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  • News, Telecommunications - Written by on Sunday, October 21, 2012 19:15 - 209 Comments

    Abbott contradicts Turnbull on NBN costs

    news Opposition Leader Tony Abbott today said a Coalition Government would “pause” the Federal Government’s NBN project and save money in the Federal Budget by doing so, in comments which appear to place the Liberal leader somewhat at odds with the view of his Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the issue.

    In a doorstop interview in Sydney today, Abbott was asked how a Coalition Government would get the Budget back to surplus, given the Coalition’s plans to cut new taxes associated with carbon pollution and the mining sector.

    In response, Abbot said there was “a lot of unnecessary spending” under the current Labor Federal Government. “For instance, just to give you one example, we have seen already $5 billion worth of budget blowouts because Labor has lost control of our borders and now we see a Labor Party which wants to tax legal migrants to pay the expenses of illegal migrants. I mean, that’s the perversity of this government,” he said.

    “Now, if we can get our borders under control, if we can pause with unnecessary white elephants such as the National Broadband Network, I am confident that we can make the savings that will be needed to give the forgotten families of Australia the cost of living relief that they deserve.”

    However, Abbott’s comments appear to place the Opposition Leader in somewhat of a conflict with the Shadow Minister response for the portfolio, Malcolm Turnbull.

    Over the past several years, a number of senior Liberal figures, including Abbott, Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey, Finance Spokesperson Andrew Robb and Turnbull himself have repeatedly claimed that the tens of billions of dollars the Federal Government is investing in its NBN project should be classified as an expense under the Federal Budget. Several of these same figures have argued that because of this, the NBN’s funding could be more appropriate allocated to other types of public infrastructure such as roads, instead of spending it on an NBN project which the Coalition has largely seen as expensive and unnecessary. It is this argument which Abbott appears to be attempting to make with his statement today that pausing the NBN could save the Government money.

    However, the Coalition is believed to have been factually incorrect in its claims that the NBN funding should be included on the Federal Budget as an expense and could thus be cut to save money. Most of the funding for the NBN does not appear in the Budget, as, according to accounting standards, it is not an expense as generally understood, but is actually an investment expected to generate (according to its corporate plan) a modest return of 7.1 percent on the Government’s investment, over the period through to 2030.

    According to a research note published last year by the Parliamentary Library of Australia, Labor is technically correct on this matter, and the Coalition is wrong. “Australia has adopted internationally accepted accounting standards, and these are applied in the budget treatment of the NBN,” the library’s Brian Dalzell, who works in its economics division, wrote in the report.

    Consequently, Abbott’s comments today that the Federal Government could save money by pausing the NBN project appear to be incorrect. It appears that rather than saving money, such a move would only prolong the period it will take the NBN to deliver its planned return on the Government’s investment in it.

    Turnbull has over the past several years made a number of similar statements. However, in early September, facing substantial criticism on the issue from the Government and industry commentators, in a small note published at the end of a lengthy response to a critique of the Coalition’s rival NBN policy by Business Spectator, Turnbull appeared to acknowledge the correctness of the NBN budget treatment — a position which would be the reverse of the one Abbott appeared to take today.

    “Under the accounting rules the expenditure on the NBN does not count towards the budget outcome – so much deficit or surplus – but it is cash – real money – nonetheless and it does add to the debt burden of Australians,” Turnbull said at the time.

    Turnbull is correct in that cutting the NBN as a project would reduce the Government’s debt burden in the short- to medium-term. “As far as the balance sheet point is concerned, let us just cut through the fog of spin and nonsense here. A dollar saved on the NBN Co build is a dollar less for the Commonwealth to borrow and service with interest,” he said. However, in the long-term, such a move would actually increase that debt burden, as the NBN’s long-term returns (profits, for the Government) would not be able to be allocated to pay down Government debt.

    The only way that pausing or cancelling the NBN project could affect the Commonwealth’s financial position — under a Labor or Coalition administration — is to allow the Federal Government to re-allocate the debt funding it has and continues to invest in the NBN to other projects. In short, although the Government is already borrowing money to build the NBN, it is possible to make an argument that those borrowings could be re-allocated elsewhere. However, with the Australian Government continuing to enjoy a AAA credit rating from several major ratings agencies, it is unlikely that the Government will have any difficulty borrowing further money (for example, through issuing government bonds). This means that pausing or cancelling the NBN project would be likely to have little or no impact on the Government’s ability to source debt funding.

    There is one sense in which Abbott and Turnbull may agree on the issue. Over the past few months Turnbull has repeatedly stated that the Coalition could build the NBN cheaper by using fibre to the node instead of fibre to the home technology. It is not clear yet whether such a rollout would maintain the same return on investment as Labor’s existing NBN project, but if Abbott was referring to this approach, his statement today would not contradict Turnbull’s acknowledgement of the NBN’s budget treatment. However, it is not clear that Abbott was referring to this NBN approach, as he referred to the NBN project as a whole as “unnecessary”.

    Abbott’s comments come as the Opposition Leader continues to appear to take a dissimilar view of telecommunications policy than Turnbull. In general, Abbott’s views on the NBN over the past several years have focused around cancelling or dramatically winding back the project. In comparison, Turnbull’s comments on the matter have increasingly focused on changing the technology used in the project — moving to a fibre to the node rollout, instead of Labor’s more ambitious fibre to the home plan — while still using much of the current structure of the current NBN project.

    For example, in June news Turnbull gave what he described as a “solemn undertaking” to the Australian people that a Coalition Government would “complete the job of NBN Co”, instead of ripping up the network or abandoning Labor’s NBN policy altogether. This appears to have led to concerns by some Coalition backbenchers that Turnbull’s approach is too similar to that of Labor.

    Many in Australia’s technology sector have long suspected that there is a substantial gulf between Turnbull and Abbott when it comes to the NBN. Like many, I suspect that Turnbull understands the dynamics of the project very well, while Abbott does not, and that Turnbull has not yet been able to get the Shadow Cabinet to ratify his views on how the NBN should proceed as official Coalition policy. The fact that Turnbull and Abbott now appear to be somewhat contradicting each other with respect to some aspects of the NBN lends credence to this speculation.

    Is the issue which Abbott raised today with respect to budget treatment of the NBN a minor one? You could argue so, given that it was an off-the-cuff comment made at a doorstop interview. And despite how it seems, perhaps the Opposition Leader simply misspoke about the NBN’s budget treatment, rather than holding a different view on the issue than Turnbull. It could be that we’re making a mountain out a molehill here, and we’d welcome further clarification and comment from the Coalition on this issue. However, we are talking about a massive, $37 billion infrastructure project. It’s important to get these things right, and Abbott continues to appear to get them fundamentally wrong. This fact is concerning for the future of telecommunications policy development and implementation in Australia.

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    1. Posted 21/10/2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink |

      When will this nitwit understand the NBN is off-budget???

      • JT
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink |

        When will you understand that “off-budget” does not mean interest free.

        • Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink |


          When will YOU understand that the interest is a TOTAL of $10-12 billion depending on payback time and the NBN will make a PROFIT to the government which will cover that?

        • Posted 22/10/2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink |

          Where did I say it was interest free?

    2. bob
      Posted 21/10/2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink |

      Meh, everyone knows you can’t trust anything Abbott says unless it’s a carefully considered reasoned written statement. I’m sure he’ll go back and have a nice chat with Uncle Malc and sort it out on Monday.

      Renai is it possible to insert a massive sarcasm rolleyes gif here?

      • Posted 21/10/2012 at 11:03 pm | Permalink |

        Yeah just use the standard image src html code etc.

    3. Paul Grenfell
      Posted 21/10/2012 at 7:49 pm | Permalink |


    4. ungulate
      Posted 21/10/2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink |

      The truth is of no consequence here.

      Abbott is simply exploiting ignorance. And he will continue to do so, on this and every issue.

      Turnbull most likely knows he is being dishonest pushing a fictional story about FTTN. But he will continue to push that particular narrative, knowing it cannot be implemented, because his ambition involves first getting the Liberal party into power and only then seeking to be leader.

      Abbott has the benefit of being a borderline sociopath – never truly understand the moral dimension of lying. He only understands the personal dimension of being caught out. You see it in everything he does. Dog whistling to every crowd on every issue. Manipulating prejudice wherever he finds it.

      Turnbull might have more of a grasp of the subject, but if he were honest about it he’d accept the NBN as it is and offer to refine it. He knows he can’t do that under Abbott’s leadership so he’s resigned to running interference and building a smokescreen. He’s not trying to come up with good policy, he’s trying to reassure Liberal leaning voters its “safe” to vote Liberal.

      • Michael
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink |

        “Abbott has the benefit of being a borderline sociopath – never truly understand the moral dimension of lying. He only understands the personal dimension of being caught out. You see it in everything he does. Dog whistling to every crowd on every issue. Manipulating prejudice wherever he finds it. ”

        Julia has the benefit of being a borderline sociopath – never truly understand the moral dimension of lying. She only understands the personal dimension of being caught out. You see it in everything she does. Dog whistling to every crowd on every issue. Manipulating prejudice wherever she finds it.

        But if you want the true source of the anti-NBN push inside the LNP, it is Abott not Turnbull.

        • ungulate
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink |

          You only have to watch Abbott in those rare moments when he’s caught out lying and has no comeback.. “yes, well I did say that um.. er..”.. The emotional response is … “oo.. that’s bad.. for.. me!”

          Adolescent retorts don’t change the facts eh Michael?

        • Michael
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink |

          I was only highlightring the hypocrisy of the situation by changing names. The ease with which it seems to have touched a nerve only serves to highlight my point, neither side is innocent or has the moral high ground.

          Personally I would rather a leader who admits that they are wrong when caught out rather than one who instinctively denies or goes on the attack.

          • Observer
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink |

            “Personally I would rather a leader who admits that they are wrong when caught out rather than one who instinctively denies or goes on the attack.”

            Then, you should have a real problem with Tony Abbott. Do you?

          • ungulate
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink |

            Abbott displays the signs of being a borderline sociopath. Someone who along with other traits, doesn’t quite get the moral dimension of lying. Sociopaths aren’t necessary “bad” people. They just lack empathy. And quite a few rise to positions of power and influence. Have a read on the subject.

            Point is its an advantage not to have to feel bad about lying. Its an asset when you can single mindedly pursue the only thing that matters to you – which is you. That’s Abbott writ large.

            You can apply adolescent tactics, changing names around, or infer you’ve touched a nerve. Yes, Michael, you’re tickling my funny bone.

            And then you dig yourself into a deeper hole asserting a tactic the Liberals and their mates in the media are fond of – the “they’re all as bad as each other” tactic. Get over it. The government may not be perfect, but nothing comes close to Abbott’s lack of honesty, sincerity, or credibility.

          • Michael
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink |

            His parental leave scheme is a dud.
            He makes too many goofs.
            He has not caustiously revisted workplace relations that are crying out for a change.
            He has not made some use of the henry tax review which the ALP shelved.
            He is a great opposition leader but not a good PM and would be better suited to chief attack dog role.

            Turnbull had the opposite problem. He was willing to respond to the ALP’s taunts to always produce policy and kept himself in the spotlight instead of it being on the Govt. That is why Turnbull was a bad opposition leader.

            • Observer
              Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink |

              What about his views on the NBN?

              • Michael
                Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:24 pm | Permalink |

                I think Abott should stop trying to comment on that and leave it to Turnbull. As above Abott is too prone to making mistakes especially where you need such a strong technical knowledge like IT.

                If Abott truly wanted a successful IT policy platform, he should leave it entirely upto Turnbull and release him from his opposition to the NBN. I do not know what type of model Turnbull would advocate but given his personal investments you can be sure it would be closer to the current NBN that what Abott might be comfortable with.

            • RocK_M
              Posted 23/10/2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink |

              “He is a great opposition leader but not a good PM and would be better suited to chief attack dog role.”

              Going to have to respectfully disagree on the first part. As an opposition leader being an attack dog is only half his role.

