Turnbull faces questions on NBN journalist bullying


news Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has faced a number of questions from the media over the past 24 hours as to whether his actions towards ABC journalist Nick Ross and others has constituted ‘bullying’ journalists with respect to the contentious National Broadband Network issue in his portfolio.

On Monday night, the ABC’s Media Watch program went into detail to examine the coverage of ABC Technology + Games Editor Nick Ross with respect to the NBN. The program broadly supported Ross’s approach of deeply analysing the different NBN policies espoused by the Government and the Coalition, praising the grounding of Ross’s articles in research and his attempt to get to the truth of the debate, rather than merely reporting each sides’ claims.

However, the program also found that Ross had stepped over the line a little into ‘advocacy’ for Labor’s vision for the NBN. It’s an issue which Turnbull has raised repeatedly with respect to the media over the past year. In November 2012, for example, Turnbull accused Australia’s media of having a “cheerleader” approach to the NBN and of being parochial; and in another example in August Turnbull claimed “specialist technology journalists were fanning a pro-NBN zealotry among tech-savvy citizens”.

In July Turnbull accused Ross personally of creating “relentless propaganda” to support Labor’s flagship National Broadband Network project, in a stance which the Shadow Communications Minister described as “embarrassing”.

Despite the criticism, Ross’s articles have been very positively received by Australia’s technology sector, which retains significant concerns about the viability of the Coalition’s NBN policy. An article of significant length published by Ross several weeks ago received 438 comments, with the majority praising Ross’s work for its analysis and detail, in a media environment in which few journalists have challenged disputed claims the Coalition has made regarding the NBN. In addition, other media outlets have started to use Ross’s work as a basis for investigating the differences between the two policies. This week, for example, Channel 10’s The Project television show used Ross’s work extensively in sharply questioning Turnbull on his rival NBN policy.

Last Friday, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy accused Turnbull of “constantly attacking and trying to bully” some of the ABC’s journalists on the issue.

In a doorstop interview yesterday associated with the Government’s response to media reform, Turnbull was asked by an ABC journalist whether he could see a role for the public media advocate which Conroy has suggested creating to mediate in the Liberal MP’s dispute with Ross over the NBN. “Have you been bullying journalists?” was the next question. And then: “What did you think of Media Watch last night?”

In response, Turnbull said he had watched the Media Watch episode. He added: “Look I think – journalists can only be bullied if they want to be bullied. I’m not in the business of bullying. I used to be a journalist. Journalists are very contra-suggestible. I think if you try to bully journalists, invariably it’s not going to be successful. So I always express my view and frankly thanks to the Internet, social media, the web, my blog, I’m in a position where I’m able to get my views out there. I don’t have to grovel to a producer or an editor to get my stuff into the mainstream media. And that’s one of the ways in which the Internet has revolutionised communications, including political communications.”

And then later on in the same interview, after being persuaded to answer one last question, he joked: “How could I bully journalists? I’m putty in your hands.”

In a separate interview this week on ABC Radio Melbourne, the issue was raised again by host Jon Faine. “Well, you’ve made a complaint about an ABC editor’s coverage of Senator Conroy’s plan and the ABC upheld your complaint and Senator Conroy says that’s wrong,” said Faine.

In response, Turnbull highlighted Media Watch’s comments about Ross’s advocacy. “… clearly he is an advocate for a particular policy as opposed to being an analyst and I think that’s a fair comment. But Ross is an unusual fellow in some respects, I mean you saw his performance at that press conference in Queensland where I think he interrupted me 16 times and was pretty rude. It sort of shocked everyone there,” Turnbull said.

“And then, of course, he came on your show last week and said I’d accused him of being corrupt. I’ve never accused him of being corrupt. As indeed Jonathan Holmes acknowledged. So, he’s pretty wild in what he says. I think if you’re writing a blog for the ABC I think it’s important to be balanced and measured, that doesn’t mean you can’t have opinions, but I think –”

Faine then asked Turnbull whether it was legitimate for ABC journalists to have opinions.
“I think it’s a question of how they’re expressed and whether they’re fairly acknowledging the position of the other side,” said Turnbull. “I’ll say one thing – this will annoy some people in the tech journalism world – but I’ll just make this comment. You and I are of an age when journalists doing their work used to pick up the telephone and actually call people and talk to them. Of course you do that for a living, you have to in radio.”

“Quite a lot of these tech journos, so called, live in sort of self-referencing bubble where all of their “research” is basically looking at stuff online and they’re very reluctant to actually speak to anybody and one of my criticisms of ABC’s coverage of the NBN has been that they have not gone to the effort, and I cannot understand why they haven’t, of actually interviewing people at, for example, British Telecom in London and ABC’s got a big office in London. BT is taking the sort of hybrid technology agnostic approach to building broadband that we’re proposing and they’re doing it and yet that doesn’t get — you know, it’s as though the debate here is in this a sort of bubble as if Australia wasn’t part of the world.”

