Senator Stephen Conroy was the Former Minister for Broadband in the Australia Senate. He was born in the UK and moved to Australia when he was 10. He grew up in Canberra and attended the Australian National University where he completed a Bachelor of Economics.
Senator Conroy worked for a number of State and Federal ministers as an adviser from 1985 until 1992. Senator Conroy was elected in 1993 to Footscray Council at the age of 30. He worked for the Transport Workers Union until 1996 when at the age of 33 he entered Federal Parliament as a Senator for Victoria for the Australian Labor Party (ALP).
Senator Conroy held the position of Opposition Deputy Whip from 1996 until 1998. In 1998 he was elected to the frontbench as Opposition Shadow Minister for Financial Services. He was an active participant in many Senate Inquiries into financial services regulation and taxation policy. He also has actively participated in Senate Estimate Committees for the last 17 years.
In 2001 Senator Conroy was elected Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. Senator Conroy held the portfolios of Finance and Small Business between 2001-2004 and he was Shadow Minister for Trade during the negotiations and completion of the USFTA between Australia and the USA. In 2004 Senator Conroy was appointed as Shadow Minister for Communications when he conceived and developed the ALP's Communications and Digital Economy policy which included the world recognised National Broadband Network.
Senator Conroy was sworn in as Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and as Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate in December 2007 when the ALP won government. Senator Conroy was also appointed Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Productivity in September 2010.
Senator Conroy had a broad range of portfolio responsibilities, including the National Broadband Network, the largest nation-building infrastructure project in Australian history, and the enabling foundation for Australia's digital economy. Other responsibilities included Australia’s digital television switchover; Australia's national broadcasters, the ABC and SBS; media policy; community broadcasting; e-security and cyber-safety; radio frequency spectrum; and Australia Post. As part of the Digital Productivity portfolio, Senator Conroy was responsible for cross-government programs that were pioneering the use of high-speed broadband to improve service delivery in areas including health, education and aged-care.
In 2012 the Intelligent Communities Forum in New York awarded Senator Conroy "Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year". In recognition of his leadership and contribution to promoting broadband as the next essential utility, Senator Conroy was appointed a Founding Commissioner of the International Telecommunications Union Broadband Commission. In February 2013 Senator Conroy was elected Leader of the Government in the Senate. In June he resigned from that position and from the Ministry following the election of a new Prime Minister by the ALP.
Senator Conroy and his wife, Paula Benson, live in Melbourne with their daughter. A sports fan, he was a national volleyball representative as a teenager and has been the President of Volleyball Victoria since 2004. Senator Conroy supports Collingwood in the Australian Football League and Melbourne Heart in the Australian A-League soccer. He is a Snowboarder who has been lucky enough to visit Aspen on a number of occasions.
Former Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy