Apparently the NBN is no longer a Liberal election priority

Apparently the NBN is no longer a Liberal election priority

Summary: The latest election brochure from Coalition bigwig Andrew Robb suggests the NBN is no longer even important enough to mention when it comes to party priorities. Somebody should tell Tony Abbott – and stop letting Malcolm Turnbull waste so much time spruiking his NBN policy.

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For all the ferocity with which Tony Abbott’s Liberals have attacked Labor’s NBN, you would think they perceive it to be an incredibly important issue. Turns out the Liberals perceive it as so unimportant that it doesn’t even rate in the party’s list of six key priorities.

After perusing official Liberal Party campaign material – which was this week dropped in the letterbox of everyone living in Andrew Robb’s federal electorate of Goldstein – this is the only conclusion I can reach.

“The six key priorities of the next Liberal Government”, the headline on the four-page brochure says above a picture of those who would be our overlords come September 8. There’s Malcolm Turnbull, right at the end off the table next to Robb – who is, remember, shadow finance minister and chairman of the Coalition Policy Development Committee – and Joe Hockey, Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop and Warren Truss.

Coalition-Election-Priorities
You'd think a Liberal Party that was seriously committed to improving broadband would remember to mention it in campaign literature.

 

While shadow communications minister Turnbull has a seat at the table, his would-be ministry wasn’t so lucky: there is not a single mention of the NBN or broadband, not even in the usual pejorative Labor-stinks-and-we’ll-do-the-NBN-better sense, anywhere throughout the four pages of Liberal Party propaganda.

The NBN didn't even get its rightful place alongside pink batts and school halls as an example of Labor's "uncontrolled spending and failed schemes".

Nope: if this brochure is correct, the NBN simply doesn’t rate as a Coalition election priority at all. Which seems to be a pretty big omission given that Tony Abbott has committed the rather significant sum of $29.4 billion to the project, and has already promised – at the launch of his party's campaign, no less – that one of his first priorities if elected will be to get stuck into the NBN and issue a revised business plan within 100 days.

Malcolm Turnbull argued the same thing, saying in his recent debate with Alan Kohler that the NBN review was the Coalition's "single most important piece of work in the first 100 days" and that it would try to complete its NBN review within 60 days of the election.

If this brochure is correct, the NBN simply doesn’t rate as a Coalition election priority at all. Which seems to be a pretty big omission given that Tony Abbott has already said one of his first priorities if elected will be to get stuck into the NBN and issue a revised business plan within 100 days.

From the makeup of its policy brochure, the rest of Abbott's leadership team clearly thinks otherwise. They may be simply letting Turnbull believe what he wants to believe, keeping him busy with the NBN while they get on with other priorities.

Of course, this isn’t exactly the most accurate brochure for other reasons: for example, point six is the promised creation of two million jobs. This sounds great as rah-rah policy – but if you consider that Australian Bureau of Statistics figures indicate there are only 701,600 unemployed people in Australia – it appears a key Liberal Party policy is to create 1.3m additional jobs for Australians that don’t actually exist. Perhaps this is how the Coalition plans to finish the NBN on time.

Accurate maths has never been the Coalition’s strong point, with Turnbull happy to inflate the projected cost of Labor’s NBN at every opportunity (his latest estimate is that it will cost “well over $100 billion”) and Abbott somehow doing maths that suggest it will take 80 years to complete the Tasmanian NBN.

Come to think of it, Labor has had its own maths lapses, such as Anthony Albanese’s insistence that under a Coalition policy end users could pay as much as $50,000 for an on-demand fibre connection. Clearly, we didn’t pick these people based on their maths excellence.

Labor has not, of course, completely forgotten the NBN in its campaign advertising; rather, it’s feting the project, for all its bumps and rattles, as a real policy success with tangible impact on voters.

Given the coalition’s usual insistence on countering such claims, one wonders why the Coalition excised all references to the NBN from its print advertising – especially when the party’s broadband policy is more than accessible on its Web site.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures indicate there are only 701,600 unemployed people in Australia – so it appears a key Liberal Party policy is to create 1.3m additional jobs for Australians that don’t actually exist. Perhaps this is how the Coalition plans to finish the NBN on time.

Perhaps the Coalition doesn’t want to raise any unwelcome questions with voters in Robb’s safe seat, upon whom it is relying on a quick and easy re-election: investigations by voters would quickly reveal that much of his electorate isn’t scheduled to receive NBN services for at least the next three years.

One would think this would make the Liberals even more eager to promote their plan as delivering faster broadband outcomes. But as we all know, in Australian politics – especially when it comes to the NBN – logic doesn’t always rule supreme.

Perhaps the people preparing the brochure forgot to cc: the proofs to Turnbull, or simply forgot to consult the party’s own list of key priorities – which is doubly surprising since this brochure came from the chairman of the party’s policy development team.

Perhaps Robb really just hasn’t been paying attention to the ongoing furore around the NBN. Or, perhaps, it’s a suggestion to the Australian voting public that the NBN simply doesn’t matter anymore. “We don’t actually care about the NBN,” this brochure says, “so neither should you.”

If that’s the case, and this brochure actually reflects Coalition priorities, Turnbull is going to be spending a lot of time alphabetising his videotape collection if the Coalition is elected.

What do you think? A simple printing oversight? Or a sign that the Coalition has changed its priorities?

 

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Government AU, Australia

About

Australia’s first-world economy relies on first-rate IT and telecommunications innovation. David Braue, an award-winning IT journalist and former Macworld editor, covers its challenges, successes and lessons learned as it uses ICT to assert its leadership in the developing Asia-Pacific region – and strengthen its reputation on the world stage.