              The other part is to convince us that their alternative policies are better than existing ones. This not only requires criticism of the status quo but showing alternates and policies. So far all we’ve seen is the attack dog part and none of the latter. Any questions on how the Opposition policies would be better usually end up as a misdirection via an attack on the status quo as opposed to showing any policies/plans

              Just watch any interview and 90% of his speaches will be all attacks on the either immigration or carbon tax and barely any specifics on their alternative besides going the “we’re stopping what their doing and since their inherently bad we’re better already”

              • Michael
                Posted 23/10/2012 at 11:35 pm | Permalink |

                You are correct in that he does need to present an alternative. However, unlike some seem to think it is not his job to run the country at the moment. That is the ALP’s. Malcolm Turnbull made himself the issue when the focus of attention should be on the party who is in control of the fate of the country, the government. If you think that the opposition is likely to become the government then that is fine. However, no matter what I believe that the people in power currently should be under much greater scrutiny than those in opposition (election time there is no one in government so it is null).
                It is not the job of the opposition to run the country for the government. It is the job of the opposition to hold the government to account and present a credible alternative. The government has access to vastly improved resources for policy formulation so it will have a natural advantage. However, that is not to say that the opposition should do nothing as that is not presenting a credible alternative. It is a fine line and it will always be very subjective.

                But valid point, in that view Turnbull and Abott seem to represent the two halves of what needed to be done as opposition leader. Tony is always on the attack (terrible reply to the MYEFO btw, absolute crap from him and hockey) wheras Turnbull was only too happy to play the government line and debate his own policy while the government policy flew under the radar (despite it being what was influencing the country).
                Kevin Rudd had the balance down well, but the situation was very different back in 2007 with a significant anti John Howard push.

              • Michael
                Posted 23/10/2012 at 11:39 pm | Permalink |

                “Just watch any interview and 90% of his speaches will be all attacks”

                Very true, However what is worse is the strong focus of the current government on Tony Abott. It seems that barely a day (not even week) can go by without the PM or a minister complaining or lampooning something the opposition leader has done.

                Why give him the legitimacy?
                Why give him the oxygen?
                Why not just promote your own achievements?
                Since Tony Abott has no policies, If all he can do is negatively comment on existing policy his narrative would fall over very quickly without assistance from the government.

    5. Dean
      Posted 21/10/2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink |

      perhaps the Opposition Leader simply misspoke about the NBN’s budget treatment, rather than holding a different view on the issue than Turnbull

      You can’t “hold a different view” when it’s a question of facts.

      • fgeff
        Posted 21/10/2012 at 9:38 pm | Permalink |

        Come on Renai, why so easy?

        Abbott is a repeated offender. He’s a scum who doesn’t want to tell the truth.

        “Illegal Immigrants” – under which law cause its certainly not the Australian law to seek asylum.

        He’s lied about the NBN multiple times and he’s lied again. He either doesn’t want to learn the facts or ignores them. The other possibility is his staff are too incompetent to provide him with the facts in which case I would worry gravely for the whole country.

        This shows at the election, don’t vote Liberal Party or preference the Liberal party over Labor unless you want our country’s internet/telecommunications to get f|_|cked over along with its finances.

        • Michael
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink |

          If you are going to treat Tony Abott in that manner please do the same for Juliar Gillard. I personally do not care if she changed her mind about the carbon tax (all leaders are entitled to change their mind to a certain extent). What really set me off was how she tried to deal with it in the immediate aftermath. The condescending denials of the original statement then the attempts to lawyerese over it all.

          Yes both sides bend the truth / lie. Treat them equally for it.

          • Posted 22/10/2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink |

            I don’t cover the carbon tax ;) As for both sides …


            • Graham R
              Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink |

              Renai, perhaps you should cover the carbon tax. There is increasing evidence (with the new Argos buoy program) that show the world’s oceans have not warmed noticeably in 17 years, and have actually cooled over the last 7. This could mean the Carbon Tax is based on a false premise.

              • Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:27 pm | Permalink |

                @Graham R

                2 things:

                1- And most important, this is a tech news site. Climate Change hardly falls into that category

                2- This is ONE piece of analogous data, in a sea of contradicting data that says, overwhelmingly, the Earth is warming.

                Whether we are to blame, or are simply accelerating it slightly is kind of irrelevant. Do you want to tell your children or grandchildren the reason we have 10 times the respiratory diseases from 25 years ago is the amount of pollution we carelessly emitted, when we had a chance to change at a cost that could be borne over a few decades? Or that the reason another 1/3 of the planets species are extinct is because of warming?

                Global Warming IS happening. To what degree and how fast and who is to blame, remains to be seen.

                • Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink |

                  Bah! Analagous???

                  Deary me- Anomalous….

                • Graham R
                  Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:56 pm | Permalink |

                  Yeah, sorry, couldn’t resist once people started talking about the Carbon Tax.
                  The whole climate change debate has become political rather than scientific, and I’m fast becoming a sceptic.

                  • Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink |

                    @Graham R

                    It has become far too political. But my mother was on the Rainbow Warrior decades ago and has been active in Greenpeace up until the last decade. I have seen well beyond the politics and studied it at University. It is real. And it WILL change our planet. To what degree and when, as I said, is up for discussion.

                    But do YOU want to chance it? I don’t.

                • Graham R
                  Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink |

                  @Seven Tech
                  re “Global Warming IS happening”.
                  That is debatable, yes, SOME parts of the world are warming, but others are cooling.
                  Recent ocean temperature data and negligible sea level rises would suggest that the world’s AVERAGE temperature is not changing very much at all, certainly nowhere near the alarmist climate change computer models.
                  It’s very interesting that “Global Warming” has changed to “Climate Change” – ever wonder why?

                  • Gwyntaglaw
                    Posted 23/10/2012 at 12:58 am | Permalink |

                    The reason why “global warming” became “climate change” is largely due to the ministrations of Frank Luntz. Google him, if you’re not familiar with his work. He is the architect of so much of the political language in public life today.

              • PeterA
                Posted 23/10/2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink |

                Hi Graham,

                On your off-topic subject, I just read wiki (since oceans cooling would be a huge thing that no one seems to be talking about), Turns out the oceans are getting warmer. There *was* a 2006 report showing the oceans were cooling, but it was later corrected by the author to show cooling but not statistically significantly.
                There is a more recent 2008 report showing the oceans are warming. But hey … carbon tax is a waste right!


          • Michael
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink |

            Yeah didnt mean to stray into that specifically but just to highlight that both sides do not always tell the truth. If you are going to be that vitriolic against one of them, then it should be against both.

            • NBNAlex
              Posted 22/10/2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink |

              Yes fair enough, but.

              To say no carbon tax then change your mind (even when the opposition leader even had said just put a small tax on it) is more on par with JWH and his never ever GST (and yes he took that to an election but does that actually absolve the initial lie?)…

              not daily mistruths about the NBN, from a number of ministers.

            • Michael
              Posted 22/10/2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink |

              NBN Alex,

              Yes, taking it to an election does allow for the leader to change their mind. For one simple reason: It gives the population a chance to decide. It allows the people a chance to vote for their “new” policy as opposed to their old one.

              It is a big difference.

              If you hold that a politician can never change their mind then I have no idea with what world we would end up in. Circumstances change and people should be able to change their minds as long as they do it openly and responsibly. They need to explain their reason’s for doing so and if it was (is) a major election promise, wait until an election to seek a new mandate for the new policy.

              Remember: ALP initially had a FTTN policy. Are you implying that they should not have been allowed to change to their NBN policy?

              • Observer
                Posted 22/10/2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink |


                You are overlooking an important detail. Howard did not just say there would be no GST, he said they would NEVER be a GST. Never is more definite than no. It also implies it will not be proposed again.

                It should be also remembered that a majority voted against the GST at that election.

              • Michael
                Posted 22/10/2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink |

                There will be no carbon tax under a government that I lead.

                By your standards, Julia does the same thing. I still maintain, given that they are such important election commitments that they can only be undone by admitting to the population that you will undertake to change it and then taking it to a vote.

                Or do you contend that based upon wording that the committment can be altered or not?
                I would rather the politician kept the spirit of his election committment rather than descending into lawyer’s double speak about exact meanings.

                • ungulate
                  Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink |


                  Yet more intellectual dishonesty. This time peddled by you. Remember that word “context”?

                  Prior to the election Gillard said on numerous occasions that she would implement a carbon pricing mechanism. That promise has been kept.

                  In an interview where Gillard was asked what she thought of the Greens’ policy to simply have a tax, she said “There will be no carbon tax..”. Those words, dishonestly lifted out of context by the Liberal’s media minders, and pushed and pushed.. and pushed. Again without context.

                  Gillard was making a promise to not implement carbon pricing in the form of a tax. It took the Liberal’s media management team to conflate that into “there will be no carbon pricing” – which is what it has become in the minds of a lot of people.

                  After the election, and after having negotiated a carbon pricing mechanism that begins as “tax”, what did she do? She said “it works like a tax”.. That turned into a huge campaign to villify her. And you got suckered along too.

                  Well, I’ve news for you. The “tax” is exactly “a bit like a tax”, because its not, strictly speaking a tax.

                  A tax goes like this “you emit carbon, we tax you”.

                  The scheme actually goes like this “before you can emit carbon, you have to buy a right to emit it”. That’s actually more like water rights, where before you get to use water you have to buy a right. And that right is then tradeable.

                  What this entire episode illustrates is the following.

                  Yes, Gillard broke a promise. But the promise was not to price carbon. The promise was not to price carbon as the form of a pure tax.

                  But the real lying and dishonesty came from the Liberals and the media, conflating that into a herd-mentality view that somehow she never promised to introduce a price on carbon.

                  And as this “tax” (which is actually a purchase of rights scheme) morphs into a trading system, only one thing will remain. Labor tried and succeeded to introduce a major reform that will see us creating a whole new energy industry.

                  Abbott promising to spend money so people can plant trees yields what? Just money thrown at temporary abatement, not permanent reform. Not the creation of a whole new industry, but a petty and dishonest grab for power.

                  • keen observer
                    Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink |

                    “there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead, but let me be clear I will be putting a price on carbon and I will move to an ETS.”

                    just finishing off the rest of the sentence that conveniently gets cut off right at a vital part, and always is misquoted in the media

                  • Michael
                    Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:00 pm | Permalink |

                    This is going round and round in circles so this will be my last post.

                    I am in no way disputing her ability to price carbon as an ETS. (Even direct action is essentially an implied price on carbon. Solar schemes are in the range of $150-250 per tonne.)

                    I am disputing her mandate to set a fixed price for the first three years. The permits are non-tradable. There is no room fixed supply of permits, just a fixed price. This is a carbon tax initially. Yes it changes to an ETS.

                    Unfortunately both Julia Gillard and Greg Combet have called it a carbon tax. Therefore they have at some point considered it one. That is not right wing media. This is the scheme’s own architects admitting it.

                    • ungulate
                      Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink |

                      Actually the permits will become tradeable.


                    • delphi
                      Posted 23/10/2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink |

                      -“I am disputing her mandate to set a fixed price for the first three years

                      The only difference between Gillard’s ETS and Rudd’s plan (or Howard’s before) is that the fixed price period is 3 years rather than 1 – but the type of remains the same: fixed-price ETS (Carbon Tax is structured completely differently). Somehow no-one called Howard’s fixed-price a ‘carbon tax’. Gillard, in many pre-election interviews, explicitly said she will implement an ETS and that’s what she’s done.

                      -“The permits are non-tradable.”

                      False. *Some* permits are non-tradeble.

                      -“There is no room fixed supply of permits, just a fixed price.”

                      False. *Some* permits, in the initial phase, are issued for free and are limited in numbers – these are fully tradeable – ie can be sold and bought for profit:

                      First carbon permits issued as emissions market dawns September 28, 2012
                      ( http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/first-carbon-permits-issued-as-emissions-market-dawns-20120927-26o0w.html#ixzz27p5GpWDj )

                      ‘CARBON trading has officially begun in Australia, with the government yesterday issuing the first permits under its carbon price.

