Anthony Albanese is the new Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. But as we and many others have commented, he will be a very busy many, as Minister for Infrastructure and as Deputy Prime Minister.
But when the full Ministry was announced, Senator Kate Lundy was made Minister assisting for the Digital economy, and Ed Husic was made Parliamentary Secretary for Broadband. They will be able to take much of the administrative workload off Albanese.
Neither appointment is a major surprise. Lundy was Communications spokesman in Opposition, and is widely known and respected by the industry. She will represent the Department in the Senate, just as Albanese represented it in the House when Senator Stephen Conroy was the Minister. She was been a Senator for the ACT since 1996.
Husic has also become well known in the IT industry, largely through his recent work on House Inquiry into IT pricing. He has a strong technical background in communications – he was president of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union and secretary of the Communications Division of the Australian Workers Union. He was elected only in 2010, to the Western Sydney electorate of Chifley. He is from a Bosnian Muslim family and is the only Muslim in Federal Parliament.
The appointment of Lundy and Husic is further indication that the Rudd Government intends to take the NBN seriously. It is also a possible pointer to who might fill the Communications role if Labor wins the election. Kate Lundy may finally get the portfolio she so richly deserves.