Turnbull embarks on Asian broadband tour


Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has embarked on an impromptu tour of broadband facilities and networks throughout the greater Asian region, in what appears to be an effort to keep on the cutting edge of technology as part of the debate about Australia’s own National Broadband Network.

The Liberal MP tweeted on Friday that he had spent “a very informative day discussing broadband and telecoms generally” with giant Chinese networking vendor at its massive manufacturing plant in Shenzhen.

At the facility, Turnbull was met by Huawei’s senior corporate vice president and president, Government and Public Affairs, Madam Lifang Chen, who has previously met Victorian IT minister Gordon Rich-Phillips on the occasion of a partnership with RMIT University, as well as Huawei Australia’s chief technical officer Peter Rossi.

Huawei, which recently won a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars to replace the wireless component of VHA’s mobile network, and is rapidly expanding its Australian presence, is understood to have issued a blanket invitation to Turnbull to visit it in China for a tour.

However, Turnbull’s visit to Shenzhen appears to have been more in the nature of a stop-off while in China in general, rather than a dedicated trip with the networking giant. He has been attended on his Asian trip by at least wife Lucy and son Alex, according to his Twitter postings.

The MP’s press secretary said Turnbull was visiting a number of different countries on the trip — ranging from Hong Kong to Southern China, as well as South Korea and Singapore. South Korea is pursuing its own NBN plans, and Turnbull will meet with officials in the country after communicating his visit to the country’s embassy in Australia.

Back in Australia, Turnbull has made headlines over the past week for several reasons — namely, his failed attempts to push through changes in legislation associated with the NBN, as well as continued lengthy criticism of the scheme in general.

However, the MP has also been vocal on the matter of Australia’s pending carbon tax, repeating his support for a price on carbon on the ABC’s Q&A program, despite the issue being the sticking point that lost him the Liberal leadership to Tony Abbott.

It appears the issue may be on Turnbull’s mind overseas. “Whatever you think of nuclear power, a shift from burning coal to nukes in South China would work wonders for Hong Kong air,” Turnbull wrote on Twitter yesterday. “And Shanghai’s and Beijing’s.”

Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull


  1. I thought i was reading an old news article when i looked at the photo at the top of the article. The photo shows Turnbull sitting in the opposition leaders chair and what appears to be the back of Kevin Rudd’s head, no doubt when he was PM. Perhaps if photo’s are going to be used in news articles, current photos of our illustrious politicians would be helpful.

  2. Hopefully on his junket Mr Turnbull will discover the following first-hand:

    FUD – South Korea is spending $1 billion to deliver gigabit fibre (cf Economist Intelligence Unit).
    TRUTH – South Korea spent $70 billion years ago delivering 100 Mbps fibre and is now seeding commercial upgrades to gigabit speeds with $1 billion of public funds.

    Now, South Korea has 48 million people, so its $70 billion public spend was $1458 per head.
    We have 22.5 million, and $27 million is only $1200 per head, even though our real wages are double theirs.

    For 18% per head less than South Korea paid, we get two redundant satellites and universal fibre. Not bad.

    And because today’s standard switches already deliver gigabit speeds, they are available to anyone on NBN fibre, if they choose to pay for the extra bandwidth. And practically every building in the nation will offer free or cheap Wi-Fi for our mobile devices to roam to for free VoIP-to-VoIP calls.

  3. My prophesy…

    Malcolm is going OS, to find proof that an NBN is beneficial, so that when he challenges and again becomes Liberal/opposition leader, he will embrace an NBN (obviously not exactly as Labor’s, but closer to the current Labor plan than the current opposition plan) and as such, look like a winner to both the IT savvy and Mr and Mrs Average!

    Add that to a Republic and I can see the current crop of Lib puppets/NBN naysayers wincing in their own complete embarrassment…LOL!

  4. Malcolm has never said that a NBN would not be a good idea. What he has said is that perhaps a more economical way could be found to deliver it to the Australian people. And yes Malcolm Turnbull should lead his Party to the next election.

  5. Which way Syd? A cheaper (and nastier) way!

    Interesting URL here. Late line interview from Tony Jones, last September with both Conroy and Turnbull.