                      The issue of the permits is significant because it marks the point at which carbon permits start to be bought and sold among the roughly 300 companies that pay the carbon price.

                      The companies can use the permits to cover the tonnage of carbon they emit. But crucially, if they reduce their carbon emissions, they can sell the leftover permits for a profit’

                      -“This is a carbon tax initially.”
                      False – it’s a 1 year fixed-price ETS. Completely different structure. The fact a (limited) emssions trading ma market started operating already, shows Abbott’s ‘carbon tax’ mantra, finally, being a completely bogus one…

              • NBNAlex
                Posted 22/10/2012 at 8:26 pm | Permalink |

                Oh, so a politician simply waits until he/she is popular and by cashing in on one’s popularity, all lies are forgiven at the ballot box… how lovely.

                So all Gillard has to do is keep getting more popular, as she seems to be, go to the next election saying and don’t forget that carbon tax, then if she wins a mandate with people knowing about and voting for her and her CT, abracadabra all lies are absolved, just like JWH…?

                Wow, is this a churchy thing (if so how will that work with Gillard being an atheist)?

                Seriously bud, that just doesn’t cut the mustard, a lie is a lie and winning an election doesn’t absolve one’s lies.

                No wonder they lie so much when people will simply let them off and even make excuses for them (well ‘some’ of them anyway ;)

                • Michael
                  Posted 22/10/2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink |

                  From your point of view, let me ask you a question then;

                  How would you reccommend that a politician go about changing a previously held position?
                  1. Take it the new position to an election (My view)

                  2.Another is to change political leaders. (Although didnt Julia agitate for Rudd to dump his ETS instead of a double dissolution)

                  3.Another position is that politician can never change their publically stated views. (This in my view can only lead to the detriment of society, but is nonetheless a valid position)

                  • Michael
                    Posted 23/10/2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink |

                    Evidently we will have to agree to disagree.

                    My points stand. JG stated she would not price carbon in a certain way. There was a hung parliament and then she had to break that promise to form a minority government.

                    From above NBN Alex, How is that Similar to John Howard?
                    They both broke promises but there is a key difference of an election.
                    If the election is inconsequential then how would youy suggest a politicial / political party go about changing promises?

                • ungulate
                  Posted 23/10/2012 at 2:00 am | Permalink |


                  Evidently you don’t bother reading the rest of the comments so I’ll have to repeat this for you, assuming you even bother to read replies to your own post.

                  Gillard made a commitment to introduce a pricing scheme for carbon in the form of an emissions trading scheme. This promise has been kept.

                  Gillard said that pricing carbon would not take the form of a tax. She broke this promise.

                  Why? Because the Parliament we have is the Parliament we voted for.

                  If you believe that Gillard had promised NOT to introduce a price on carbon AT ALL, then you’ve been lied to.

                  • NBNAlex
                    Posted 23/10/2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink |

                    Oh I understand ungulate, but you need to understand that we are debating with Michael on Michael’s terms, as he bluntly refuses to accept your terms/info.

                    I agree with you and it seems we are on the same side re: NBN etc, so ease up tiger :)

                    But regardless, Michael is nonetheless still saying Gillard lied… but then claiming that Howard didn’t. So all I am therefore doing is demonstrating his (imo) strange politically biased logic.

          • ungulate
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink |

            Reasons why Tony Abbott has no credibility..


            • Soth
              Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink |

              I think you’ll see the same results if you youtubed in Gillard Lies.
              What politicians lie? :)

              • ungulate
                Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:21 pm | Permalink |

                In the race to determine who is the biggest liar, Abbott is miles ahead.

                The meme “they’re all as bad as each other”.. is getting very tired.

                • Soth
                  Posted 23/10/2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink |

                  I agree on that no doubt, I’ve never been one persuaded to vote because of who is leading the party. Always their policies and who has their hands up the puppets the most (the donators to the parties) :) This time I’m leaning towards Labor because the NBN I think is a huge advantage for Australia and outweighs anything the Liberals have put forward so far.

          • fgeff
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink |

            Who said I didn’t hold Gillard to the same account or that I even support Gillard?

            The reason why there is no need to call for her to be held to account is that Tony Abbott has proven to be very successful in doing so along with the media. I would say too successful to the point where we’re often only getting one side of the argument and Abbott’s voice and criticisms are heard more in the media than any interviews with Labor ministers.

            Also there is a difference between bending the truth and what Abbott is doing. If you actually payed attention, you would realise what Gillard was doing was bending the truth. “I support a price on carbon”. She was always going to introduce an ETS however the method in which it was introduced was determined by a committee formed after she formed minority government and they said to have a fixed-priced period or what we now simply call a carbon tax. Hence a Carbon Tax was introduced and she became ‘Juliar’.

            Also, your pathetic claim of the ABC’s bias is ridiculous and that vile is only spouted by some right-wing Liberal and National Party supporters, not independent commonsense thinkers. The Murdoch press has proven time and time again to favour the right which in Australia is the coalition.

            BTW, just in case you’re wondering, despite Abbott leading the Coalition, it were not for the NBN, I would almost certainly vote Liberal at the next election, not Labor. Statements like the one’s quoted in this article are the reason why its ‘almost certainly’ and not definitely.

            Finally, I would like to agree that both sides bend the truth and thats politics but thats not a license to spread crap like Abbott’s claim that we will “spend $50 billion on a National Broadband Network so customers can subsequently spend almost three times their current monthly fee for speeds they might not need”. Thats just one example of many, many claims (others apart from the NBN include the Carbon Tax, Pink Batts, BER amongst others I’m not even aware of).

            • ungulate
              Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink |

              Actually the ABC is biased, and has been since Howard stacked its board with extreme right wing political appointments. We’re now left with Mark Scott as CEO, a former NSW Greiner Liberal government staffer.

              What’s happened with the ABC is that although there are still some people, the management culture has become toxic.

              Once upon a time news radio had good, clean, straightforward journalism. But in recent years its gotten sickening hearing the same opening line to a news bulletin.

              “The opposition leader Tony Abbott says…”

              Followed by a long soundbite.. Followed by uncritical analysis.. Followed by so-called attempts at balance – usually a couple of over-edited sound bites.

              The ABC has really suffered badly. Its not a “campaigning” organisation like the Daily Telegraph, but its core business which is news, has suffered from lazy journalism, and obsequiousness to a right wing management culture.

              Go and google it :)

              • fgeff
                Posted 23/10/2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink |

                Actually I’m well aware of their increasing bias to the right and there are certain programs whose position I would question however on the whole they’re largely unbiased. There is definitely one show impartiality is extremely questionable – the drum. Also, I was refuting the ongoing claims by Michael and others on the right who claim its got a far left bias. Also, Michael provide evidence to back up your claims.

                Also I avoid listening to ABC radio or any AM radio station. While I love listening to the news and catching up on current issues, for some reason the car is not the place I like to do that. The only time I listen is to grandstand when the cricket’s on since it usually has the best commentary out of any team around the world.

                “The main reason I make a lot of the comments here is that I see what I feel are large misconceptions and pure ALP spin being repeated.”

                To Michael: Oh really? What exactly here is ALP spin? You could say a lot of commentors are parroting Renai or ‘Renai’s spin’ as it would be referred to if held to the same account. Furthermore, is a 40%+ uptake rate in Kiama Downs and Minnamurra a large misconception or is that 38% of those households are choosing 100 Mbps plans or is it that 44% of all NBN fibre connections around Australia are adopting 100 Mbps speeds? I have seen very little “pure ALP spin” being repeated. I have seen facts repeated but the only spin I’ve seen has from those opposing the NBN and/or favouring the FTTN policy (not all of them but many, if not most). They’re the one’s who repeat Turnbull’s spin, almost of all of which is either outright false, a hyperbole or very borderline in its value as a truth.

          • NBNAlex
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink |

            “Yes both sides bend the truth / lie. Treat them equally for it.”

            I agree!!!!!

            But how does that treat them equally plea, fit in with your previous “absolution for one of them”, because he was popular and won an election :/

            Are some more equal than others?

            • Michael
              Posted 22/10/2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink |

              The way I view it is that he changed his mind. (Just as Julia did at the behest of the greens.) However, he explained that to the people and gave the population the chance to change their minds and not support him at the next election.

              It is a small point of differentiation but it is important. We had the chance to vote on his new point of view. Unfortunately for Julia we did not in her case. That is the key difference. As far as politicians changing their mind =/= lying if they do not try to brazen over it and explain what they have done. If they are open and honest to the electorate why is it a problem?

              (Yes I know that description does not fit any of the current political generation)

              • Tom
                Posted 23/10/2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink |

                Yes we did. We went to the polls with Labor promising to introduce a carbon pricing scheme. Oh look, thats what they’ve done.

              • PeterA
                Posted 23/10/2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink |

                They didn’t support her at the polls, they supported the greens.
                Who wanted the tax.
                Funnily enough; to get her ETS she had to make a temporary tax.

                No one voted her into government, she is the head of an uneasy coalition. She isn’t leading a government, she is asking its permission to do things. If she never agreed to change her stance (from pure ETS to temporary tax for instance) then the government that she asks permission of, would say: “Go jump” and she wouldn’t be near the front of the pack.

                • Observer
                  Posted 23/10/2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink |

                  “No one voted her into government”

                  Hate to trouble you with facts.

                  Results of 2010 election

                  Labor 50.12%
                  Coalition 49.88%

                  Fact: A slight majority ultimately voted for her.

                  “she is the head of an uneasy coalition”

                  And Tony Abbott is also the head of a coalition. Hard to tell whether it an easy or uneasy one.

    6. Myke
      Posted 21/10/2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink |

      I find most of Abbott’s statements unnecessary if not brain numbing in their repetition and pace of delivery.

      Turnbull is much more captivating.

    7. Tailgator
      Posted 21/10/2012 at 8:51 pm | Permalink |

      Turnbull gave a solemn undertaking? Is that the same as all his utterances regarding the NBN? All the many variations that he has put forward over the last two years? Is it the same as his ‘fully costed policy’ he claimed he had just last month?
      Or are they the same as Abbott’s many ‘unscripted remarks’.
      Turnbull’s only job is to negate any positives the current NBN may have for voters come the next election. There is no guarantee that he will be the Comms minister post a Liberal victory at the polls (he being a moderate while the far right rule the roost) and even if he was given the portfolio, there is no guarantee that any of his statements made thus far will be adhered to. End of story.

      • ungulate
        Posted 21/10/2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink |

        In the Atomic Banana Universe* …

        Late 2013. New NBN construction contracts halted.
        2 to 3 years of delays. Re-appointments. Redesign. Renegotiation. Re-regulation.
        FTTN volume roll out beginning less than a year before the 2016 election.

        And in two more alternative universes that follow….

        Post Atomic Banana universe 1
        Late 2016. Liberal government re-elected.
        FTTN roll out slated to finish in 2020.
        Majority of users experience less than 30Mbps download and abysmal upload speeds.
        Public demands are increasingly made to switch to FTTH and join the rest of the world.
        Liberal government still struggling to balance the budget because of the recession it created by introducing Campbell Newman style cuts, says sorry but it will have to wait until the FTTN build is paid for. Maybe in 2023.
        Late 2019. Last minute election promise to scrap the rest of the FTTN build and revert to FTTH. Billions of dollars are written off. Pacific Highway completion date put off to 2025.
        Early 2021 After further delays, FTTH construction re-commences but on a “as revenue allows” basis. FTTH is scheduled to complete in 2029.
        Late 2022. Labor promises to rebuild NBNco and to re-integrate its wireless and satellite arms and forever put it beyond the reach of a Liberal government. Commits to finish the project by 2025.
        Labor is re-elected.
        Late 2025. NBN is finally ready for service and will provide lasting benefit for 50 years.

        Post Atomic Banana Universe 2
        Late 2016. Labor is elected. Hordes of screaming geeks bash Abbott pinatas.
        Early 2017. After further delays, NBN construction recommences.
        Late 2022. NBN is finally ready for service and will provide lasting benefit for 50 years.

