suggested, Australias new PM Julia Gillard might prefer the more conciliatory and also better-informed - approach of Senator Kate Lundy.

If so, this is likely to prove a victory for those opposed to Conroys hard line on internet censorship, as Ms Lundy has made it clear over the last few months that she prefers to win support from Australias voters for an opt-in filter instead of imposing a mandatory filter from the centre, which is the hardline stance favoured by the present Communications Minister.

Support for Lundy comes from within industry and politics alike. Reports in ITWire and APCMag suggest Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) chair Colin Jacobs would definitely prefer Lundy, claiming she understands the technology industry better than Conroy and has good relationships in the sector.

He is reported as saying: "The filter has dominated and totally tarnished Conroys reputation when it comes to these issues." A rather more forthright view is expressed by Internode engineer Mark Newton who said: "Conroy is a laughing stock in the IT world. "You could put a pot plant in the ministry and get a better response."

A key difference between Lundy and Conroy appears to lie in their respective personal styles. Lundy is seen as being "more nuanced" and more consultative than Conroy. She also seemed more prepared to work within the parliamentary committee structure and to listen to different points of view. In contrast, Conroys personal demeanour has not made him popular. He is known for his "tough parliamentary style", which may well have proven an asset in negotiations on the National Broadband Network.

This is one of the biggest tasks currently in the Communications Portfolio, and how well or badly the Communications Minister performs in this area will have major implications for future government spending as well as Australias communications infrastructure over the next decades.

While speculation at a time of political turmoil may be inevitable, more cynical analysis suggests that Conroy may yet be saved. According to Jacobs, the push to replace Rudd with Gillard came from the Australian Labor Partys right faction a bloc which also boasts Conroy as a member. In his view, it would have to take some pretty crazy moves to see him losing his portfolio.

Nonetheless, there was general agreement by both interviewees that the communications brief has been handled badly. According to Newton: "I dont think Australia has ever in its history had a successful communications minister."

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gemini_liberal Donating Member (307 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-24-10 04:15 PM
Response to Original message
1. It'd be nice
but I wouldn't hold your breath.

As the article pointed out, he is in the right faction. The right faction led this charge. He is safe from any factional BS

Also, despite protests by many of the young - especially online, the filter policy doesn't seem to have been that big of an issue against the government. Rudd's numbers were soaring, even after the filter was proposed. Most Australians are raised on the belief that everything is scary and we need a strict government to protect us.

Also, with the NBN being one of the high points for the government, the last thing you'd want to do is can one of the ministers responsible.

Sadly, the only way Conroy is leaving that role right now, is by moving further up the ladder.
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Matilda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-27-10 11:11 PM
Response to Original message
2. Minimal changes to Cabinet.
Julia Gillard has made only minimal changes to the Cabinet appointed by Kevin Rudd, and the former PM is to stay on the backbench until after the election.

Simon Crean will take over Gillard's portfolio, and his Trade responsibilities will be given to Stephen Smith, in addition to Foreign Affairs.

Makes sense, really there'll be a gap in Finance after the election with Lindsay Tanner gone, and it makes more sense to have a complete reshuffle then. And perhaps giving Rudd whatever he wants would look rather like guilt on Gillard's part. But she's proved she can take the hard decisions.
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gemini_liberal Donating Member (307 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-27-10 11:43 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. The new cabinet is clearly a caretaker cabinet.
The minimal changes to the cabinet suggest it's just a caretaker cabinet to "mind the store" until the election, which gives strong indication to a probable August poll. (It's clear Gillard wants her own mandate before she does anything major)
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-07-10 08:02 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Looks like Julia wasn't as bright nor as politically astute as I thought:
Gillard to stick with web filter despite disquiet

More good news for The Greens.
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Matilda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-07-10 09:13 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that Julia isn't really from the Left at all.
She comes from Victoria, which is dominated by the left-wing of the Labor Party in much the same way that the Right is dominant in NSW. She herself has said (on "Australian Story") that she had to do deals and make compromises in order to win preselection in Lalor.

Did those deals involve her becoming a notional supporter of the Left? She's never said, but I fail to see her left-wing credentials in her actions.

As Minister for Education, she continued the Howard Government's massive support for private schools, at the expense of State schools.

As Minister for Workplace Relations, she tinkered at the edges of WorkChoices, but did little to restore true fairness to the workplace.

Now as Prime Minister, she's echoing Tony Abbott's red-neck policies against asylum seekers. All in the guise of "stopping people smugglers", but it's a dog-whistle issue the intention is to stop bad boat people coming to Australia.

