[LINK] The Age: Cyber sphere's verdict: Abbott.com clueless

Steven Clark steven.clark at internode.on.net
Fri Aug 13 03:41:43 AEST 2010

*Cyber sphere's verdict: Abbott.com clueless*


August 12, 2010 - 11:55AM

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott holds a question and answer forum with 200 
swinging voters at the Rooty Hill RSL last night.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says he's "no Bill Gates" and he proved it 
again last night in a "town hall" session at Rooty Hill RSL, causing 
some online ridicule.

The man who wants to be Australia's next prime minister had no idea 
there was a debate raging about creating an R18+ rating for video games 
and told the audience "for me broadband basically is about being able to 
send an email, receive an email".

Abbott's car analogy for broadband was turned on its head by one 
audience member to much laughter, but this was left out of the official 
transcript released by the Liberal Party.

Abbott justified his lack of knowledge on broadband yesterday, saying 
"just because you don't know exactly how every last detail of the motor 
car works doesn't mean that you can't drive it effectively".

He continued the car analogy at Rooty Hill RSL last night when asked by 
an audience member how he could guarantee his mishmash of technologies, 
including wireless, would be better than Labor's fibre-to-the-home plan.

"I might want a really fantastic car, but I've got to buy the car that I 
can afford, not necessarily the car that in a perfect world I would 
like," he said.

In a line left out of the official transcript distributed by his 
spokesman, Abbott was skewered by the audience member who turned the 
tables on his car metaphor.

"If your car is going to break down anyway, why not just spend the money 
[on a better solution]?" she said, to much laughter.

Abbott responded: "I know wireless, at the moment, is not as good as 
fibre optic cable ... but the wireless is getting so much better, I 
mean, I've upgraded my wireless modem a few times in the last couple of 
years and it's amazing how much quicker it is now than it was."

His continued opposition to the government's broadband plans met with 
some ridicule on Twitter.

"If Tony Abbott was PM 100 years ago we would have never built a 
telephone service across the country," Bonne Eggleston wrote.

On Tuesday night, Abbott struggled to explain the basics of his 
broadband policy, saying he was *not a "tech head" 

He was *widely criticised* 
after promising to junk the government's $43 billion National Broadband 
Network (NBN) without properly explaining why his $6 billion plan was 
better for the country's future.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard refused to be drawn into the fray last 
night, saying she did not intend to criticise Abbott for not knowing 
technical details about broadband.

"We need to build the National Broadband Network for the future. I will 
build it. He will not. That's the problem. Not whether he knows some 
technical details about it," she said.

Industry experts and small business groups have *universally panned 
the Coalition's *policy 
saying it would not substantially improve today's broadband speeds and 
would lead to Australia falling further behind the rest of the world.

Today, NBN Co. announced that the NBN would be capable of speeds of up 
to *1 gigabit per second 
10 times faster than first announced and significantly faster than the 
Coalition's promised minimum speed of 12 megabits per second.

The Opposition Leader was asked last night by TAFE student Vietus about 
whether he had any policies relating to an R18+ rating for video games, 
which at the moment does not exist, causing games that don't reach the 
MA15+ standard to be banned from sale.

"I didn't know there was a problem here ... what sort of stuff is 
available?" Abbott asked.

Vietus explained the disparity between film and video game 
classification, whereby the former category had an R18+ rating but games 
did not. He said adults should be able to choose what they want to play.

"Well look, if what happens with video games is not roughly analogous to 
what happens in other areas, that seems silly and there ought to be much 
the same kind of information available to consumers in respect of video 
games as there are in respect of other kinds of entertainment," Abbott said.

"So, instinctively, I'm with you and it's something that I'd be happy to 
look at were we in government."

The Greens are the only major party so far to offer a firm commitment to 
introducing an R18+ rating for games but, regardless, any changes to 
classification laws require the agreement of all state and federal 

The games issue was on the agenda for discussion at a Standing Committee 
of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting last month, but this was cancelled 
due to the federal election. It is now not expected to be considered 
until late this year.

Ron Curry, chief executive of the games industry body the Interactive 
Games and Entertainment Association, said he was somewhat heartened by 
Abbott's comments but "you've got to look at that in context of (a) he 
didn't understand the issue and (b) we're on the campaign trail - and 
ultimately it's still got to through SCAG".

*Source: smh.com.au <http://www.smh.com.au>



Steven R Clark, BSc(Hons) LLB/LP(Hons) /Flinders/, MACS, Barrister & 

PhD Candidate & Sessional Academic
School of Commerce, Division of Business
City West Campus, University of South Australia (UniSA)

Deputy Director, Economic, Legal and Social Issues Committee (ELSIC)
Community Engagement Board (CEB)
Australian Computer Society (ACS)

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