        *Atomic Banana Universe. This is an alternate universe. One where the Liberals win the 2013 election, there is actually a communications portfolio, Turnbull actually remains Minister and he actually (despite knowing its a political liability) chooses to use NBNco to build a FTTN network.

        • Mud Guts
          Posted 21/10/2012 at 10:59 pm | Permalink |

          Yay! My atomic banana continues to live on!

          Seriously @ ungulate that’s a very perceptive comment and one that I believe is likely to be the case.

          • Mud Guts
            Posted 21/10/2012 at 11:01 pm | Permalink |

            I also hope that when my daughter is old enough to read, she’ll understand what papa’s Atomic Banana stories are all about.

        • TechinBris
          Posted 24/10/2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink |

          Can I power my house with an Atomic Banana? Or is it just for Communications? Though I don’t know if I want a glowing banana on my roof or solar panels or and groovy looking Jetson’s inspired antenna.

    8. NPSF3000
      Posted 21/10/2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink |

      “The fact that Turnbull and Abbott now appear to be somewhat contradicting each other with respect to some aspects of the NBN lends credence to this speculation.”

      Now? As in, you’ve completely forgotten this has occurred in the past?


    9. Steven
      Posted 21/10/2012 at 11:25 pm | Permalink |

      There’s a great opportunity for Labor to bash Abbott with Turnbull’s ‘honesty in politics’ stick.

      Turnbull has acknowledged the NBN’s off budget status yet Abbott just knowingly lied about it. Will journalists pick up on this? It’s a chance to pick up some easy money!

      • ungulate
        Posted 21/10/2012 at 11:58 pm | Permalink |

        The next big speech in Parliament should go directly for Abbott’s lack of credibility. Chapter and verse on his lies, contradictions, and hypocrisy.

        • jasmcd
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink |

          You can bet this will be the big ALP push going into the next election. However the Libs have a great comeback in two words… Carbon Tax.

          • Bob
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink |

            Easily negated with Direct Action.

            • Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink |

              Only problem with Direct Action Plan – is that its exactly the same thing, only we’d just skip the tax introduction bit and go straight to the Carbon Trading.

              • PeterA
                Posted 23/10/2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink |

                You realise that Direct Action = subsidies, not a traded carbon price right?

                How you go from Direct Action => ETS is a wonder.

                • TechinBris
                  Posted 24/10/2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink |

                  No it’s not. Its called a full frontal lobotomy. You get and ice pick and you…………….
                  Never mind!

          • Michael
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink |

            Personally direct action can have a major impact on carbon emissions.

            Power usage is the major source of Greenhouse gas emissions. (CO2 is not the worst by far)
            Since power plants are 30+ year investments, Govt intervention to replace highly polluting plants with new plants that have reduced footprints would be very effective. It also falls into direct action.

            • Posted 22/10/2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink |


              Direct Action would convert to an ETS in 2015, same as Carbon Tax, Abbott has said so himself….so we’d have LESS than 1 year of Direct Action, before it converted to ETS.

              Seems kind of pointless to me….

            • Michael
              Posted 22/10/2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink |

              The major differences are the “fixed price” and the ownership of permits (tradability).

              Unfortunately both Julia and Combet have called it a tax. Once they admitted it, very little wrangling of fine definitions could change it. In addition if they admity it is a tax then the have done so to themself.

              Personally on Climate Change I think the best method to reduce emissions is twofold.

              1. Increase power costs to reduce usage.
              2. Swap to alternate forms of power generation that do not produce emissions.
              (Gas –> Nuclear + Tidal / Geothermal / Hydro, Solar / Wind too inefficient for space req currently)

              An emissions trading scheme can have some benefits but will cause heartache due to investment banks etc creating new products based off credits leading to rip-offs and deadweight loss. A carbon tax is a simpler model and has less room for financial tricks and therefore less admin costs / losses.

              But enough about specifics.

          • ungulate
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink |

            Gillard made it clear before the election she would be introducing a price on carbon. She also made it clear she preferred a trading scheme.

            The voters chose a Parliament where Gillard had to negotiate.

            What we got was a carbon tax (actually, its not strictly speaking a tax, its more like water rights) leading up to a trading scheme.

            Circumstances change, and Julia, being a vastly better negotiator than Abbott, got the job done.

            Remember when Abbott went into an election (as Health Minister) promising no cuts on hospitals, and then after the election pulled a billion dollars. And said “well.. circumstances change”

          • jasmcd
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink |

            It is only easily negated for those who have knowledge of the differences between the Carbon Tax and the so called “Direct Action” (which I don’t believe to be the majority). Too many voters take what they hear from Abbott or the Australian at face value and don’t question the motives behind it.

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink |

        “Some” journalists will pick him up on it, but Murdoch’s Media always gives Tony a free pass to sprout any old nonsense and they report it as “fact” with no analysis at all (loads of opinion though…)

        • Michael
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink |

          Just as the ABC and Fairfax (excluding Fin Review) give the ALP a free pass?

          • Observer
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink |

            I really don’t know how you can suggest the ABC and (incredibly) Fairfax give the ALP a free kick when people like Paul Sheehan, Peter Costello, Amanda Vanstone and other Coalition figures have openly biased articles published in the SMH.

            Furthermore, try, though I doubt you can, look at the world with un-liberal eyes and ask yourself whether most commercial TV stations and the Murdoch press give Tony Abbott more than a free pass.

          • Michael
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink |

            Considering that the Australian regularly publishes articles by Government Ministers, including Wayne Swan and Craig Emerson by your same logic it is not biased. (For SMH the balancing opinions come from the likes of Ross Gittins and Michelle Grattan).

            To see the ABC bias watch Media Watch, Insiders or the Drum, the prevelant opinions are progressive opinions. I personally couldnt care less about bias at private enterprise as it is private funds and as long as they are profitable they are entitled to run. The ABC is public funds and its charter is different.

            To look for evidence of bias, you should analyse how much each paper conducts indpeth analysis of policies released. Whether they will analyse it themself or just report the official line.

            The NBN is a good example where as Renai has mentioned that they send out multiple “updates” weekly about new activity.

            • Observer
              Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink |

              “I personally couldnt care less about bias at private enterprise as it is private funds and as long as they are profitable they are entitled to run”

              How convenient!!

              You should also add : as long as they support the coalition. If you don’t care, then with mention Fairfax?

            • Michael
              Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink |

              To provide a counter example is the main reason i mentioned Fairfax. Private enterprise if free to present whatever view it desires. It is condescending and moralistic to think that a private company should endorse a view point you support. If you do not like what it presents, do not support it and it will eventually go broke if enough people agree with you.

              If you want to look up a good investigative journalist: Hedley Thomas.

              • PeterA
                Posted 23/10/2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink |

                I particuarly like how you mention Media Watch. Golden.

              • TechinBris
                Posted 24/10/2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink |

                Oh good greif! What Right Wing Think Tank employs you? IPA?

    10. Angy
      Posted 21/10/2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink |

      The problem I have is just the economics of it. Abbott purportedly wants to boost productivity, but he’ll cut the only major infrastructure project, a project intended to generate money directly, I might add, and keep in mind that he’s going to raise company tax for paid parental leave. So where is he going to dig up this productivity? Or even the savings for a surplus? All I see is someone who’d downsize the entire economy just to post surplus.

      Abbott’s apparent grasp of economics, for someone who has a degree in it, is pretty whacky to say the least. It’s staggering not that he isn’t merely held accountable, but that he isn’t utterly punished for his madness.

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink |

        it used to be called “The Magic Pudding”, now days it’s “Hockeynomics”….

      • Michael
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink |

        Look up opportunity cost.

        • ungulate
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink |

          You mean like the opportunity cost of having to pay $20B+ for FTTN, then having to wait another ten years, then building FTTH and discovering it still costs the same to build and most of the “investment” in FTTN is lost, whilst you’ve set back the economy for ten years?

          How’s it help things to end up spending billions of dollars more, take 10 years longer, for the same end result?

        • J
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink |

          Opportunity costs?!?

          The NBN is off-budget, so the borrowed money to pay for it is irrelevant – if there are “better” things to invest government debt into, then issue more bonds and just do it. Hospitals, roads, high speed rail, ports whatever – if it’s more worthwhile (ie: better rate of return than the project 7.1% of the NBN) then why not fall over ourselves building these things?

          The only ‘opportunities’ I can see that are lost would be where billions of dollars are spent building FTTN which then needs to be replaced with FTTH at a later date. I guess that stuff up could help stimulate the economy. I be pretty annoyed though as the end users (that’s you and me) would be paying for both projects – I’d prefer it done once, and done right.

          Mind you I’ve only learnt about opportunity costs in the last couple of days, maybe I’ve got it wrong. Feel free to enlighten me as I always enjoy learning.

        • Michael
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink |


          You are correct. The opportunity cost is the cost of the next best alternative (also any forgone better ones). It will always be a very subjective matter. The main reason I raise issues like that is to promote undertanding of the economics and that I feel that even though it is off budget currently. It may not always remain so. In addition, there is no such thing as free funds. Just because it is off-budge does not mean that there is not a cost for investing in it.

          • ungulate
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink |


            How does spending $20B in order to merely defer spending $40B for a few years, stack up economically?

            I can’t figure it out either!

            • Michael
              Posted 22/10/2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink |

              I didnt respond to your post but I can.

              It all depends upon the assumptions that you make.

              You mean like the opportunity cost of having to pay $20B+ for FTTN, then having to wait another ten years, then building FTTH and discovering it still costs the same to build and most of the “investment” in FTTN is lost, whilst you’ve set back the economy for ten years?

              How’s it help things to end up spending billions of dollars more, take 10 years longer, for the same end result?”

              This depends on a few assumptions
              1. Is the true benefit of FTTP in the internet connection or in the FTTP itself? If the benefit is in the FTTN then it can be argued that connecting people to a intermediate a lot faster is a better approach as the benefits will flow faster.
              2. This also depends on how you structure the rollouts. If you do targeted rollouts or just double up over everything. If you roll them out in sync and alternate area then the rollout speed would be increased significantly. In addition more people would be connected earning more revenue earlier and therefore a better return.
              3. If the benefits of having fast internet are huge (unquantifiable) then they should outweigh the cost of the FTTN rollout and therefore justify for getting people connected to fast internet as soon as possible instead of allowing them to wait on the FTTP to arrive.

              As I have said, opportunity cost is subjective. The “next best” alternative will always be up for debate. Additionally in a project like the NBN it is not so clear cut as it is off budget. Areas to consider include, economic activity in the private sector displaced (not just telecommunications, but also construction), the cost of increased resources for other sectors due to increased competition (labour, fibre optics). Also the fact that it is off budget and we can just borrow more funds relies upon the assumption of unlimited borrowing.

              • ungulate
                Posted 23/10/2012 at 2:48 am | Permalink |


                With all due respect, you don’t seem to have grasped the facts of the issue.

                As a starting point the following is true.
                Wherever you roll out FTTN, it will have to be replaced with FTTH in due course
                Most of the money spent on FTTN will be written off. In other words, its not a stepping stone to FTTH.
                What you’ve succeeded in doing is spending more money and taking more time for the same end game.

                Indeed you’re likely to spend 50% more money, and cost yourself a decade.

                Something that I can’t fail but notice, when arguing with people such as yourself, is the abject failure to comprehend longer time scales. 50 years is what we’re talking about with FTTH.

                Introducing FTTN as a “stop gap” measure would have been a sensible activity, had it been done roughly 7 years ago. That’s when you could have introduced the technology, and you could have achieved economic benefit from it, and still be able to write off the cost over a ten year period. (This of course ignores Telstra).

                Introducing FTTN now in late 2012 isn’t going to happen. The NBN is being built.
                Introducing FTTN in 2014 isn’t going to happen. It would require a further 2 years at least to get going when all due process is taken into account.

                At that point you have a feeble argument. You say lets put FTTN in some areas ahead of FTTH construction. On the surface this might make sense. Spend more money to achieve gains sooner.