She supports Conroy's Internet Filter, putting us in the same league as Iran and China. I would never trust any government, Left or Right, not to use such a filter for political reasons.

And by far the biggest issue, she is not going to make any move towards a Carbon Tax before 2012. Given that this was the single biggest factor in Rudd's downfall, it seems like rank stupidity to me. All she has promised is to be Abbott-lite, by calling on individuals and small business to adopt Green policies. Of course that's needed too, but nothing will make any demonstrable difference until heavy industries and mining are forced to cut back on pollution.

I see no valid reason why Australia can't begin the process of carbon taxing right after the election. It may have to be modest, in light of lack of action from China, India and the US, but we can afford to do something.

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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-08-10 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. She's certain made those missteps and then some
Edited on Thu Jul-08-10 08:55 PM by depakid
The private school funding I think was a 2007 election promise, so I can't completely fault her on that.

I agree on the carbon tax- no reason it couldn't have been moved up from 2013, and there was some bewilderment about this on Triple J yesterday along with an announcement from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. /

Trying to get the refugee issue off the table looks to be backfiring somewhat- it will be interesting to see how that plays out. She's taking a bit of heat on it at the moment.

Suffice it to say, I'm looking forward to hobnobbing about all of this at the upcoming Newcastle Greens meeting.
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Matilda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-08-10 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. If Kevin Rudd's "honeymoon" lasted for two years,
it looks as if Julia's is over in two weeks.

The "East Timor Solution" has left her looking as if she had nothing planned or organised in advance, and worse, she committed a political gaffe by calling the wrong person to discuss it. Then she denied she'd ever mentioned East Timor by name, when we'd all seen it on TV (it's still available on the Lowy Institute website, and on Youtube), so she now looks like a liar a panicked liar at that.

It looks as if Tony Abbott is still spooking Labor he makes a lot of noise and pulls silly stunts, but why does Labor get panicked into knee-jerk reactions? They should know better by now.

Gillard is a better communicator than Rudd, but I'm not sure she's a better organiser.

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gemini_liberal Donating Member (307 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-08-10 11:45 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. "why does Labor get panicked into knee-jerk reactions"
Because those "silly stunts" are validated by the media, print and tv. Frequently in TV interviews, a Labor rep has been tasked with having to disprove a baseless claim by Abbott, or even sometimes the interviewer just begs the qustion with an Abbott assertion and when the ALP rep denies it, the interviewer pushes and says "you still haven't answered the question"

Or how in parliament, he'll stammer like an idiot for the whole session but manages to belt out a hateful remark like "this government is the worst in Australia's history" and it's that soundbite which gets played on the evening news!

It's hard to not be spooked by Abbott when the entire information industry hangs on his every word like gospel truth, portrays him as a hero to the people because some old guy shook his hand when he was out and about and ignores his gaffes.

The AS policy, no matter what it was, was going to hurt Gillard, because there are two parties standing on the sidelines both knowing that they'll gain support from it for it not being "good enough." Taking the route of there being "no simple solution" doesn't play well with many people, on the right and left, who treat politics as a dichotomy. However, it is the correct attitude to take.
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Matilda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 03:08 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. The problem is - what is her policy?
On Tuesday, it was East Timor, announced before she had any sort of deal in place at all. Bad move.

On Thursday, she denied that she'd ever said "East Timor", demonstrably a lie. Worse move.

Today, she's gone back to admitting she did say "East Timor", but she's now thinking of other places. Compounding lies with stupidity.

There was tremendous goodwill towards Julia when she took over, but she's blowing it.

Funny thing is, she inherited Kevin Rudd's team of "advisers". I think perhaps she should rethink that, and hire a few people with experience.
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gemini_liberal Donating Member (307 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-08-10 12:53 AM
Response to Original message
6. I don't know why you guys are surprised
The internet filter was not an issue that was hurting the government. Unfortunately, the announcement of the proposed filter didn't hurt the government's approval at all. In fact, over 80% of Australians actually support it (Remember this is the same country that thinks there should be a law against everything. The only reservation is what will qualify as inappropriate and the secrecy of it all.

Like it or not, Australia is no left-wing or libertarian country. It's not as conservatives as the hacks on the Right will have us believe, but it ain't that liberal either.
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gemini_liberal Donating Member (307 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-08-10 11:28 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. I stand corrected

Conroy is putting the plan on the back burner and deferring it to an independent committee to discuss the ins and outs and what should or shouldn't be banned.

This may well die in committee, if not, may end up having safeguards all over it to prevent abuse of free speech.

Also gives Conroy a chance to just focus on the NBN now (a positive for the government, especially because Abbott just wants to have it ripped out of the ground!)
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