COMMENT: Today several smart arse political journalists including Kerry O’Brien on the ABC’s 7.30 Report are trying to make out that Tony Abbott is a technology nerd, despite the fact that O’Brien and a lot of other mass media journalists don’t have a clue about technology other than it’s something to do with an iPhone, iPod and searching the web.
Technology Nous Is Not A Pre Requisite To Being A Great Leader
Last night on the 7.30 Report Abbott stuck his hands up and honestly said:”Just as the Prime Minister says, I say as well, I’m no Bill Gates here and I don’t claim to be any kind of tech-head in all of this.”
The fact is that if you asked most CEO’s of companies, who have major technology infrastructure the chances are that they, like Abbott, will not have a clue about the technology detail in their operations and that includes the CEOs and Chairmen of most Australian banks.
I am pretty certain that a lot of media CEOs and Chairmen, including Roger Corbett at Fairfax, would do exactly what Abbott did, be honest.
What Abbott should have done is stick his hands up and told O’Brien that in the Coalition there are several experts with intimate knowledge of technology including some with an excellent understanding of the issues associated with the role out of a broadband network. And that they have contributed in the development of the Coalition’s broadband plan.
Among the people on hand for Abbott is Malcolm Turnbull, who is a former director of OzEmail, one of the first ISPs in Australia. He was also Chairman and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs Australia between 1997 and 2001. During this period he made several successful technology investments.
Turnbull is also one of Australia’s richest politicians who in 1999, sold OzEmail to the then telecommunications giant MCI WorldCom. Turnbull’s take out of the deal was worth over A$70 million.
Since then he has made several strategic investments in software and technology service companies. His wealth has been created making the right technology decisions, not the wrong ones.
Also in the opposition team is Paul Fletcher, who is a seasoned broadband communications expert.
He was the principal of a strategic consulting firm serving the communications sector and was previously Director, Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, at Optus for eight years.
He also wrote a book on broadband and telecommunications called Wired Brown Land.
Fletcher also worked as Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff to the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, during the Howard Government.
Adding to the team is current shadow Communications Minister, Tony Smith, who yesterday was supported by Andrew Robb, the shadow finance minister.
What the Liberals are doing is minimising the financial risk while delivering a 100Mbps broadband service.
The reality is that if the proposed Labour broadband plan goes pear shaped it will have a shocking impact on each and every Australian who will be denied access to infrastructure spanning health, transport and social services. No political leader is expected to be an expert on every issue impacting a Federal Government. This is the reason that we have Ministers and Departments that are supposedly staffed by experts.
Abbott, Rudd and others before him, including Howard, are the men at the front end of a political party and should not be held liable for the minute detail of any portfolio, in particularly portfolios that are dependent on strategic technology.
They are not the backroom decision makers whose recommendations we as Australians have to live with every day.
These are the faceless people who seem to survive in the public service despite massive budget blow outs and failed projects like the recent Labour Government environmental batts programs.
Recently the Australian Tax Office scaled back its new $820 million computer system because of problems including a 20 per cent cost blow out.
If this happens with Labour’s proposed $43 billion dollar fibre broadband plan we are looking at an additional $8 Billion dollars, which in reality is a lot of roads, schools and hospitals.