Turnbull defends Murdoch on Labor's NBN

Turnbull defends Murdoch on Labor's NBN

Summary: News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch isn't sitting in his 'bat cave' plotting against Labor's NBN, opposition front bencher Malcolm Turnbull has said.

SHARE:

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull believes Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is grasping at straws in trying to imply Rupert Murdoch's local media interests and stating that the Coalition is aligned against the AU$37.4 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) project.

"He looks like Tintin, but he's not much of a detective," the Coalition communications spokesman told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

Turnbull said the universal judgment of the business community — including Murdoch — is that Labor's NBN is too expensive and is taking too long to roll out.

"So Rupert Murdoch's views on the NBN are very mundane," he said.

"He's an original thinker and a great entrepreneur and businessman, but when it comes to the NBN, he's not saying anything that just about every other businessperson in Australia is not saying."

Turnbull was asked whether he has discussed the Coalition's NBN policy with Murdoch.

"I haven't discussed it with him in those terms, in terms of our specific policy," he said. "But I can tell you that Murdoch's views are nothing special."

While he hasn't spoken to Murdoch for a few years, Turnbull said he has known him very well for close to 40 years.

Labor claims that Murdoch's media interests are hostile toward its NBN, because it could pose a commercial threat to News Corp's half-owned pay TV business, Foxtel.

The argument is that consumers could opt to use fast NBN speeds to download their own visual entertainment, rather than paying for a Foxtel subscription.

Kevin Rudd said Murdoch has a "democratic right" to rail against Labor's policies through his publications, but wondered what was behind it.

He's also said that there is a "strange coincidence of interests" between News Corp and the Coalition, after The Daily Telegraph newspaper printed an editorial under the headline "Kick this mob out" on day one of the election campaign.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott also said that he has never discussed Labor's NBN project with Murdoch, either.

Topics: NBN, Government AU, Australia

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

3 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Fairfax's AFR had a front page editorial the same day

    supporting the coalition. Strange this isn't getting any coverage.

    A couple of days earlier SMH lead with the ICAC findings of corruption against NSW Labor heavyweights.

    The last 6 years have been so disfunctional I doubt any paper could support the Labor ticket again.
    Richard Flude
  • More of the same

    "Labor’s centrepiece infrastructure project, the national broadband network, will miss its June 2014 rollout ­target by more than a quarter of a ­million homes, as construction delays and problems with subcontractors ­continue.

    Leaked internal forecasts seen by The Australian Financial Review indicate NBN Co now expects to have 855,935 existing homes and businesses ready to connect to the fibre network by June 2014. This is 273,065 fewer than the company forecast it would reach in the latest corporate plan, released in August last year.

    ...

    This figure is also likely to include a large proportion of apartment buildings and shopping arcades that cannot immediately order an internet service even though they are counted as “passed” by NBN Co."
    http://m.afr.com/p/technology/nbn_to_miss_target_for_rollout_XInJGPQsAGEsJxgEcAKrbP

    But of course;-)
    Richard Flude
  • Good points

    "In particular, Turnbull could have told the story of the ‘Three NBN’s’ that have been deployed in recent years, those being Australia, Singapore and Malaysia – all of which were launched around the same time.

    The Malaysian High-Speed Broadband (HSBB) network was completed on time and budget to 1.3 million homes – and now has 550,000 subscribers - and Singapore’s Next Generation National Broadband Network (NGNBN) has been mostly completed to 1.1 million homes and has around 350,000 subscribers.

    By contrast, the Australian NBN’s FTTP component has passed little more than 200,000 homes – a substantial portion of which cannot actually connect to the service – and has around 35,000 subscribers."
    http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/8/7/technology/would-turnbull-albanese-nbn-debate-really-be-worth-it

    Go on Albo, it might be the funniest debate ever. Don't worry about not knowing anything, never a requirement for Labor Ministers.
    Richard Flude