    I know it’s a bit dated, but funny how Malcolm’s complete argument was cost and nothing else. When they started to get into the nitty-gritty, what was Mal’s responses…

    MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, Tony, the – let’s get back to the – the real issue here is using taxpayers’ money. I mean, we’re talking about …

    STEPHEN CONROY: Let’s avoid all those technical questions, Tony. Let’s just avoid them completely. Forget the policy

    And later…

    MALCOLM TURNBULL: … in the United States. But just let me make this point: if Stephen Conroy was serious about protecting the interests of taxpayers and if he genuinely believed this was the best option for Australia, why didn’t he hire McKinsey to do a cost/benefit analysis, or somebody else?

    TONY JONES: OK – Malcolm Turnbull – well, no, I’m actually running this discussion, so, if you don’t mind.

    MALCOLM TURNBULL: Alright, well you’re not interested in the taxpayers either, is that right?

    TONY JONES: Well, you’ll have to wait.

    MALCOLM TURNBULL: No, but seriously, that’s the big issue.

    Seriously, what a childish response to Tony – “all right, well you’re not interested in the taxpayers either”!

    Reading this interview, either Mal couldn’t argue because his heart wasn’t true to NBN hating or, for all the comments about Conroy’s so called lack of all round intelligence (yes he did say 12 Meg rather than 12Mbps) but in general, he actually made Mal look very second rate and ineffectual, imo, throughout this entire interview…

    • Of course the argument is about cost, Labor made it so when they put it outside the budget by guaranteeing private funding and the investment paying for itself in the future. This allows the Libs to attack the economics of the project which don’t seem to really stack up. Far easier to do that then attack the assertion that everyone doesn’t need fast reliable broadband.

      Labor gets themselves in a terrible tangle trying to implement their policies, which is a shame when some of their vision is actually quite good.

      All Libs have to do is show that Labor cant manage the project and it will be another ‘failed’ Labor policy.

      • Jackey J… no, no, no… It isn’t JUST about cost… cost is but one factor.

        1. It’s about providing “all Australians” access to modern technologies, which are required today, but also

        2. It’s about readying the nation (as we did previously with bitumen roads, sewerage, electricity etc) for future needs, not just to cover us now

        3. It’s about replacing the copper, which will not be able to handle future needs and it is wearing out

        4. Its about changing the Australian Comms landscape, by ridding us of Telstra’s monopolistic dominance

        Shall I keep going…

        5. Ooh of course and it’s also about cost…

        Of course 1 – 4 are obviously, of no consequence or relevance to you… ?

        • I think you have misunderstood what I am saying.

          The NBN is about those things you are saying, but the argument has boiled down to cost due to Labors inability to plan and sell the project correctly (IMO).

          If you took the ‘cost’ out of the equation the rest would seem like a great vision for Australia. Surely it should be easy to sell something as grand as the NBN?

          FWIW I think ‘a’ NBN is much needed in Australia. I personally will take the connection but will not be using it as it doesnt not suit my needs at the moment.

          • No this is what you said – “of course the argument is about cost”!

            No good saying, oh but now…!

          • You are right that is what I have said, twice now, not trying to back out of anything. Either I am not explaining my thoughts clearly enough or you haven’t quite grasped what I am saying.

            The NBN is about vision, future building, replacing copper and better telecommunications for Australia.

            The argument, as being played out in the media, is about the cost. Everything the Libs through up as FUD is to get across the message that the NBN is an expensive white elephant that will never turn a profit. Topics like no CBA, re-establishing an monopoly wholesale provider and wireless all feed into the message that the NBN is overpriced infrastructure. They dont argue that people shouldn’t have access to fast broadband, they argue they can do it cheaper.

            All my opinion ofc.

          • Ah yes, of course, it’s obviously my fault [sic] YOU said it IS about cost…

            I suppose it’s my fault too, that you made accusations about my vote and then pedantically tried to twist your words to (unsuccessfully) say you didn’t…LOL!

            But anyway, water under the bridge and I think we have exhausted this (I have real FUDsters to play with)!

            Glad you finally have awoken to smell the NBN roses!

