NBN: Lawyer tells Australians to
“get off the internet and go outside”


blog You sometimes read some crazy things in the Daily Telegraph, but this column from one Mirko Bargaric, who appears to be a Deakin University professor, takes the cake. Writes this maniac:

“A recent Neilsen study found that Australian users are spending an average of more than two working days (17 hours) on the internet per week. Younger people spent far more time and broadband access also increases usage times.

The Government needs to abandon its $36 billion cable roll out to make the internet faster. If it has a fanatical desire to spend $36 billion on a project relating to the internet, it would be better off spending the money encouraging people to get off the internet and go outside and do things that connect with the absolute real world.”

Wow. Just wow. Way to ignore the whole last 30 years of technological progress and just go for the lowest common denominator. One has to wonder whether Bargaric has children or young relatives. Because you just know this is the sort of guy who would ban them from using Facebook or playing Xbox 360, while secretly (and guiltily) playing “Naughty Schoolgirls’ Revenge” on his iPhone with the door shut.

You can argue whether the NBN is worth the money, whether Mike Quigley can get the job done, or whether the project will succeed in successfully restructuring the telecommunications industry. But what you can’t do, in 2011, is argue that using the internet is actually evil and wrong. That’s just daft.

Image credit: Paul Caputo, royalty free


  1. A look back over Bargaric’s writing reveals he is a crackadoodle of the first order. In 2005, he wrote a piece (easily found) that supported torture. He’s also managed to comment rather less than profoundly and in pretty fringe terms on David Hicks, human rights reform and climate change amongst other topics.

  2. One might suggest that he take off the suit, get out of the office and get a job doing something useful then, like digging ditches, or repairing bits of Queensland.

    • but he is not saying anything about p0rn or facebook, renai is…

      perhaps read the article and use the professor’s writings for your criticisms, rather than latching onto renai’s…

      • Meh?

        Read between the lines – he glosses over the fact that the internet is used for far far more than just recreational purposes.

        In fact he doesn’t mention anywhere in the article AT ALL that there are any business uses – (good or bad) – for the internet at all.

        • read between the lines??

          always an easy justification to make when using blanket statements such as the one you used.

          he makes no assumption either way. that is not the premise of his article. he is saying that people should be getting outside more instead of using the internet (whether it be good or bad).

          he is also saying stop the NBN and use the money elsewhere. whilst i don’t agree with that in principle, it still has nothing to do with how people use the internet, only that he thinks that there should be a balance.

          nothing to read between the lines about, if you must insist on that.

          • It actually draws zero conclusion about anything really, except to infer that people – (particularly the young) – are lazy and should get off their arse more.

            He says they spend 17 hours a week on the internet. There are 168 hours in a week. Presuming the average eight hours of sleep every night, what does he think they spend the other 95 hours each week doing?


            Even if they worked full time, and took a couple hours of commuting each work day, there’s still 40 hours left in the week.

            While I agree “maniac” is perhaps an unfair word to use, the whole article is a pretty weakly constructed attack on the NBN.

            He’s allowed to do that, naturally – but doesn’t actually back it up with anything except a Neilsen study that says people on average spend 17 hours a week on the internet.

            What’s that got to do with anything?

          • i don’t necessarily think that it is an attack on the NBN as such, it may be more of a warning about what the NBN could bring: ie: 2 hours now, what happens later on if the NBN goes ahead…

            but now i am the one reading between the lines.. :)

  3. Personally, I think there are a lot of net geeks out there who could do with a good dose of the outdoors.

    • In my experience, that’s a fairly old fashioned stereotype that doesn’t really hold water anymore. I’m a software engineer, and a good 75-80% of my colleagues spend time in the gym, or outdoors every week.

      Of course, a software engineers job involves a lot of time in front of a computer (and on the internet), but the old stereotype of a geeky, socially inept, overweight guy living out of his parents basement is very much old fashioned.

      Maybe my experience is not universal, though…

  4. why have labelled this man a maniac, renai? sure, i think that cutting off the NBN is probably not the way to go, but his premise is a good one. i have young children and i completely understand some parent’s decisions to ban facebook (bullying, suicides, etc).

    you’re saying that he is calling the internet evil and wrong, when in the quote that is used in your article, he does no such thing.

    perhaps the internet is the be all and end all for some, but i hardly think that lambasting this professor for having the audacity to ask people to reconsider using the internet and try the benefits of being outdoors (exercising, social interaction with real people), is the way to go.

    your assumption that he is ignoring 30 years of technological progress is also flawed and baseless. he is simply putting forth his view that their needs to be a balance. nothing wrong with that.

    and as an internet user, i can say that in some cases, using the internet can have evil and wrong overtones, or else there would be no cyber-crime, etc. this is not daft at all.

    maybe this article is just an easy way to get free article view’s on a topic very dear to the heart of the site’s readers?

    • I called him a maniac because his argument is so simplistic. “People need to get outside more, so let’s scrap the NBN!” This is not the sort of informed debate we need to have about the future of the telecommunications industry; it’s ridiculous.

      • interesting that you neglect to mention what he proposes to do with the money…

        i think that is a big part of his argument.

        • I’m honestly surprised that you’re taking his argument that seriously. Delimiter has hosted countless, in-depth discussions about the minutiae of the NBN over the past year. This guy has skimmed the absolute shallowest top section of that discussion, which is why I’m ridiculing him. I’ll engage seriously with him when he engages seriously to start with.

          Is someone who tells people to “get off the internet and go outside” worthy of ridicule on a site like Delimiter, which prides itself on its intensely technical audience? Definitely. Any day.

          • i’m not saying i take his argument seriously.

            what i am saying is that by using terms such as ‘maniac’ and ‘he appears to be’, you are deliberately trying to goad people (in my opinion) into agreeing with your opinion (by commenting) that the NBN is a must have, when in a lot of people’s eyes, that money could be spent on many other things that are lacking: ie: hospitals, roads, etc.

            this is not how the debate should go and as you have said, plenty of articles have already been written about the NBN on this site (which i have ready with much interest).

            this seems like a cheap shot to gain readership and inflame the debate, nothing more.

  5. I think his first paragraph has some merit. Does anyone seriously believe it is better for kids to spend time in front of a computer than out playing in a park with other kids?
    But when he then uses this as a premise for ditching the NBN, it’s a bit of a stretch.

  6. and one more thing, renai.

    he doesn’t appear to appear to be a deakin professor, he is one. so perhaps an edit is required.

    or is this one more way to get some article views…

    • Whirlpool 2.0! Maybe Renai is thinking about floating LeMay and Galt and is trying to get the impression count up this month.

      • i just think that if i wrote something and said: ‘renai lemay, who appears to be a journalist’, he wouldn’t be to fussed on that..

        everyone can have their opinion, but respect where respect is due…

    • “Appears” is a safety clause, because I have no way of knowing whether there are two people with the author’s name in Australia. It could be a different guy.

      • [sarcasm]

        Come on Renai…get off the internet, go outside, get some fresh air and visit an Electoral Commission
        office. You can check if their is two.


      • so from now on, you will refer to yourself on this site as someone who appears to be a journalist?

        safety clause? give me a break.

      • a simple phone call or email to verify wouldn’t have been too hard.

        i would have thought that journalists would do this all the time. you didn’t mention in your article about harvey norman that ‘gerry harvey, who appears to own harvey norman stores’…

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