                Only problem is, by the time that FTTN could begin to roll out in volume, roughly half the country will have fibre or will be a year away form having fibre. So now you’re only targeting around a quarter of the country – those suburbs that might have to wait post 2019 to get fibre.

                And in those areas the average length of time between potentially getting FTTN and when they would have received FTTH is 3 years.

                In essence you’ve targeted about a quarter of the country and paid very dearly for avoiding some of the lost economic opportunity that may occur. Very dearly – since there is no way you could possibly recover the bulk of the money spent on those FTTN roll outs from the end user.

                Indeed, if you were really concerned about lost economic activity incurred because the NBN is taking so long to roll out, you might want to instead ask the question, would it be worth it spending more to hasten the roll out of fibre instead.

                • Michael
                  Posted 23/10/2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink |

                  1. The basis behind my scenario doesnt need to take into acoount long term. (The answer is in there.)

                  2. It is all based upon the assumptions and figures behind your plan, they can always change relatively easily with a change in specifications. The main reason I wrote that was to show that with optimistic enough analysis of the benefits there were scenario’s where it was beneficical to provide FTTN.

                  • NBNAlex
                    Posted 23/10/2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink |

                    What you fail to realise imo Michael, is…

                    Most if not all the if’s have been already ironed out by NBNCo and it’s time to ramp up. Whereas by going to FttN all the if’s and subsequent lost time, all starts over again.

                    Shall we estimate 6 months for the promised CBA?

                    2 years to nut out a deal with Telstra?

                    And how long to deal with the ACCC/Courts as all of the other angry ISP’s refuse to cop a bar of Telstra being handed the keys to Australia’s comms once again… months, years.

                    But back on track let’s suggest 3 years minimum from the time the Coalition start government to the time they are ready to then start amassing a new NBNCo to oversee. So again, by the time they are ready, what another 6-12 months.

                    My goodness by the time they actually start doing anything it could well be 2018 and if those initial areas too, like the NBN, are only pilot sites, by the time they start actuals, the NBN would/will have been completed or thereabouts:/

                    Perhaps that’s the Coalition’s plan, to leave everything stalled and stagnating… up in the air ad infinitum …!

                    This may be a quickly mapped out scenario, but it basically shows a rough guide, imo.

                    So before people decide well let’s just go FttN because it’s cheaper (initially perhaps) and quicker to roll out (not necessarily when external factors govern your destiny – as NBNCo found out with their 9 month Telstra deal delay) and when all plans are back to the drawing board… so let’s just roll out the NBN eh?

    11. Zok
      Posted 21/10/2012 at 11:59 pm | Permalink |

      Surely, it has been quite clear to anyone following Australian politics that Tony Abbott is an intellectual lightweight. He neither understands, nor is interested in, complex issues. His contempt of policy subjects ranging from economics to technology and science is on display almost every time he speaks. NBN is no exception.

      The only surprising thing is, sadly, that so many people are willing to even consider letting someone like that run the government.

      • stoffs
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink |


      • Tinman_au
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink |


    12. @iansambo
      Posted 22/10/2012 at 1:11 am | Permalink |

      Maybe we should revert to calling the NBN the information super highway. Tony might not know that it’s different, and thinking its a real road increase funding towards it.

      • Mattee
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink |

        LOL… Only then he’d expect the States to chip in for the bill.


    13. Posted 22/10/2012 at 2:52 am | Permalink |

      I’m actually more interested in the fact that I believe this is the first time we’ve heard Abbott say ANYTHING other than “cancel” or “stop” the NBN.

      Pause…..does that indicate the potential for a backflip anyone?

      Oh and the obligatory- Abbott can’t be trusted, he said so himself……Labor rules, LNP drool *insert Labor stooge comment because of lack of context of a pro-NBNers history here*

      • Observer
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink |

        In fact, Tony Abbott goes a bit further than that. He qualifies the statement by saying “IF we can pause”.

        That, surely, leaves the door open to say “we think the NBN is a white elephant but we can’t pause it” and blaming it for future budget cuts.

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink |

        Even Tony himself admits you shouldn’t hold Tony to what he says unless it’s in writing and signed by him…

      • Michael
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink |

        If he has a qualifier in there, you would hope that he would do a proper analysis of the project. (Economic or political) If it is as good and popular as claimed with no hiccups, then why wouldnt he continue it if he is as base a political animal as people are claiming.

        • Observer
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink |

          “If he has a qualifier in there, you would hope that he would do a proper analysis of the project. (Economic or political) If it is as good and popular as claimed with no hiccups, then why wouldnt he continue it if he is as base a political animal as people are claiming.”

          You must be kidding. Even if the project was the best you could ever imagine in its design and implementation, he would not continue. He is, after all, still pushing the evil of the carbon tax, after facts do not support his claims.

          Furthermore, the only analysis, he should entertain,is that of the coalition impersonation of a plan.
          Lastly, it is notable that your comments are all speculative. Of course, In the world of “woulds” everything is possible.

        • ungulate
          Posted 23/10/2012 at 3:03 am | Permalink |

          In as few words as possible, Michael, the answer is “why risk it?”

          We know what Labor will do.

          The only thing the Liberals could possibly do right is suffer policy paralysis and do nothing.

          They’re probably going to be investing so much energy cursing at the Senate to even notice broadband.

      • Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink |

        I read a ZDNet article the other day – the write was saying that the ACCC is likely to be the most important barrier. The Coalition can bleat all they like that they can just ‘swap it over’ to a FTTN model, but the ACCC has every right to stop them in their tracks.

        The ACCC doesnt have to do what the government of the day tells them to, we’ve seen this twice already this year – one with fixed line pricing and one with mandatory leasing of (Government funded) Telstra rural sites.

        The ACCC hold all the cards in that case, they can opt to do whatever the hell they like. They dont have an agenda or a plan.

      • ungulate
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink |

        Abbott again, today, in the context of the MYEFO, engaged inexactly the same intellectual dishonesty over the NBN. When asked if he would cancel the NBN ducked the question and spouted the same tired phrases.

        The journo, as you would expect these days avoided the obvious follow up.

        “Are you going to scrap it, yes or no?”

    14. Brett Haydon
      Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink |

      So Tony would pause the NBN when operating expenditure is about 1.7 billion and revenue only 120 million on a 13 billion debt. Even on the government’s low interest bill, with no revenue growth the ‘credit card’ debt would go up not down. What an idiot.

      The only other explanation is that he’s bullshitting his audience and believes that people who vote for him are too dumb to understand this.

      • ungulate
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink |

        Why doesn’t a journo ask Abbott..

        “OK, so you’ll pause the NBN.. Does this mean that instead of being an investment and being off budget, it will then show up as a budget item, and then deepen you’re already enormous budget black hole?”

        • Diachronic
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink |


          Right on…..will the *real* journalists please stand up and ask real, non-fluff, questions???

          What is it gonna take to get the LNP answering real questions?

          And for the record, all the Malcolm Turnbull fans on here, he might be smooth and titillate you with his professional demeanor, but he is still a free-market ideologue……and the NBN messes with that theory. Despite the fact that the NBN will create a never before seen level of RETAIL competition for broadband/telephony services.

          Malcolm is not the answer I’m afraid.

    15. Posted 22/10/2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink |

      The bottom line here is that the NBN is off-budget – whatever he decided to do with the NBN going forward or not, will NOT effect the budget.

      Because it’s not on the budget.

      • PeterA
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink |

        Except if he pauses it indefinitely; and all the expenditure no longer earns any money (since it isn’t built yet!)

        Therefore the entire outlay gets to be written off – in the budget! So the only way the NBN will be on-budget; is if he cancels it and has to write off all the investment made because its unfinished. In 2013 it must be getting close to 3+ billion dollars? (more?? 10billion?)

        If the Atomic Banana reality comes true we can only hope Telstra (or all the other multi-billion dollar earning telecoms company in Australia) decides to pay a close approximation of the amount spent so far to buy it to avoid a massive budget blowout.

        • Posted 22/10/2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink |

          That is of course true also.

          But Malcolm is going to “complete the NBN objective”.

          So they make each other look like fools in more than one way.

      • Michael
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink |

        The NBN interest payments are on budget. So there is a component that can be affected by stopping it.

        (n.b. I do not think it is a good idea. )

        • ungulate
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink |


          The reason why the NBN is off budget is has value, as an asset. That value is dependent on it having a viable business case.

          The moment the vandals of the Liberal Party either put it on pause, or threaten it with “redesign” is the moment it loses value.

          Then it won’t be only the interest on budget.

          • MikeK
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink |

            (The moment the vandals of the Liberal Party either put it on pause, or threaten it with “redesign” is the moment it loses value.)
            Loses value, it has no value period not untill its finished, WHY ? the satellites and the regional roll outs are subsidised by the metro areas. Mike Quidely stated that “no one will buy a PARTLY finished NBN because its uneconomically viable”. I cant see them putting it on pause either because they still have to honour the existing contract or pay hefty penalities and they still have to pay interest on the money already borrowed.
            And there not going to win the next election because Auatralians want their fibre connections and the Coaltion are morons and their leader is an idiot.

        • Michael
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink |

          It is off budget as it has an accepted business case.

          The business case is based upon forecasts and construction predictions over 20+ years. Can we assume the same variance as experienced in treasury predictions within 1 year?

          • ungulate
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink |

            If the Treasury made an error of (say) $5B in predicting the budget bottom line, that’s an error of under 2% on the entire budget.

            If NBNco were as good as that, I’d be very happy.

          • Michael
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink |

            For the 2011 financial year it was 22bn the year before.

            The deficit was 43.7bn. That is about 6% error. As you said that is not too bad especially considering politician have a tendancy to spend more and that global economic conditions were declining.

            The problem is if you have an error of 6% and compound it out through 20 years of estimates. I do not know how the NBN will end up. 5+ elections and 20 years. If it meets the current business plan that would be extra-ordinary but either way I wish it the best of luck so we can get the best outcome as taxpayers.

            • ungulate
              Posted 23/10/2012 at 3:08 am | Permalink |


              That’s where your comparison between an extremely complex and inherently unpredictable (thanks to global issues) government budget, and NBNcos budget starts to have its wheels fall off. I won’t go into details. Even I get to sleep sometimes :P

            • PeterA
              Posted 23/10/2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink |

              The thing is, the NBN Corporate plan is *extremely* conservative.

              12% on 100 megabits is one example.

              Theres lines in there talking about Telcos wanting access to the NBN as backhaul for their mobile towers. But in the same sentence they say something along the lines of: “But since this isn’t an agreement we are going to ignore any potential income from this”.

              The corporate plan that so far pretty much only includes residential uses of the fibre. No large institutional use of the NBN has been taken into account. There is a chunk of money there waiting for the NBN that they will be able to use to boost their business case. So your 6% drop in revenue estimates has some pretty big error bars (most of which extend into the positive territory).

    16. Jake Cordon
      Posted 22/10/2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink |

      I wish for a day when all parties can agree to work together for the betterment of Australian telecommunications and infrastructure in general.

      In a way I wish that the Liberals were not (by and large) raving loonies and were actually a credible alternative to govern, with policies that were not flat out pants on head retarded.

    17. Sathias
      Posted 22/10/2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink |

      Got to give Abbott credit for moronic consistency.

      “Mr Abbott, too keep with your election promises, your party must find a large amount of savings. Can you give an example of one of these measures?”

      “STOP THE BOATS!!!”

      “Umm… ok, do you have another example?”


      You could pretty much replace Abbott with a soundboard and it would pass the Turing Test.

      • Sathias
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink |

        Gah, I mean *to … damn lack of edit function :-)

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink |

        Are you all that certain that Tony would pass the Turing test?

    18. Brendan
      Posted 22/10/2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink |

      Abbott and Turnbull seldom agree on anything. I’m surprised at this point that Turnbull hasn’t gone independent; his views are not really in-line with the far-right agitators within the party.

      Turnbull perhaps understands that ignoring high-speed internet, indeed going to the extreme step of halting NBNco, isn’t an election wining policy. It’s also an expensive decision that won’t return a damn thing to the government.