    • Thus the quotation marks around ‘failed’

      The problem is that the NBN has to show profit otherwise it would have failed one of it’s goals. People involved in Technology mightnt care but many people will be swayed by more chants of Labor waste and mismanagement.

      My belief is that Labor should have just trimmed the budget in other areas to accomodate the NBN inclusion of $3-4 Billion a year. Then this sideshow of Opposition focusing on profitability would lose a lot of its power.

  6. Cant wait till the NBN hits a capital city and watch the 80-90% take u to prove the nay sayers.

  7. RS with due respect and acknowledging your excellent and factual presentation of the Q&A program, we must all agree, including your good self RS, that things are changing very fast and that it is necessary for peoples attitude to change also. With the quickly changing political scene in Australia it now seems that the Labour Party will be in a desperate situation come the next election and this reflects an entirely different future prospect for the NBN.

  8. Yes Syd, the government are doing a good job at shooting themselves in the foot and coming across as inept. While the oppositions endless negativity seems to hit home to many.

    Ain’t politics grand!

    According to the latest polls Labor are in for a walloping unless things turn-a-round and then we are in a comms vacuum until the current opposition realise oh ***t, here we are bagging away, but we really have nothing of substance as an actual alternative…

    However, if the Australian people vote Abbott and Co in and they stop the NBN so be it, the people have spoken…

    However I believe that decision strictly on ideological/monetary snobbery, would be a terrible mistake for me, you and the nation!

    • “However I believe that decision strictly on ideological/monetary snobbery, would be a terrible mistake for me, you and the nation!”

      Who would you be referring to in this instance? How would it be a terrible mistake?

      It seems to me that no matter the reason you vote for someone you will still get Libs or Labor with a smattering of Independents. Does it really matter the reason you vote if those are the choices? Is Ideology a worse reason to vote for Labor than the NBN or Health Care; the end result is (hopefully) a Labor Government.

      Normally when someone makes comments like that they have already chosen where their votes are going for a ‘valid’ reason. Whereas those that vote for the other side are somehow less discerning with their vote.

  9. If we vote and the Coalition win, so be it. But them saying that they will not complete the NBN would imo, be a mistake!

    Having read 1-4 above, is that really so hard for you to fathom?

    • Easy for me to understand, not sure where the “terrible mistake for me, you and the nation fits” into this. If you believe Labor then this might be the case. If you believe the Libs then they are saving us taxpayers from a huge future financial burden.

      If the Libs win, sure we wont get the current NBNCo version but I still hold out hope that Turnbull will be able to put in a decent plan for broadband for the next election. Besides there are a myriad of other things that both sides have policy on that might be worth voting for, besides the NBN.

      It seems to me that you have decided that this issue is worth your vote at election time, that seems almost Ideological to me.

  10. @ Jackey J.

    I do not believe, nor do I need to believe, nor will I ever believe, either side of politics…. so don’t jump to baseless conclusions and make unfounded accusations, we aren’t “all” political puppets!

    I believe my perceptions, and my perceptions tell me the NBN is an “affordable” must for our nation, hence my “outspoken opinion saying so” (which even has the minion naysayers trying to discredit me personally…LOL)!
    So, whether you agree, disagree or are indifferent to my opinion, that is MY opinion (i.e. that it would be a mistake to stop the NBN build) and I do not need politicians or you, to attempt to dictate my opinions for me… In fact I will listen and take onboard others opinions if logical and without FUD, but sadly, the naysayers, including the opposition are unable to do, so and rely wholly upon “white elephant and look at the insulation debacle” as their entire ridiculous argument”!

    And believe it or not – my opinion is from someone with NO political ties, who is NOT even remotely involved in IT or comms (just a fervent NBN believer, as most here will know), forwarded “as I am entitled”! So again like it or not, get used to it…!

    Acknowledged, my position could ergo, possibly be described as ideological, I suppose! But from a technically analysed perspective not blind political subserviency … That being, not from a view point, I love the NBN because I love Labor, or I hate the NBN because I love Libs… which seems to be rife, particularly with the latter.

