Senator Conroy Calls For Telcos To Wear Red Underpants On Their Heads. Yes, Really.

It's been a week of political pimping as Prime Minister Julia Gillard and a crack team of local ministers and dignitaries flew to New York to get Australia a spot on the United Nations' Security Council. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy was also there addressing the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information conference, where he voiced a potential plan to get telcos to wear underwear on their heads for access to the government's upcoming spectrum auctions.

Conroy was talking about his "unfettered legal powers" as Australia's communication's minister, saying that the NBN couldn't be replicated elsewhere due to the complex legal relationship between the Australia's telcos and the government.

Here's the quote, dutifully reported by those top-notch folks over at CommsDay. The emphasis is our own, but you hardly need it:

"The regulation of telecommunications powers in Australia is exclusively federal. That means I am in charge of spectrum auctions, and if I say to everyone in this room 'if you want to bid in our spectrum auction you’d better wear red underpants on your head', I’ve got some news for you. You’ll be wearing them on your head. I have unfettered legal power."

...I don't even...

Is it something in the water over there? It has to be. Why else would politicians say such stupid things in front of large groups? [CommsDay]

Image: Meme Generator

Ta for the image, Liam!



    That's pretty funny though. I've got to give it to Conroy this time, I LoLed.

    I think it would be funny if the queen issued a decree that Conroy must wear red underpants on his head.

    Ah, a mistaken belief that it is him who has the power, not the office for which he is the minister and representative.

    This is a hard situation, because it is simultaneously made more and less hiliarious by the seriousness of this situation, and the piles and piles of tax dollars (money that the government forces you to give them out of your wages) that have been destined for the development of our communications network. Civil Servants: Please be idiots on your own time and do not stuff this up.

    Meh! The NBN is connected to my street now and I'm just waiting for the tech to hook me up, so I don't friggin care anymore! Mwa Hahhahaha Suffer everyone still waiting.... :)

      You bastard.

    And everyone in the room will know what it costs to wear red underpants and they will of course deduct that from the price they pay for the spectrum. Governments need to understand that unfettered powers should only be used to achieve positive social and economic outcomes, because their existence otherwise is seen as a risk.....

    Very misleading headline. Funny, but misleading.

    I hope what he's means is that as that its a Federal project it can't be derailed (except by an myopic act by a possible new government).

    I'm always harping on about the legislative powers of the Australian government to the detriment of my friends entertainment, you could probably chalk it up to my prescription grade trust issues. But seriously when the legislation is littered with unwarranted powers that politicians assure us they'll "never use" one begs the question as to why it is there in the first place and our dear friend here does nothing to dissuade concerns with his political dick measuring.

    I'm not sure if people are aware as to the magnitude of the power we've handed over. This guy could just as easily decree that all Indians, or all Asians, or all Caucasians are banned from bidding, sure this goes against Australias anti-descrimination legislation; but I ask you who has the power to rewrite that legislation.

    " I have unfettered legal power.”
    Geebus this guy really does live in la la land.

    That's not stupid. It's a funny and extreme example of the powers that he has in the auction process. I like these sort of examples.

    Comrade Conroy. Next trick in his bag will be the internet filter, SOPA/PIPA, tracking all of your data.... can we please have an election soon and get someone with half a brain about technology like Malcolm Turnbull in charge of communications?

      I have heard that also , the governmant will control the www . whats the SOPA/PIPA thing ?

        Matt, I don't think you'd want Turnbull covering Comms. He's lied through his teeth the last few months. AND he doesn't seem to care one way or another about the Datat Retention Inquiry.

      What makes you think that under the opposition has the slightest clue? A year ago the boofhead was arguing that 3G was good enough for everybody's wireless needs - no need for new cables and no need for an NBN at all.

        Dang, Imeant "What makes you think that the opposition minister has even the slightest clue?"

        You're delusional if your think this lot are any smarter. If they were, we wouldn't be up to our eyeballs in debt, during the greatest mining boom in our history. How can one bunch of idiots piss so much money away in so little time? It's an oldie but a goodie. Socialism only works, until it runs out of other peoples money. So here we are.

    Wow what an ego trip.

      Yep that's what I got out of it. What an obnoxious cnut.

        Ace it up. Its a joke that you're taking out of context.

    Sorry Stephen, Julia is still Queen of the castle.

    OK, it seems quite obvious that not one of you has bothered to view the video of the speech, and see how Conroy's words fitted into context. He was just using a bit of hyperbole to explain an important difference between Australia and other jurisdictions when it comes to the regulation of telecommunications. The Senator's comment was related to why it is possible for Australia to implement the NBN even though that model may be unavailable to other countries. It caused a bit of laughter, but in context was essentially unremarkable. It's only made news because someone has gone through the speech with a fine-tooth comb to find something that, when taken entirely out of context, would make the senator look bad. The motive for doing that was certainly political, the media have slavishly cooperated, and most readers have done what the politiker expected, which was to accept the criticism at face value without wondering whether it represents reality, which it doesn't

      Shussshhhh! Stop making sense.
      The others might hear you ;)

      Sylvia - you are defending the indefensible. Conroy is, and always has been the village idiot posing as a politician; a clown looking for a circus. It makes me cringe to think that he is the face of Australian Government Media.

      Do you think his audience would hold him in high esteem for such a crude and childish comment? Given he is capable of such stupidity, do you now think the $50Bn taxpayer's NBN investment is in good hands?

        What we get from our politicians in Australia is a combination of guarded comment (for exactly reason raised by this thread) and endless spin. In his talk in the US, Conroy was refreshingly candid, and as I've indicated, in context, there was nothing that made his comment stand out. Whether one approves of the NBN or not (and I have my doubts about it), one should at least listen to a talk before criticising elements of it.

    Conroy is just begging for a visit from the Chaser boys.

    It's official. The inmates are running the asylum. Wearing red undies on their heads, of course.

    And what do we have to give in return for being allowed on the security council ? And how does being on it benefit Australia ?

    ...with an attitude like that Conroy your bum won't get a chance to even warm the seat.

    they could all wear these as well as their red underwear. i think Conjob would get the message

    Senator Conroy obviously needs to increase his medication.

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