Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has ended 2009 on a high, winning “person of the year” at the APICTA awards in Melbourne last night.
The honour, bestowed by the Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organization (ASOCIO) which includes regional industry bodies such as the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), was awarded to Conroy for his efforts on the National Broadband Network (NBN).
ASOCIO president, Ashank Desai, said the honour is an annual award given to a member of the APICTA awards host country who has made a significant difference to the ICT industry.
“He’s a person that, not only in Australia but in the Asia-Oceania region also, has helped moved the region forward in terms of making trade happen,” Desai said.
AIIA chairman, John Grant, who accepted the award on the minister’s behalf, said since taking on the communications portfolio, Conroy had become more competent. Grant praised Conroy for his in-depth knowledge of his portfolio.
“In days in the future, there’s no doubt in my mind that he will be recognised for making decisions that have created a new opportunity and a new world,” Grant said.
“The really courageous thing that you have to recognise him for is pushing through the decision on the NBN.
“He’s not afraid of making tough decisions, and what you have to give him credit for is that he balances the arguments very well and walks the talk that he believes in.”
In a tumultuous year for the Minister, Conroy was awarded “internet villain of the year” in July at the 11th annual UK Internet Industry Awards, due to the government’s hugely unpopular plans for a national ISP-level Internet filter. This week, he announced the filter plan would go ahead after successful trials.
And earlier this month, Conroy was named in the number three spot of people, companies or products in Computerworld’s Top 10 Most Influential for 2009 awards. Voting is still open for the Readers Choice Award.