Ludlam warns Turnbull: Don’t be a “NBN wrecker”


Greens Communications Spokesman Scott Ludlam today welcomed Malcolm Turnbull’s appointment as Shadow Communications Minister but warned the Liberal heavyweight against “wrecking” Labor’s National Broadband Network project.

Just hours after winning the post yesterday, Turnbull blasted the NBN straight out of the gates, saying it would waste tens of billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money.

The MP said everything he had seen with respect to Labor’s NBN project demonstrated that the financial investment in the effort could not be justified. He highlighted the NBN Implementation Study produced by consulting firms KPMG and McKinsey and the low levels of take-up of NBN services so far in Tasmania — just hundreds of households so far — as examples.

“Malcolm Turnbull obviously brings a wealth of knowledge to this field and I welcome the increased focus it will bring to the portfolio. But I am concerned that he has simply been placed there to ‘demolish’ the broadband rollout, which has widespread public and industry support,” said Ludlam in a statement, adding “political wrecking tactics” would not be welcomed.

The Greens Senator said his party understood the importance of transparency and of testing the Government’s economic assumptions. However, he said Coalition slogans to the effect that the NBN was a “giant white elephant” and a “colossal destruction of taxpayers’ money” were unhelpful and purely political.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott this morning said one of Malcolm’s roles as the new Shadow Communications Minister would be to expose problems with the NBN with the aim of wooing independent MPs back to the Coalition’s camp.

“Holding the government ferociously to account is one thing, using a crucial infrastructure project like this as a platform to bring down a minority government is another,” said Ludlam.

Ludlam has locked horns with Communications Minister Stephen Conroy in the Senate previously, forcing the Labor to release the NBN Implementation Study put together by consulting firms McKinsey and KPMG, and pledging to block Labor’s internet filtering legislation.

But today the Greens Senator noted his party conditionally supported the NBN.

“The Greens see the NBN as a fundamental nation-building project that will create untold opportunities for our future, and I look forward to working constructively with all parties and independents in this portfolio,” he said.

Image credit: David Howe, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported licence


  1. It is patently obvious here Abbott is the most desperate man in the country at the moment. He cares not one iota about the future of this country. Abbott wants to be PM and that is his sole focus in life at the moment and he truly seems to believe he can overthrow a minority government and get into power. Abbott is a slimy spiteful whiney little tard who cannot accept he has lost the election and will now focus all his energy on finding a way to be PM sooner rather than later. Abbott has never had an original thought in his life, everything he and his minions trump out is just a rehash of the old Howard policies. Immigration – Howard, Broadband – Howards old OPEL project, Workchoices – Howard, maintain Telstra monopoly – Howard. You could probably bet Howard is still sitting in the background telling him what to say.
    As for the NBN Abbott can barely turn on a computer, his former Communications Minister is more notable for his complete and utter lack of knowledge on the subject (proven by the Coalitions policy completely based on wireless internet and using wireless spectrum not even available for another 4 years and already facing fierce competition from other potential users), his new Communications Minister who seems to think fairly prodigious use of the internet qualifies him as an expert on all things IT. It is truly like watching another episode of keystone cops. Nobody in the Coalition appears to have any IT knowledge beyond a basic internet surfer nor any comprehension of the impact on the future of this great country.

  2. Just like Labor have no conception of economic restraint. There is no question that technology wise Labor’s plan is better. And? For the supposedly clever IT people out there this seems the ONLY point. Sorry guys but reality dictates we can’t always get what we want (I’d like the NBN too). Why no cost-benefit analyses? If it’s so painfully obvious about how bloody great this will be then surely it will financially stack up as well.

    I fail to see how you can call Abbot all those things and in particular saying he wants to be PM sooner rather than later. Of course he does. If he didn’t I’d be more concerned. Also ignoring all this, it’d be far easier for him to initially back down on this issue and copy Labor’s policy. The me-tooism that labor did so well in 07. Guess he just has conviction for what he thinks is right.

  3. Where’s the fully transparent cost benefit analysis for the NBN? Where’s the business case? Is it so hard for Labor to provide these things when spending $43bn of the taxpayers monies?

    • Of course it’s hard. Cost benefit analysis would just conclude that it’s way too expensive. Not that Coalition has a great plan but I just wish Labor didnt win government because of an old country bumpkin who doesnt even know how to use a computer. How would someone like that understand technology issues. If he had to buy a computer as a present for a younger relative school work he’d probably be convinced by a dell computer rep in a shopping centre that a $6000 beast is the perfect investment for his grandson’s homework :)

      If only those country independents would go back to ploughing the field or doing something useful rather than get involved with issues they dont understand. Just cause people in country areas have difficulty getting fast internet doesnt mean you have to go out and spend a truckload on getting the absolute best for every single man, woman and child.

  4. I’m sorry Comrade, but if you want the rational people to come back and argue with you, you’ll have to promise to stop pretending the cost is still $43bn when you know perfectly well that it isn’t.

  5. You have to respect Ludlam. Calmly getting on with the job, appealing to logic not emotion.

    Looking forward to the entertainment value of Conroy vs Turnball with the knowledge that Ludlam will temper both so we actually get somewhere …

Comments are closed.