International telecommunications analyst, Paul Budde, was awarded the prestigious Charles Todd Medal at the eighth annual Charles Todd Oration.

The medal, presented to Budde in Sydney by Todd’s great-grandson Barry Todd, is the highest award in the telecommunications industry.

The event was hosted by Telsoc and ACS, and Budde said he was very proud to be linked to Charles Todd as the recipient of this year's award.

“I’m proud to be part of the telecommunications industry. It’s great to get this recognition and this prestigious medal. I’m very, very proud of being linked to Charles in this particular way,” he said.

The UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development co-initiator’s acceptance came with an impassioned speech about using inspiration to catapult Australia further into the tech innovation industry – an area where internationally, both Budde and the event’s orator Bevan Slattery agree the country fail.

“I’ve been to hundreds of international events – where are the Australian leaders? The Ericssons are there, the Googles are there, but hardly ever do you see Australian companies and Australian businessman there.

We’ve got a few people like Bevan, fortunately, but that’s what’s missing in this country.

We should really have [inspiration], and not have this tall poppy syndrome that if somebody comes up with an expensive project like the FTTx, to not deliver it because it’s expensive,” he said.

Paul Budde with his medal

Agreeing with Slattery, Budde said Australia needs bipartisanship to further our role in tech innovation nationally and internationally.

“Forget about the top level, start at the bottom,” said Budde.

Slattery spoke about Australia falling behind other countries in the Asia Pacific due to the nation’s lack of a clear plan.

“We’ve got massive pools of capital available. We’re great consumers of innovation and technology.

“One of the things not quite so great about Australia [is that] we’re not a great creator of innovation. We lack clear leadership and direction on innovation, by a government that lacks clear bipartisanship,” said Slattery.

The tech entrepreneur strongly suggested Australia embrace innovative leaders, find solutions and develop a plan to get ahead in the game.

“We need to act fast,” he said.

Also present at the event was Telsoc Treasurer Tim Herring, and NSW Chief Data Scientist and Vice President of the ACS Technical Advisory Board, Dr Ian Opperman, who thanked Slattery for his oration and agreed with both guests, saying Australia needed to be inspirational, courageous and recognise that we have a problem.

“[We need to not] rely on the government to do everything for us, but take our own initiative.

“If you have reliable and affordable telecoms, and it works and delivers what you need, then the conversation does become data driven, and it also means you can create value and you can create services and consume them anywhere,” he said.