      Turnbull will be aware that local, elected members are calling for broader deployments. He knows it’s a forgone conclusion that investment is required (he just won’t part with the investment levels required).

      I don’t believe Abbott really gives a shit. He doesn’t understand the importance, his backers sure as hell don’t give a crap either. His interests are to remain the elected leader and stave off a potential knifing (particularly if the poll numbers keep swinging towards labor/ greens) not to actually constructively enter the debate.

      The Liberal policy is in disarray simply because Turnbull can’t get traction on anything. The merest hint of expenditure has right-wing members in a spin. I do not believe for an instant that Turnbull could get the L/NP to continue the NBN, even with the most scaled back deployment.

      The only thing that might save the NBN, to at least some degree would be for the polls to continue a swing towards Labor, along with preferred leader, and L/NP triggering a spill.

      Interestingly, that (swing) is starting to happen.

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink |

        Indeed, but if Liberals under Abbott slide too far, they may well put MT back in charge (remember he lost the leadership by only one vote). I think the Liberals with MT as leader would probably be a shoo in at the next election. Heck, if he can ditch the Abbott “Destroy the NBN” influence and actually get the Libs to agree to the current NBN settings (FttH) I’d even consider voting for them again. Turnbull is a lot more “old school” Liberal than Tonys Tea Party…

        • Brendan
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink |

          “Heck, if he can ditch the Abbott “Destroy the NBN” influence and actually get the Libs to agree to the current NBN settings (FttH) I’d even consider voting for them again.”

          And, no offence, this will be when pigs, in a truly curious quirk of evolution, suddenly develop the ability to fly. That ship has sailed. He would never secure sufficient backing to push for the funding commitment.

          Turnbull and Abbott are allergic to actual investment; it would be tax-driven, mostly just prop up Telstra, and generally be entirely insufficient. Just as every single policy on broadband ever delivered by L/NP.

          There is a very long history of inaction and aborted frameworks. People are dreaming up fanciful notions of what Turnbull could ever achieve. Even if he wanted to. And I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. All the plans presented thus far, dictate that outcome.

        • Michael
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink |

          The scariest thing for the ALP would be a LNP change of leadership. The ALP has invested so much political capital into destroying Tony Abott that they would be in trouble with a fresh LNP leader (be it Turnbull or anyone else).

          • NBNAccuracy
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink |

            “The ALP has invested so much political capital into destroying Tony Abott…”

            Did they really? I thought he was doing an excellent job of destroying himself without any help from Labor. Usually when they have pointed things out, like his sexism and the way he talks down to Gillard people already knew it and it had been reported by various media commentators for ages. Same with the carbon tax. Nothing to do with Labor trying to do anything. He is his own worst enemy.

          • Michael
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink |

            NBN Accuracy,

            The sexism debate (especially misogyny allegations) are the product of the media advisor John McTernan. This can be shown by reveiwing the Brittish elections in 2003 onwards where he had a strong hand in advising labour. There were consistant allegations of a “sexist” campaign.

            Is there sexism in parliament? Yes, both sides are guilty of it.
            Tony Abott looked at his watch while Julia was speaking, Tanya Pilberesk put up posters of Tony saying he is afraid of gays and boats and gays on boats.

            There are allegations going back to the 90s. This is before the Slater and Gordon scandal which was dismissed as being in the past. The biggest victim of this parliament is consistancy in favour of hypocrisy.

            • NBNAccuracy
              Posted 22/10/2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink |

              Totally agree. But you were saying that “The ALP has invested so much political capital into destroying Tony Abott”
              I do not belive the ALP had to even try. He already had other parties, particularly the media, making these alegations about Tony Abbott long before the ALP mentioning anything.

            • Michael
              Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink |

              To a certain extent some people have been very fearful of what his religious beliefs would entail. I have no idea how they will affect his judgement but it seems that we have heard very little about them and he has not allowed them to alter his policies significantly at all.

              I think that there was always sexism against Julia on the internet which has been disgusting. (Internet Trolls and other anonymous sources etc). However, I feel that it was a deliberate campaign to conflate the internet crap (that is what it is) with Tony Abott’s very agressive style. (People forget he was just as agressive against K. Rudd). This line has been picked up by female ministers and MP’s (Nicola and Tanya) as well as many other commentators who did not like abott.

              So yes there was always scope for the attack especially since Julia is a woman. However, I personally feel that it has been exaggerated vastly out of proportion. If Tony was as sexist (misogynist) as portrayed he would have difficult times relating to his wife / three daughters, female deputy, female chief of staff.

              e.g. Calling someone a “piece of work” is not a sexist insult. It is perfectly gender neutral to me.

              I posted this link below, but it is an interesting read from a journalist who has spoken with the charities that Tony Abott personally supports.


              • Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink |


                I’d agree the sexism claim itself has been thrown around far too much. Although I must admit I did enjoy watching Tony squirm during Julia’s speech. He needs to understand, if he is going to be his attack dog self, he needs to expect, at times, he will be turned on by the prey. However:

                e.g. Calling someone a “piece of work” is not a sexist insult. It is perfectly gender neutral to me.

                Absolutely. It IS gender neutral. And it STILL disgusts me. I would NEVER call someone that over politics. You are essentially calling them a rubbish human being. That is uncalled for and completely unacceptable. And Gillard was right in asking for it to be retracted. You’ll note the speaker jumped on it and Abbott VERY quickly retracted it. He KNEW it was a step too far, for its’ overall repugnance AND the fact that he knew the media would cry misogyny as soon as he sat down.

                So no, it wasn’t sexist. But it was uncalled for.

          • NBNAlex
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink |

            “The scariest thing for the ALP would be a LNP change of leadership.”

            I agree Michael. Imagine the Coalition with a real leader that people could actually look up to and take seriously?

            Todays figures (from Yahoo 7 news):

            Preferred PM
            Gillard – 50%
            Abbott – 40%

            Gillard – 47%
            Abbott – 37%

            Gillard – 48%
            Abbott – 60%

            2 PP
            Coaltion – 52%
            Labor – 48%

            Even with Abbott on the nose the Coalition are still ahead. So to reiterate what Michael said –

            “The scariest thing for the ALP would indeed, be a LNP change of leadership.”!

            • ungulate
              Posted 22/10/2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink |

              The uptick in Gillard’s personal ratings will translate directly into future ALP primary votes.

    19. Soth
      Posted 22/10/2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink |

      Wow it’s like he wants to lose the election (again over the NBN). I was a Liberal supporter, but this is just getting beyond a joke now. I just can’t vote for Liberal with this hanging over their heads.

    20. Justin
      Posted 22/10/2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink |

      As a swing voter i’ve voted both liberal and labor in the past, but find myself leaning much more towards labor these days because of the liberals scare campaign tactics they use for just about everything.

      I love how the cost of the boat people is n ot there own fault. Its cheaper to process in Australia, but its so high because labor didn’t deter them. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence and those who have travelled would realise that our government has very little control via policy to stop people from coming here on boats. A desperate person doesn’t care about our immigration policies.

      Same for the NBN, the only way they can win the argument is by using cost as a scare tactic.

      Another example is in the ACT election over the weekend, with the liberal line of triple rates if you vote labor or greens. They neglected to say that it would be 10-20 years and stamp duty on houses would slowly disappear as rates slowly rose. Looks like it was enough to get a good chunk of the standard ACT minority government.

      • Michael
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink |

        The ALP dismantled the LNP boat people policy in 2007 (With much fanfare). The intake proceeded to grow from 3-4 boats per year to 3+ boats per week.

        Iresspective of who could fix it, if it could be fixed at all, it is a mess.

        • Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink |


          I don’t want to get into boat people, but:

          The ALP dismantled the LNP boat people policy in 2007 (With much fanfare). The intake proceeded to grow from 3-4 boats per year to 3+ boats per week.

          That’s like saying, I cut my loan repayments by $100 a month, but my free cash went DOWN by 20%….our immigration policy is about, I’d estimated, 10-20% of the reason boat people come or increase. The rest are factors WELL beyond our control. Including Arab spring and Iran revolution.

          • Michael
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink |

            Seven Tech,

            There were push factors but they alone cannot account for the 500-1000% increase in asylum seeks over the period. If push factors were soley responsible why did no other country in the world experience the same increase in asylum seekers?

            Especially since Iran / Iraq / Afganistan are not in our neigbourhood.

            • Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink |




              This seems to indicate you’re incorrect. And also, Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan. may BE far from us. But we also have a MUCH better reputation (although it has taken a beaten of late) on dealing with Islamic people than either the US or the UK- partly from our actions and training of security forces in those countries. Canada would be about equal to us in that respect and they have seen a HUGE spike in asylum seekers.

              In other words, we advertise ourselves well.

        • PeterA
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink |

          I’d like to add another mistake made by many people in the “boat people” debate.

          Howard never stopped the boats. His policies reduced them, but never stopped them.

          (there was a period just after he implemented his policies that looks like no boats – in terms of actual arrivals on Australian shores, but in fact 2 boats sunk with no trace and 1 was towed back to jakarta during that period).

          It is true; during the duration of his policies there were *less* boats, there has never been *no* boats. (in terms that they actually pretend they are trying to stop people dying making the crossing).

          • ungulate
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink |

            To make that above point clearer, Howard fiddled the statistics.

            A boat intercepted, sent to Nauru, processed and then settled in Australia counted as zero.

            As for deterrence. It only works if you’re prepared to ruin lives – in other words there has to be some form of punishment involved. The current government is stepping into that territory much to their shame (yes, I don’t always agree with what this government does).

            Otherwise in the absence of a punishing regime, whether that’s lengthy detention, TPVs, or sending the Navy out to sink boats, the numbers coming are purely to do with the level of distress out there in the region.

      • ungulate
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink |

        The Liberals have form.

        Every single major progressive reform of the past, the Liberals just say no.

        Snowy Hyrdo. University education for the non-privileged. Reticulated sewage for cities. Medicare. Superannuation. And now the NBN and renewable energy. And that’s the very short list. Every single time, the conservatives reject the future.

        The only difference this time is the sheer scale of the intellectual dishonesty, the extent to which ignorance and fear is being manipulated, and the Tea Party tactics.

    21. Hubert Cumberdale
      Posted 22/10/2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink |

      Don’t forget Abbott said the NBN was “unnecessary”. Remember this line people. Keep it in mind whenever liberal party or national party members complain about the NBN rolling out in “labor seats”.

    22. Tinman_au
      Posted 22/10/2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink |

      My understanding of how the cost arrangements are for the NBN is that NBNCo effectively incurs the debt while the government is basically just a guarantor?

      Is this not correct?

      • Michael
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink |

        The Govt has borrowed the funds for the NBN and then given it to NBN Co’ as equity. Then the Govt is expecting to be payed back at the IRR over 20+ years. This allows the NBN Co’ to utilise to Aust Govt bond rate to minimise funding expenses.

    23. Grey Wind
      Posted 22/10/2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink |

      Abbott tries and fails to exploit the ignorance of the masses and fails, because the majority of australians are for the NBN. Turnbull tries and fails to placate the tech literate with his FTTN solution and also fails because FTTN is a stupid waste of money.

      • Brendan
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink |

        “Abbott tries and fails to exploit the ignorance of the masses and fails, because the majority of australians are for the NBN.”

        Actually, he’s been pretty successful in undermining the policy. NBNco are spending time having to refute various (often ridiculous) claims raised by the Leader of the Opposition, and at least one paper (with a reasonable circulation number) is happy to back that to the hilt.

        Turnbull is happy to agitate from the sidelines.

        What’s become evident, however, is the apparent anger towards Gillard has abated a bit. Neilson polls are showing all sorts of interesting shifts. None of them good for Abbott.

        At some point, people expect answers. Abbott has the market for rhetoric cornered, and that will always whip up support in right-wing corners, but that will only ever get you so far. He has no answers.

        The last election was pretty much the Coalitions to lose. They did, because in the current L/NP, policies are less favoured over argumentative supposition. It’s the lazy way out.

