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Type: Conference paper
Title: Labor and information technology: From neo-liberalism to nation-building
Author: Johnson, C.
Citation: Proceedings of the Australian Political Studies Association Conference, 2009: pp.1-17
Publisher: Carfax Publishing
Publisher Place: UK
Issue Date: 2009
Conference Name: Australian Political Studies Association Conference (2009 : Macquarie University, NSW)
Statement of
Carol Johnson
Abstract: This paper uses Labor policy on information technology as a case study to analyse changing Labor attitudes on issues ranging from neo-liberalism, globalisation and social inclusion to conceptions of market failure, western technological superiority and the rising power of Asia. The Keating government argued that the development of new information technology reinforced the need to embrace both neo-liberalism and globalisation. The new information economy would herald in a brave new world that would see a re-invigorated, culturally confident Australia, purposefully striding along the world’s information superhighway. The old social divisions of the past would be superseded. The new priority of social democratic government would be to ensure that Australians were well educated and information rich. Despite some reservations, Kim Beazley’s ‘Knowledge Nation’ still reflected such views. They reached their peak under Mark Latham’s leadership given his view that the new information economy had totally transformed capitalism. However, the legacies of the Howard period, compounded by the impact of the Global Financial Crisis, have seen very different views emerge in the period of the Rudd government. New Information Technology is seen as a major site of market failure. Far from confidently participating in the information superhighway, Australia is now seen as being relegated to an IT backwater as we fall behind not only the US and Europe but many of our Asian competitors. The case of new information technology is now seen as justifying not neo-liberalism but the need for major government intervention in the market place. In short, the issue of new information technology provides some useful insights into the changing nature of Australian social democracy.
Rights: © Copyright Macquarie University
RMID: 0020097368
Published version:
Appears in Collections:Politics publications

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