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IIA Calls on Australian Labor Party to Take Knowledge Responsibility

[Sydney, AUSTRALIA] National industry body the Internet Industry Association (IIA) has called on the Australian Labor Party to recognize the Internet as the foundation of its 'Knowledge Nation' agenda.

During Labor's annual conference in Hobart this week, the IIA said the event provided the ALP with an ideal opportunity to reposition itself as the party most committed to open competition in the new economy, and signal its support for the innovation, investment and employment that the Internet was proving to Australia.

"There is no point talking about a 'Knowledge Nation' if the knowledge-based industries are going to be continually beaten up by overzealous regulation, particularly while these emerging sectors are still vulnerable," said IIA executive director Peter Coroneos.

"If the ALP is sincere in wanting to overcome the information divide, then protecting the one industry that can deliver on the promise of better access and equity is a good place to start," Coroneos said.

Coroneos said the recent datacasting decision by the Australian Parliament was a good example of what governments should not do in attempting to get all Australians online in a minimal timeframe.

"Labor was part of that decision and must accept some responsibility for the outcome," he said. "Industry is very unhappy with the fact that a new industry was torpedoed and will not forgive easily. We are looking for a demonstrated commitment to competition in the new media."

Coroneos said that the IIA had endorsed amendments to the ALP policy platform which had "accorded due importance to the Internet and related technologies." He urged the ALP to embrace these measure, saying Labor must no demonstrate more than just platitudes.

"We want to see a fundamental commitment to underlie all future decisions, whether they be in government or opposition," he said.