        Poke holes in the other side’s policies, lest you be discovered for the swiss cheese lie of your own.

        FTTN is a dead end street. It has nowhere to go and is reliant on copper that Telstra have no interest in maintaining. Fibre is the technology of choice. They’ve already moved on. It’s about time the Shadow minister, and the L/NP did the same.

        • Paul Thompson
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink |

          It’s a silly situation. The Coalition sell FUD, then NBNCo have to spend more to clarify what the facts actually are, then the Coalition cry foul over the extra money.

          The problem is that they are the entire cause for the extra money on education and clarificationto be needed.

      • Michael
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink |

        “The last election was pretty much the Coalitions to lose.”

        To give that some historical perspective; Australians do tend to give elected governments a chance to carry out their mandates. This is shown by the fact that a first term government has not lost a federal election since 1920-30s.

        • ungulate
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink |

          If the Liberals are foolish enough to implement the Atomic Banana, they might just be the next one term government :)

        • Doug
          Posted 23/10/2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink |

          Quote “To give that some historical perspective; Australians do tend to give elected governments a chance to carry out their mandates. This is shown by the fact that a first term government has not lost a federal election since 1920-30s.” End quote.

          In the 2008 election (John Howard’s 2nd) the Coal. regained Govt only by the number of bums on seats due a quirk in our electoral system. The majority of votes went to the ALP not the Coal. and their policies, including the GST. “Australians” voted for the ALP and their policies.

    24. Kevin Cobley
      Posted 22/10/2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink |

      I wish Peter Costello would come back, then we could have Abbott and Costello.

      • Michael
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink |

        I really wish we had the old treasury department that existed under costello. The one that underestimated the budget every year instead of overestimating it. Then the 40bn for the NBN would be just 2 years surplus.

      • midspace
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink |

        That’s probably way Costello left.
        So he wouldn’t be badgered with innane audio clips of “Heyyyyy, Abbott!”

    25. midspace
      Posted 22/10/2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink |

      The more this goes on, the more it looks like they are playing good cop-bad cop.
      Or in this case, good cop-stupid cop.
      As we continue to November 2013, I would not be surprised they continue to highlight MT’s good points whilst making TA as a fool.

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink |

        “As we continue to November 2013, I would not be surprised they continue to highlight MT’s good points whilst making TA as a fool.”

        Such as? Turnbull is more knowledgable and therefore a much more convincing liar?

        • Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink |

          Turnbull is more knowledgable and therefore a much more convincing liar?

          Let’s go with that one.

        • TechinBris
          Posted 24/10/2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink |

          All Politicians are lairs. If anyone hasn’t figured that out, well I guess they’ll believe every promise the politicians make at the next election. LOL Dumb and Dumber.
          But then MT has greater intellectual capacity by far than Abbott, so that alone guarantees he will be a more convincing liar. Abbott still hasn’t learned that soon as he uses his favorite 3 word slogans, it has us all scrambling for the buttons to go to ANYTHING else but listen to that moronic utterance again.

    26. Observer
      Posted 22/10/2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink |

      “If you want to look up a good investigative journalist: Hedley Thomas.”

      From the Australian, of course, where the truth always prevails.

      Michael, your strong pro-coalition views are obvious to anyone. There is no need to share with us your idea of what good journalism is.

      “If you do not like what it presents, do not support it and it will eventually go broke if enough people agree with you.”

      This is happening increasingly with mainstream media.

      • Michael
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink |

        Why should where he works be important? Why not what he has done in the past?

        Hedley Thomas won the 2007 Walkey award for his coverage of the Dr Haneef story and his treatment by the Howard Govt. He also worked to expose the AWB scandal in 2003.

        Unfortunately the current government has more scope to commit mistakes as they have power and responsibility over the country. Why should it shock anyone that there are more negative stories about the actions of the current government than the opposition given that government policies have a direct effect on our lives when opposition policies do not. This is not excusing the opposition (minor parties as well) from criticism but just commenting that the government of the day should expect the highest degree of scrutiny whether they are ALP or LNP.

        Observer, yes I have conservative views, but just reading the majority of comments it is obvious the vast majority of commentators here are far left. I do not attack people for citing crikey or other far far left blogs and I would respect that you do not attack respectable institutions based upon name instead of content.

        Btw – If you are interested in objective (light satirical commentary), I would suggest reading the Cut & Paste section in the Australian. It is only quotes (fully referenced) but does highlight when people engage in hypocrisy / double standards.

        • Observer
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink |

          “Why should where he works be important? Why not what he has done in the past?”

          Because the paper he works for has a well document bias towards the NBN and other topics and has often been caught out making outlandish claims.

          “Observer, yes I have conservative views, but just reading the majority of comments it is obvious the vast majority of commentators here are far left”

          I am genuinely interested in to why people of you political persuasion always label those who don’t agree with your views as “far left”. Some people are capable of views on various topics free of political party’s influences. I do not need politicians to guide my views. I am quite capable of forming an independent judgement. In fact, the last people I would listen to for advice would be politicians.

          • Hubert Cumberdale
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink |

            “I am genuinely interested in to why people of you political persuasion always label those who don’t agree with your views as “far left”.”

            Conservatives typically label anyone not agreeing with their views as “far left” because it is simply easier and well known tactic used with the aim of silencing critics.

            • Michael
              Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink |

              Silencing debate…

              I have nothing wrong with anyone have a bias or supporting any particular group. I do not see how labelling people as being on the “left” or “far left” is silencing debate any more than people calling me “very conservative”.

              Climate change denier
              Only morally responsible position (Refugees / Climate change / ..)- Therefore are all others immoral?
              The Gay marriage debate was a classic case of denigrating any opposing views.

              These are all examples of where the progressive class which once so strongly advocated freedom of expression is now attempting to restrict it where it comes into conflict with other ideas. Allow all opinions to flourish and laugh / debate away poor ones. The best ones will survive as they have evidence and conviction to back them up.

              Hubert, probably the largest reason I would call this group of commentators generally left leaning is the preponderance of abuse towards the LNP (not only on NBN policy) which goes unchallenged and applauded.

              • Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:48 pm | Permalink |


                In general, I’d agree with you. There are several left leaners in this crowd. As you say, that’s obvious from the abuse they afford to the Coalition in general. And to be more specific, personal attacks on members like Abbott or Turnbull.

                I try myself to avoid this sort of talk, although I have engaged in it occasionally when in a bad mood. But I think in general it is one of the problems in Australian politics. That essence of….abuse, that doesn’t actually help in any debate. I think we’re all guilty of it at times. But some, on both sides, don’t know when to lay off.

                I don’t think it’s fair to label the majority here “left leaners” though. I’ve seen some pretty vitriolic dissent against Labor from some of these same people on data retention. It is simply the way they talk.

                It would be fantastic if we could, for once, just have a discussion about the NBN. But I admit, that’s never going to happen. Its’ debate touches on the baser instincts in politics and ideology- government provisions for the people. It is a topic that will be debated for YEARS to come, even IF it quietens down should, for example, Labor win next year and it becomes obvious it would be ridiculous to try and cancel it in 2016.

                I can say however, I’m sick of this nonsense from Abbott. And I’m sick of it from Turnbull. Julia might’ve been disingenous. But at least she’s not an outright hypocrite on any policy time and time again. More importantly than that though, I CANNOT understand the simple lying down and acceptance of Coalition MP’s on Abbott’s stance on the NBN when, particularly the Nationals KNOW it is the right plan (seeing as they came up with it….). I’m sorry, but with this attitude at the moment of “always obey the leader, regardless of the hypocrisy” from the Coalition does not instill any confidence in me that the Coalition, under Abbott, is ready to lead this country again.

                • NBNAccuracy
                  Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink |

                  “As you say, that’s obvious from the abuse they afford to the Coalition in general. And to be more specific, personal attacks on members like Abbott or Turnbull.”

                  You don’t have to be left or abuse the Coalition to make comments about Abbott or Turnbull. I usually vote Coalition and I do make negative remarks about Abbott and Turnbull, purely based on their words and behaviour.

                • Michael
                  Posted 22/10/2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink |

                  A valid point you raise.

                  How would you separate abuse directed at an MP (or party) from criticism based upon their policies?

                  To me they are separate while one is justifiable the other is just lowering the bar.

              • Michael
                Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:07 pm | Permalink |

                I know, I can just get riled up at times. I do also feel that it is worthwhile challenging what I see as mis-statements or repeating spin.

                My personal view is that since so much of the NBN is tied up in contracts that a coalition govt will be able to do very little to alter it. (I have heard from a now retired senior consultant in the IT industry that Malcolm has privately told Conroy to tie up the NBN in contracts so that the coalition has to proceed with it).

                I agree with a lot of the statements here which is why I do not debate them and for others I do not have the technical knowledge of many of you. I do strongly feel that the coalition has room to make a better NBN policy which could include some FTTN in blackspots which are at the end of the FTTP rollout (meeting minimum internet goals) and altered pricing plans to ensure higher levels of transperancy and lower prices.

                • Mud Guts
                  Posted 22/10/2012 at 10:42 pm | Permalink |

                  @ Michael

                  Regarding Turnbull/Conroy and the private conversation, I wish it were so, but find it hard to believe.

                  There is zero credibility with the Coalition now and I still believe Abbott will go out of his way to can the NBN.

                • ungulate
                  Posted 22/10/2012 at 10:56 pm | Permalink |

                  Sounds like a bit of a yarn to me.

                  About the only germ of truth here is that NBNco could make it more difficult for the Liberals in several ways.

                • Michael
                  Posted 22/10/2012 at 11:45 pm | Permalink |

                  Unfortunately I cannot back it up with direct evidence.

                  As circumstancial evidence I offer how the LNP’s position how morphed from No NBN into something similar in its current form.

                  In addition look at Turnbulls private investments for indications of his personal opinions instead of his public policy.

                  It isnt much but a minister acting within tight party guidlines seems to fit his profile.

                  For those arguing why party loyalty should not be adhered to?
                  Look at the disasterous leaks for the ALP during the last election. Look at all of the sniping between Julia and Kevin. Irrespective of who is in power the entire party is elected to govern for all of Australia and have a responsibility to do so. Destabilising your own party is not the best method to improve Australia’s governance.

              • Hubert Cumberdale
                Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink |

                “I have nothing wrong with anyone have a bias or supporting any particular group. I do not see how labelling people as being on the “left” or “far left” is silencing debate any more than people calling me “very conservative”. “

                Except I didn’t call you “very conservative”. You called yourself “conservative” and that is the exact same word I used in my comment to answer Observers question. I generally don’t label any specific person left, right, far or otherwise unless it’s something they have already mentioned. It’s not my style. If you call yourself conservative or very conservative then it is a label you have bestowed upon yourself. In my experience labelling others “far left” when you have specifically admitted you yourself are “conservative” almost always means distinct lack of respect from the person using the label (and yes spare me the whining, the opposite is true too). It’s just another tactic used with the goal to silence whoever they might disagree with.

                “I would call this group of commentators generally left leaning is the preponderance of abuse towards the LNP”

                boo hoo? yes, yes, now we play the victim card. Listen I can’t speak for anyone else here or their political leanings (like I said it’s not my style) I can only speak for myself. I don’t like the liberal party. I don’t like the labor party. I don’t like the national party and believe it or not I’m not even that fond of the greens. The only thing I am in favor of for the purpose of this debate is the NBN, the parties/politicians in favor of it will get my temporary respect and/or admiration the rest will rightly so get my criticisms which you have conveniently labelled “abuse”. It’s funny but we all know conservatives are the original bullies yet when given a taste of their own medicine they are the first to bitch and moan, you’d think they have more backbone, even something innocuous such as criticising a political party brings on a torrent of tears. Get out. I won’t placate you or anyone else. I have a right as a voter and an Australian to criticise any party or politician I see that would be detrimental to this country. Politicians in this group today belong to the liberal and national parties (aka the coalition of clowns).

