Seventeen days after the federal election, Australia now knows who will form the next government Independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor have today announced they will support Labor, while Bob Katter has opted to support the Coalition. Along with the support of Greens MP Adam Bandt and independent Andrew Wilkie, this now gives Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her Labor Government the 76 seats needed to secure a second term.
It’s been a long road to forming government and now it has finally arrived we should remind ourselves of Labor’s agenda and the impact on the ICT market.
Firstly, the National Broadband Network (NBN) is now set to go ahead and to be a significant infrastructure investment by the Gillard Government. Communications has been a key issue among the independents and Tony Windsor named broadband as the policy issue that most affected his decision to back Labor.
“You do it once, you do it right, you do it with fibre,” Mr Windsor said in his Parliament House press conference on September 7.
Mr Windsor also indicated he had been receiving advice from industry and technology experts.
Secondly, Labor will continue to invest in e-health initiatives, with a particular focus on online health and telemedicine services for regional areas, including Medicare rebates for online medical consultations and videoconferencing. This was another policy area flagged by independents Windsor and Oakeshott as a priority over the past weeks of negotiation, and may have helped in forming their decision.
As the Government will not have an outright majority in the House of Representatives, it is likely the independents will continue to play an important role in legislative negotiations over the coming term.
The Australian Greens will also wield more power in the coming Parliament, having secured their first lower house seat in a general election, doubled their representation in the Senate and signed a deal of support with Labor that is likely to give them access to the Executive. Given these achievements the Greens ICT policy platform may also impact the Government’s agenda in the coming years.
The Greens are vehemently opposed to Labor’s proposed mandatory ISP filter. They have also championed issues like open source procurement and green IT that have been largely overlooked by the major parties.
Considering Julia Gillard has today pledged to provide consultative government “under a new paradigm” it will be interesting to see whether the Greens are able to push reform on these and other ICT policy areas.
Much of the Labor ICT policy platform was known before the election and with a returned Gillard Government, the original allocations and implications of the 2010 -11 Federal Budget are likely to stand largely unchanged.
Today’s decision will have an immediate impact on the public sector and government business through the close of the caretaker period. The caretaker conventions guidelines state that the period extends “until the election result is clear”.
Suppliers and purchasers in the government ICT market will welcome an election outcome, which will allow a return to regular procurement processes in the near future.
For more information on the ICT implications of a re-elected Gillard Government, join us for our ICT Singposts: Post-election briefing.
Date: September 30 2010
Time: 07:15 – 09:00
Venue: The Boat House by the Lake, Canberra