    So how do you vote Jackey, as you always have or by analysing policy? Well my vote is earned and at the moment Abbott has not earned my vote. Labor haven’t set the world ablaze lately, either, but they are being positive, not negative, have given to the people (although not always as intended), they have a social conscience, they will look after the average Aussies employees (which may be my kids one day) and they are building the NBN…!!!!

    As such, I consider myself to be part of about 10-15% of Aussies who actually decide who governs our country. When you consider the puppets who always vote Labor/Coalition, it leaves us swinging voters, to decide! Of course that is also dependent upon your electorate, being marginal or not too (mine being blue ribbon Liberal) so although I say that, due to our political system, a vote for Labor/the NBN from me will make little difference really! Anyway…

    But if you refer above you will see my comment from a few days ago (copy/paste here) – “Malcolm is going OS, to find proof that an NBN is beneficial, so that when he challenges and again becomes Liberal/opposition leader, he will embrace an NBN (obviously not exactly as Labor’s, but closer to the current Labor plan than the current opposition plan) and as such, look like a winner to both the IT savvy and Mr and Mrs Average”! {END}…

    So like you, I am hoping he can find something too… although knowing fibre to be “currently” untouchable technology, I doubt it. Yes wireless, LTE or whatever else “MAY” appear and has been promised as a viable alternative for as long as I can remember (whilst my mobile reception keeps cutting out). So do we hold off, cross our fingers and wait? No… at some stage someone has to have the balls to do it and do it properly and Conroy, although pigeon holed as incompetent by some, is the one who has stepped-up, where others have previously failed…!

    My main concern with Labor from a tech view and which I do not agree with, is Labor’s net filter and I laud the Libs for opposing it. But looking globally, particularly UK & NZ, where they now have conservative governments, they too are implementing filters, so put 2 + 2 together!

    So Jackey J…

    Perhaps instead of worrying about what “I have decided in relation to the NBN” and getting all huffy because I suggest the NBN being stopped a mistake (IMO), you ought to do some thinking for yourself instead of having politicians do it for you?


    • I wonder if you are reading the same posts I am writing.

      No where have I concluded you would vote Lib or Labor, just that the NBN was a issue worth considering voting on. Its obvious the NBN is important to you as you use rhetoric such as terrible mistake and ideological/monetary snobbery. At the end of the day it is only broad band and it will live or die according to the Government of the day, not for reasons of merit which makes me a bit sad.

      FWIW I think the NBN will be good for Australia but I still need to be sold on it, thats why I roam these websites seeking information. Will I vote according to NBN schemes, not likely unless all other things are equal. I will vote for what I consider best for my family.

  11. Sigh… I wonder if you are reading the same posts you your self, are writing?

    1. No where have I concluded you would vote Lib or Labor…

    2. (from previously) It seems to me that you have decided that this issue is worth your vote at election time, that seems almost Ideological to me.

    • So what did I conclude then, Lib or Labor?

      Or did I suggest that the NBN issue will determine your vote, which is not quite the same thing. If you cant tell the difference then I cant really help that. Under the current circumstances there probably is no real difference, which may explain why you the overly defensive nature of your posts. If Libs come up with a viable alternative then things may change.

  12. Oh Jackey J please, speaking of defensive and embarrassingly so (for you)…LOL

    Firstly you said “it (the NBN) IS about cost” and when I said no, it isn’t JUST about cost, you backed down.

    Now, if you don’t understand what it is you are writing in relation to making accusations about others (re: my current voting preference) and/or which party is or isn’t going to build/halt the NBN, then seriously, why are you even commenting?

    Please post another desperate, sillily pedantic comment …………………….here, now!

    Thank you

  13. Ok you win;

    I believe you are one of the 50% of voting public who believes they are a swinging voter but in reality has always voted for the same party, in your case probably Labor. Due to the possible introduction of the filter you may have to consider voting Green despite a deep seated antipathy towards them. You dont really care for minor details as long as the big picture looks good.

    I could be wrong though.

  14. Wrong… you? No, you could never be wrong [sic]…!

    Let’s see, you said the NBN is/isn’t about cost and you did/didn’t make accusations about my voting, twice now…sigh!

    So while ever you have two completely contradictory views, one must be right, eh?

    Keep up the great work [sic]!

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