THURSDAY 25 OCTOBER 2007
DEMOCRATS CITE KEVIN RUDD'S ICT "TOOLBOX" FOR
SCHOOLKIDS AN OBSOLETE $2.3 BILLION WASTE OF MONEY
Australian Democrats NSW candidate for the Senate Election, Lyn Shumack
today dismissed Kevin Rudd's campaign promise of an education tax refund for
student laptops as "an ineffective $2.3 billion waste of money."
Laptops were not just swiftly becoming yesterday's technology, but a laptop in
every crammed schoolbag, as the ALP was pledging, would benefit the
Chiropractic industry long before students themselves, she said.
Speaking on today's official launch of the Australian Democrats' Communication
Policy, Ms Shumack cited the hand-held device as "the real 21st century toolbox.
Converging technologies are seeing bulky laptops replaced by mobile phones
with full computer and internet capability."
Ms Shumack pointed to Nokia's latest version of its Linux-based tablet device as
a signpost to hand-held communications technology of the near future. Nokia's
tablet is larger than a cell-phone but smaller than a laptop yet features an email
browser, camera, Skype, music player and GPS (Global Position System) with
"That's 21st century communications technology that schoolkids will need, not
Kevin Rudd's 20th century toolbox. His $2.3 billion pledge is a scatter gun
approach to an ICT crisis that has relegated Australia to what the ALP itself
terms the "Third World" depths of the global broadband league.
"Only a national ICT strategy, involving all relevant sections of society -- industry,
finance, communications, government, infrastructure, entrepreneurs, education --
will put IT and communications in Australia up at the global ‘sweet spot’ where it
must be for us to develop and compete in the future.
"The Australian Democrats have a clear and sensible policy for ICT development,
supporting the Australian Computer Society's push for a national strategy,
integrating education, health, transport, industry and government.
"Meanwhile, the Coalition and ALP are arguing endlessly about whether the
government's technological grab-bag of copper wire, wireless, fibre-optics and
satellite link, or the ALP's solely fibre-optic proposal, will give us nationwide full
coverage, high-speed, broadband at a reasonable price."