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The Communications Minister rises

Wednesday, 16 Sep 2015

Former Communications Minister and ACS Patron Malcolm Turnbull will be sworn in as Australia's 29th Prime Minister this morning after he defeated Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a vote for the Liberal Party leadership held late on Monday night.

After fronting the cameras on Monday afternoon to announce his candidacy, Mr Turnbull and his supporters stayed out of the media spotlight until well after the ballot had been completed. 

In his first speech as Prime Minister Designate, Mr Turnbull made specific mention of the issues in his old portfolio.

"We have to recognise that the disruption we see driven by technology, the volatility and change is our friend if we are agile and smart enough to take advantage of it." Mr Turnbull said.

"The Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, that is innovative, that is creative" he continued.

ACS welcomes change

In a statement, ACS CEO Andrew Johnson noted the considerable value that Mr. Turnbull’s knowledge of the Communications portfolio will bring to the office of Prime Minister. 

“I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Malcolm Turnbull. In today’s digital world having a former Communications Minister take the top job will bring a much needed stronger focus on innovation, technology and digital education and skills.” Mr Johnson said

“Building digital skills is critical if Australia is to secure its economic future, and Malcolm Turnbull has strong credentials in the technology space.” 

“The ACS looks forward to working with the new Communications Minister and the Prime Minister as Australia builds its digital capability and strengthens its digital economy.” 

Digital a key platform for new PM

Malcolm Turnbull is no stranger to the technology space, having been a part owner of early years ISP Ozemail and driven a significant expansion in their customer base, which ultimately led to a takeover by iiNet. 

Close watchers of Canberra also know that Turnbull is one of the few MP's to have embraced wearables, often being seen using his smart watch in the chamber, at events and on his well socially publicised public transport endeavours. 

In January, Turnbull announced the establishment of the Digital Transformation Office, or DTO, within the Department of Communications. The stated aim was to create end to end digital delivery of Government services. 

Since its establishment, the DTO has been focused on improving the MyGov platform, which has come under intense criticism for usability and stability issues. 

No news on Communications portfolio

In his first press conference, Mr Turnbull indicated that Ministerial changes were likely, however gave in indication of who would fill the critical Communications or Treasury portfolios. 

"I expect Ministers will continue in their current portfolios...and we'll make Ministerial changes after the parliamentary sitting week is over" Mr Turnbull said.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher MP has experience in the communications sector having previously worked at a senior level with Optus and as principal of consulting firm Fletchergroup.

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