Minister for Broadband Senator Stephen Conroy today launched the CSIRO's Robot Project at the National Museum of Australia. Photo: Colleen Petch
Is the past catching up with Stephen Conroy, or is it the future that's finally here?
There was an eerie, sci-fi feel at the National Museum on Thursday, as the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy launched the CSIRO's Robot project.
The robot camera on wheels can roam around the museum with a guide and be operated remotely by visitors from anywhere in the country.
Stephen Conroy with the robot camera on wheels. Photo: Colleen Petch
And, thanks to an award-wining design, the robot looks exactly like, well, a robot – a motorised figure that can swivel, stop and respond to directions from a central control.
And the senator looked strangely at home being photographed beside the robot, which, he said, was an example of the endless technological possibilities brought about by the National Broadband Network.
It turns out robots and science-fiction are par for the course for the minister, and not just because he was once described as a "factional Dalek" by a Labor colleague, a description that has haunted him in the years since.
But even as he strenuously denied there was a spill imminent within the Labor Party, and maintained that the timeframe on the Government's media bills was reasonable, Mr Conroy was all smiles, as he took the opportunity to launch a national naming competition for the robots.
He even threw his hat into the ring with his own suggestion.
"I'm a Doctor Who fan, so Davros has got to get a guernsey in there somewhere," he said.
As any other Doctor Who fan will know, Davros is the leader of the Daleks, although the minister seemed to be making a reference more to the futuristic nature of the museum robots.
"What you see before you here is extraordinary," Mr Conroy said.
"It is world beating, world leading. We call it 'cutting-edge' or 'leading-edge', but it's way beyond that."
Still, one cheeky reporter wondered whether a more appropriate name for the robot would be "Kevin".