Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity
Australia does not sign ITRs
The Minister for Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today confirmed that Australia will not sign a revised international telecommunications treaty, as it has the potential to fundamentally change the way the internet operates.
Over the past two weeks, the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) has been considering amendments to the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs). Some of these amendments sought to extend the ITRs to include internet governance.
“It is greatly disappointing that a consensus could not be reached,” Senator Conroy said.
“Australia worked hard to develop suitable text for the ITRs that would have been acceptable to every Member State. Unfortunately, this was not achieved.
“Australia’s consistent position has been that the internet should not be included in the ITRs. This is a point on which we would not compromise.
“Australia does not support any changes that would undermine the current multi-stakeholder model for internet governance or fundamentally change the way the internet operates.
“Australia believes that the approach taken by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Numbers and Names (ICANN), which has input from industry stakeholders, governments and the public, remains the best way to sustain the internet’s growth and innovation.
“It remains Australia’s view that for the ITRs to be enduring and useful they should focus on the interconnection of international telecommunication networks.
“The decision not to sign the ITRs does not mean that Australia is stepping back from our engagement with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
“The ITU does great work in connecting the world and we greatly value the ITU’s capacity building work in the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world. We are proud to be part of that work.
“On behalf of Australia, I want to personally thank the Secretary General of the ITU, Dr Hamadoun Touré, and the Chairman of WCIT, Mohamed Nasser Al-Ghanim, for their work during this Conference.
“Dr Touré and Mr Al-Ghanim worked tirelessly to try and achieve an outcome that was satisfactory for all Member States.”
Date: 14 December 2012
Contact: Adam Sims 0408 258 457