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11 comments
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  • LOL, coalition clowns haven't even been voted in yet and we see the hapless Turnbull apologists and ill-informed already making preemptive excuses for them. Anyone surprised? I'm not. Their poorly thought out substandard broadband plan based on obsolete copper a clear indicator of what to expect should they get in.
    Hubert Cumberdale
    • A new day does not disappoint, even more incoherence from the lone apologist below.

      Seems it has just dawned on copper fanboys that if the coalition clowns win next week they'll have to defend Turnbullls monstrosity for at least 3 years. Ouch.
      Hubert Cumberdale
  • http://www.sortius-is-a-geek.com/mythconceptional-mal/

    "There’s been many myths propagated by Malcolm Turnbull of late as he desperately tries to convince voters that his plan to wreak havoc on the National Broadband Network is a better alternative.

    The central premise we’ve seen is “cheaper, sooner” (the faster was dropped as this didn’t seem to gel with voters), which has no evidence to back it up. If anything, there’s evidence to the contrary, even in the Liberal party’s own background document to their policy."



    http://stevej-on-nbn.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/nbn-turnbull-its-time-to-put-up-or-shut.html

    "If "NBN Lite" is really a "Core Promise" and they intend to complete it fully, make it commercially viable and return a profit, then Turnbull and the Coalition should have no trouble or hesitation in making their modelling fully public. There can be NO "commercial-in-confidence" data there."



    Seems David is not the only one on top of it and calling out them out, of course if you are coalition clown member promising everything before an election and to waste $30+ billion of taxpayers money in the process on an obsolete network this is perfectly acceptable. We should actually hope they don't consider it a priority. At least that way we'll get the proper network built eventually minus the disgusting waste.
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • Squealing like a stuffed pigs again. Nothing new. The obsolete copper fanboys already in disarray, most know they wont be able to endorse Tunbulls plan once the dust settles, everyone educated on this topic questions the viability of their patchwork plan, even the first 100 days:

    "The key thing to understand here is that the first three months of Turnbull’s time in office are going to be excruciating."

    http://delimiter.com.au/2013/08/30/turnbull-need-first-100-days-minister/

    Nailed it.
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • "If that’s the case, and this brochure actually reflects Coalition priorities, Turnbull is going to be spending a lot of time alphabetising his videotape collection if the Coalition is elected."

    Videotapes wouldn't surprise me at all David. Coalition clowns have a penchant for outdated analog technologies. BluRay and DVD? WTF??? The picture quality is witchcraft and I quite like rewinding tapes!
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • LOL, he's still going. I'll check back tomorrow for more laughs.
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • Skateboardman

    On your skateboard, find a real steep hill!
    Kevin Cobley
  • NBN no longer a priority?

    Of course it isn't a priority. The truth is that there will not be any form of network build funded by a LNP government. It is becoming plainly obvious as the election approaches that they never had any real intent to build a network - FTTN or FTTP or anything in between. The whole shamozzle was to deceive voters that there was a plan to do something "cheaper and faster". If you look carefully at all the documents, they are carefully worded to ensure that a LNP government can discard any concept of a national network build after some sort of 'financial analysis' shows it just isn't feasible. I think Steve J has summed it up perfectly in his recent piece:

    http://stevej-on-nbn.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/nbn-lite-wont-happen-but-has-served-its.html

    He essentially encapsulates what many of us have been saying for months. There will never have been a greater act of political bastardy in the history of Australian politics.
    Mikeinnc-d63ee
  • Richard the King of BS

    Hey "Richard" you are the biggest walking talking source of BS that I've ever seen.

    "bandwidth to 100mbps at 800m is popular in the market"
    Even right beside a node with perfect copper and house wiring, the real world max VDSL is 75Mbps.
    25Mbps at 800m if your lucky.

    A lot of Australian homes have poor telephone wiring with bad star and branched topology. VDSL will require a central splitter in the home to get proper speed, who is going to pay the $400-500 installation cost.

    "technology continues to improve (vectored VDSL2)"
    Vectoring is extremely expensive. In the USA, it cost AT&T huge amount to upgrade already existing FTTN customers. All this technology is just to offset the severe limitation of the copper telephone lines that are not designed to carry high frequency signals.
    The reliability of FTTN is very poor compared to fibre to home and also VDSL and VDSL2 are very susceptible to electrical interference.

    "it doesn't require new power stations to be built"
    50,000 nodes will require in the order of 100 megawatts of extra power, that is a very significant amount.

    After the election, I'm going to take a front row seat to watch Malcolm Turnbull's broadband disaster unfold. If MT proceeds with current policy, MT will not be know as Mr Broadband, History will judge him as Mr Dudband.
    Carl Hansen
    • Right

      Could have been better stated; speeds to 100mbos popular in the market, delete era ls at 800m.

      Little demand seen above 100mbps in the market. Vectored VDSL2 in Europe curtly trailed by a number of Telcos and showing the real world performance. It isn't that more expensive and much cheaper than FTTH.

      Copper is susceptible to electrical interference. The cost and time benefits still
      Attractive.

      The claim yesterday was two additional power stations will required to be built. Rubbished. 100mW not that much (compared to grid capacity), doesn't account for exchange equipment that can be retire.

      MT will be judged by his delivery. As should the Labor plan.
      Richard Flude
  • Demolish It

    The NBN is not a coalition priority now because it never was.
    DEMOLISHING the NBN was is and will be their only priority.
    Goresh