Feeds

Gillard makes tech key part of re-election bid

Will the education policy add up for Australia's Prime Minister?

High performance access to file storage

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard has indicated technology-related issues will be at the core of her bid for re-election this year.

In a letter penned for The Sunday Telegraph, a newspaper whose 600,000 Sunday buyers makes it Australia's biggest-selling organ, Gillard outlined her vision for re-election. The letter included a mention of “meeting the growing risks of cyber crime” as one of the key security challenges she aims to deliver on.

Australia's social payments agency, Centrelink, scored a mention as likely to receive an injection of tech.

“Understandably you don't want a Centrelink queue, you want a smart phone app to get you the help you need and that help has to work with your lives today,” the PM wrote.

Gillard also described how Australia increasingly competes against emerging Asian economies, and wrote “We can't win this economic race without new technology and better skills, so we are rolling out the [National Broadband Network] NBN and expanding our training system.”

Famous for her belief in education as a changer of lives and builder of economies, Gillard also wrote that “My passion is education and I can show you schools around the country where we have lifted standards and more children are succeeding at reading, writing and maths,” adding “But we now have to make that difference in every school,” not least because Asian nations are excelling at maths and sending many more high-schoolers into technical degrees than Australia.

A mention of education's transformative powers are never far away when Gillard speaks in public. Nor is a mention of the economy-modernising power of the NBN, often accompanied by a “NBN=jobs of the future and more jobs” equation that betrays no interest in the works of Joseph Schumpeter. It is therefore to be expected that those themes appear in a letter like this, timed as it was to catch the largest possible quantity of readers and set agendas at a time political debate is muted by national mental summer slumber.

The inclusion of the remark about Centrelink is noteworthy, as a great many Australians interact with the agency as a result of the nation's generous family assistance payments. The mention of apps as a service delivery channel is therefore a welcome sign the government understands technology's potential to improve services and reduce their cost.

But one key item remains unaddressed: education. For all of Gillard's enthusiasm for education, her government has done precious little to consider how the education system can serve the technology industry. The Reg has mentioned to federal ministerial advisers (in portfolios related to technology and education) that plans for a new national curriculum currently don't include a commitment to teach programming in schools, a topic that seems like just the sort of thing a nation aspiring to create new NBN-fuelled technology jobs would consider important. Once informed of that fact, they expressed great surprise, we suspect because different arms of government aren't aware of one another's activities. Some States also dislike the proposed curriculum and plan to go it alone with more comprehensive plans of their own.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has said a new draft of the Technologies curriculum will arrive in early February. If it waters down the computing component of secondary education, which already looks pretty wimpy, Gillard's newfound fondness for IT may look worryingly like window dressing. What it will say about her passion for education is anyone's guess. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.