                • Observer
                  Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink |


                • Stephen
                  Posted 23/10/2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink |

                  +1 also.
                  The party system is a great way of making our parliament an unrepresentative duopoly. It serves those in the parties, a continually diminishing group who seek power, and not the citizens of Australia.

                  • TechinBris
                    Posted 24/10/2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink |

                    Our Duopoly is very unrepresentative and has been so for a long time.

        • Observer
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink |

          Thank you for your suggestion about the satirical humour but there many other sources of amusement when it comes to politicians’ pronoucements.

          Given that a great deal of your information seems to come from the Australian, it may be a good idea for you , not so much to broaden your reading, but accept that some people may have a point, even if does not concur with your conservative views.

          What we are yet to hear from you is whether or not you support the concept of an NBN in its present form.

        • Michael
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink |

          I have in the past stated my views on the NBN and it would take too long to state them again. I have had some good discussions with Seven_tech about it.

          The main reason I make a lot of the comments here is that I see what I feel are large misconceptions and pure ALP spin being repeated. That is why I challenge people to defend their views. You can check at my post history, I do not hesitate to acknowledge when I am wrong but I do enjoy playing devil’s advocate and I strongly dislike hypocrisy and double standards.

          But you still prefer to allow your preconcieved view of the journalist in question to override any facts on offer. Since he works for the “hate media” he cannot have legitimate views. If you took the time to look at his biography and past work, you would find he was just as strongly against the Howard Govt as he is against the Gillard Govt.

          By ignoring all sources of opinion you can miss out on articles by people who have done real leg work instead of swallowing government press releases.


          (Given the strong anti-Oz bias I would be more likely to post articles since I can assume that many commentators have not read them. Whether or not you agree with them is upto you but atleast consider the facts.)

    27. Observer
      Posted 22/10/2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink |

      “But you still prefer to allow your preconcieved view of the journalist in question to override any facts on offer.”

      I do not have preconceived views. In fact, have no view about this journalist. I certainly do not rely on one journalist for my information.

      As for the newspaper he works for, as you suggested before :”If you do not like what it presents, do not support it”. Well, I don’t.

      “The main reason I make a lot of the comments here is that I see what I feel are large misconceptions and pure ALP spin being repeated. That is why I challenge people to defend their views.”

      So, Michael to the rescue, trying to re-educate the misguided and the ALP brainwashed. Has it even occurred to you that you could be the misguided or brainwashed one?

      Although I accept that any discussion involving policies are political, i getting increasingly tired of reading threads about various topics on the internet when the discussion is eventually hijacked by left and right wing devotees arguing about the same old topics, many of which are irrelevant to the original proposition.

      • Michael
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink |

        ““If you want to look up a good investigative journalist: Hedley Thomas.”

        From the Australian, of course, where the truth always prevails. ”

        The sarcasm and disdain come through strongly. Correct me if i’m wrong but the strong implication is that by association you cannot trust the person who works at the Aust.

        “So, Michael to the rescue, trying to re-educate the misguided and the ALP brainwashed. Has it even occurred to you that you could be the misguided or brainwashed one?”

        Yep, that is why I enjoy having a good debate. I will consider your points and if you can convince me otherwise I will have learnt something new and that is a good outcome. If I can convince someone else then that is also well. If people choose not to listen then that is their choice.

        • Observer
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:45 pm | Permalink |

          “The sarcasm and disdain come through strongly. Correct me if i’m wrong but the strong implication is that by association you cannot trust the person who works at the Aust.”

          Sarcsm, yes, disdain, no.

          I never said anything about trust. I have just not interest in anything originating from the Australian.

        • Michael
          Posted 22/10/2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink |

          Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I just find it sad that you would not give his work a chance before dismissing it. However, it is your choice.

          • Observer
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 8:45 pm | Permalink |

            I can only repeat my previous comment:

            As for the newspaper he works for, as you suggested before :”If you do not like what it presents, do not support it”. Well, I don’t.

            Which means I have no interest in this newspaper or anyone who works for it. I don’t think it’s sad. It makes sense to me not to support a publication which publishes lies and misrepresents to suit its agenda.

            I am sure there are a lot of very talented writers out there that I will never have the privilege to read. Nevertheless, I am quite confident that I will survive undiminished.

          • TechinBris
            Posted 24/10/2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink |

            After reading so much from the Australian that was so lacking in reality and mathematics, I really wondered if I had woken up in the Universe of the Atomic Bananas.
            Hence, to stop looking at my ice pick so longingly, I ceased paying The Australian any credence in order to hold onto sanity and my ability to do mathematics that actually work for electronics.
            They lost their cred by their own hand. They now have an uphill battle to regain any cred in the market. It’s only a Blüt Blatt now. If your into Noe-Con propaganda, enjoy! Just give me facts and I’ll make up my own mind without being told to conform with what I am told.
            I am a center progressive. I believe in looking at history and not promises for making my decisions politically. I know we will all make mistakes, but if we learn from them, then that is good. But to consider to repeat the same mistakes again and again for the sake of a few people who did well out of it, that is foolishness on an unforgivably stupid scale.
            Australia once had a strong spirit of egality which helped us rise up to take our place in the world. Who clubbed it and trussed it up for sacrifice on the Altar of Mammon? I just hope we can rescue Egality before we all sink into a self absorbed civil war with each other on who can carve up the most for themselves at the expense of everyone else. I’d rather humanity to prevail over wealth creation any day because one will help others whilst the other only kills.
            If the current Coalition wanted to hold up a reasonable argument that made sense, then it might have a chance. But to go the way of the Tea Party has made absolute fools of themselves? It might be entertaining, but having a Village Idiot in charge of a Nation for entertainment value? Uuhh, no thank you!
            It was the hard math that finally had me dismiss the current Coalition as a Ship of Fools. I have heard so much mantra to justify the Coalition’s stance, but the maths lets it down every time. Please spare us, as there are few you will convince, as we’ve all heard it before. We’ve done the maths.
            But if you want to entertain, be original. Otherwise it is predictable and boring hearing the same thing over and over that has been discredited already in so many ways.

    28. Stephen H
      Posted 22/10/2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink |

      Well derailed thread, people.

      To talk about the actual article briefly, what Abbott is proposing is to “pause” the NBN, leading to some big expenses relating to breaching contracts. Let me repeat that, expenses. They’re not off the books, they are directly against the bottom line.

      This suggestion, to an accountant, is saying “instead of continuing investing in an asset, we’re going to take a big write-down as soon as we get into office”.

      Now, one more time, which is worse? Business as usual while you think about what you really need to do, or an immediate “pause” that will incur significant penalties that go straight against your precious budget?

      • ungulate
        Posted 22/10/2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink |

        Its not just economically wrong, its also politically inadvisable to delay and/or cancel work on the NBN.

        It actually gets more complex than this because there is a long pipeline of activity and its easier to speak of this by being concrete.

        At the time of the election about 750,000 premises will have fibre available or connected. At the same time construction will have commenced for another million premises.

        Behind that is the pipeline of activities already undertaken within NBNco itself – before the work is handed off to its contractors.

        So, its hard to understand what “pause” can actually mean.

        And it also depends on the details of what NBNco’s contracts look like.

        If the contract looks like there is an agreed price per unit of work, once handed over, then you could plausibly suggest that NBNco could halt, or slow issue of work onto its contractors. And then only once that occurs is NBNco obliged to pay.

        However, its also probably that the pipeline itself is threaded into the contracts, so that the contractors have some certainty of business going forward.

        Its quite likely that “putting a hold” on the NBN really means stopping the commencement of new construction after some date that’s possibly 12 to 18 months into the future.

        If that’s so, half the country will have fibre before the pipeline empties.

        And its worthwhile pointing out here also that the Atomic Banana would take 2 to 3 years to get going. So by 2016 the fibre build could be winding up whilst the Atomic Banana is only getting started.

        Politically that’s a one way ticket to Hell and I’m pretty sure Turnbull knows that. Whether Abbott has even begun to understand this is a moot point.

        Both of them are lying, but whereas Turnbull knows his atomic banana cannot be implemented, Abbott hasn’t gotten this far.

        • Posted 22/10/2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink |

          Where the ‘eff did all this “atomic banana” crap come from?

          • Mud Guts
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink |

            @Michael Wyres from Whirlpool and the threads about the Coalition’s NBN policy.

            The Atomic Banana is my term and is used to describe the half arsed bastardised approach of the Coalition.

            If’s faster to use Atomic Banana than FTTN, HFC, fixed wireless, satellite blah blah blah that the coalition will fall back on.

            • Posted 23/10/2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink |

              I think I’d rather not have Delimiter turn into Whirlpool.

            • GongGav
              Posted 24/10/2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink |

              I always took the term ‘atomic banana’ to refer to the mystical technology that will make FttH obsolete. As in, the fantasy land that LNP live in thinking that a step backwards to FttN was somehow justifiable.

              • TechinBris
                Posted 14/11/2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink |

                The Atomic Banana Universe, to me, is just a Fool’s paradise. It might be fun to visit, but I don’t think many would really want to live in it.

          • ungulate
            Posted 22/10/2012 at 11:01 pm | Permalink |

            I like the term “atomic banana” because it simplifies the express “a course of action whereby NBNco is directed to redesign, using FTTN, or other technologies and has to issue an updated business plan and also renegotiate withTelstra, Optus, and other stakeholders, deal with the regulatory requirements, redo its contracts and generally stuff around for 2 to 3 years”

            Atomic Banana sort of sums it up! :)

            Oh and I use the term “Atomic Banana Universe” to refer to that alternative universe we enter in the unlikely event that the Liberals actually choose to go down the atomic banana route.

            • Stephen
              Posted 23/10/2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink |

              But isn’t it a reference to an XKCD comic which was about the relatively tiny amounts of radiation that are often misrepresented in the press as being dangerous?


              See the top left of the chart for radiation from a banana. Which is to say all bananas are atomic and but the issue is minuscule. So surely an atomic banana would be an issue blown well out of proportion?

    29. DinoTerrific
      Posted 22/10/2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink |

      “Now, if we can get our borders under control, if we can pause with unnecessary white elephants such as the National Broadband Network, I am confident that we can make the savings that will be needed to give the forgotten families of Australia the cost of living relief that they deserve.”

      Sorry Abbott but with policies like yours you will not even see the next election little known win it. You seem to be stuck in the Dark Ages with no foresite of the future whatsoever. I’m calling it now, you’re gone.

    30. Posted 23/10/2012 at 9:12 am | Permalink |

      Negative economy. The longer you pause it, the longer it will take to pay it off. Just finish it!

    31. NBNJames
      Posted 23/10/2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink |

      Abbott and TurnBULL need to take note that the NBN has a growing popularity amongst the Australian population who are coming to recognise it as an “Infrastructure of the future”.
      Going to an election with a “Cancelling” or “Pausing” policy towards this critical project will merely show how narrow sighted and visionless their party and specifically their Leader and Communications minister really are. Changing to FTTN will mean going back to the drawing board with Telstra – and there goes another 3 years ! ..by which time FTTN will become even less viable.

    32. RocK_M
      Posted 23/10/2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink |

      Honestly not surprised… it doesn’t matter what topic it will be Abbott will with out pause link it to

      It’s like listening to a broken record.

      Just for once I would love to have him surprise me and answer back w/ a *proper* policy. on *ANYTHING*

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 13/11/2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink |

        I think he’s incapable of proper policy RocK_M, which is scarey. He is good at opposition, but he has shown no skill/talent at all for what would be required to run a country as an actual Prime Minister. Any time the interviews get off the Libs talking points of the day, he looks kind of lost and says some rather silly things.

        Tony is just not a builder…

    33. Goresh
      Posted 13/11/2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink |

      “Many in Australia’s technology sector have long suspected that there is a substantial gulf between Turnbull and Abbott when it comes to the NBN. ”

      I believe that this is by design.

      They want people to hear the message they want to hear in order to get them to vote for them and the reality is that people do indeed filter conflicting messages this way.
      By promising diametrically opposed outcomes, they get everyones vote and can deliver whatever outcome they want once elected.

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