Do I think Turnbull is bullying journalists, and do I think he is bullying Nick Ross? No. Personally I have always found Turnbull’s office very easy and pleasant to deal with. We’ve had our odd spats, but in general I would say that Turnbull and his team work more closely with and understand the media better than do most other politicians and their staff. What’s been going on is more or less the normal cut and thrust of politics and the media.

We need only remind ourselves of the way which Conroy’s own office went into clampdown mode during the height of Labor’s Internet filter controversy, or how Labor’s series of Attorney-Generals have refused to answer questions about data retention or Internet piracy policies, to see how it’s actually usually been Labor over the past few years which has had an acrimonious relationship with the press. (Of course, things have broadly changed for the better with respect to Conroy’s office now that the filter policy is dead. Conroy really understands the tech media now and he and his office do a very good job of dealing with us.)

However, I do think what Turnbull is doing is bullying the public.

What Nick Ross’s work does a great job of highlighting is that Turnbull and the Coalition have simply not presented enough evidence to make their case that the NBN project as a whole is off the rails and needs to be substantially re-focused around fibre to the node. There is, on the contrary, a great deal of evidence that the Australian public overwhelmingly supports the NBN and that it is currently broadly on track, and certainly within the broad boundaries for this kind of infrastructure project.

Turnbull is an intelligent, thoughtful politician who usually relies on his research skills and charisma to work on issues. And in the past he’s been highly successful using this approach. However, in the case of the NBN, what’s happening is that the Member for Wentworth is broadly finding himself on the wrong side. Turnbull is usually an agent for positive progress, intelligent industry and rational thinking. But the facts of the matter are that Labor appears to have gotten its NBN policy more or less right — it’s popular, it will deliver substantial broadband service delivery benefits using the best technology, and it is on track.

In this context, Turnbull has very little room to criticise the NBN; and so he’s increasingly becoming a little shrill in his attempts to find grounds to do so; he’s criticising journalists where he would normally be charming them to be on his side; he’s resorting to stock phrases to try and get his point across, and he’s overall refusing to back down from what is just not a great Coalition policy.

In short, with the Coalition’s rival NBN policy, Turnbull is trying to push shit uphill, to use a colloquial term; to foist something on the public which it doesn’t really want.

If I were Turnbull and the Coalition, I would accept that the NBN project is going to go ahead and that it is the will of the Australian people that it do so. I would pledge to provide a safe pair of hands for the project. However, I would also promise to keep it on the straight and narrow. Fiscal accountability, great project management, retaining NBN Co’s executive team over long periods of time; these are the sorts of things I would promise the electorate. In short, still committing to the NBN, but keeping it on a tighter rein than Labor. In my opinion, this is the kind of thing the Australian public wants to hear from the Coalition in the broadband portfolio at the moment.

Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull


  1. > I cannot understand why they haven’t, of actually interviewing people at, for example, British Telecom in London and ABC’s got a big office in London. BT is taking the sort of hybrid technology agnostic approach to building broadband that we’re proposing

    Yes. Malcolm we get it. BT is rolling out VDSL. You’ve said it a thousand times now. We have looked at it. All of us. We still think it’s not the right way to go for Australia, and many have elaborated on the reasons why. For starters, BT owns, according to Ofcom statistics, just above 30% of the fixed lines in the UK. BT has an extensive copper network with short distances and relatively good quality. BT is a concern in competition with HFC providers. The circumstances here and in the UK are completely different and not least of all it’s because the coalition privatised Telstra together with its HFC network.

    Right now a call to BT will give you lots of info on how VDSL is good for them. And none of us dispute any of that. What we’re saying is that it’s apples and oranges. The priorities are different. If you have any problem at all with that, then here’s a solution. Make it an apples to apples comparison. You can do this by talking about what you’ll do to Telstra – i.e. what will happen to the HFC network, whether there’ll be a complete separation from its wholesale division or what will happen to NBN Co.

    But right now, it’s as if you were in the middle building a house and someone tells you that you could renovate your previous 50-year-old place that’s been falling apart instead, and is telling you to ring up a couple that did it with a place that’s quite differently built. Yes, thank you, we appreciate the sentiment. Now go away unless you have something other than apples and oranges to contribute.

    • Also, another thing is that in the UK, their rollout of ADSL2+ has been nowhere near advanced as it is here in Australia. It could also be considered a form of catch-up from that perspective. And yes, VDSL2 is amazing. It can do literally mind-blowing stuff with copper, especially when you include vectoring and bonding. From a technical perspective, VDSL2 is all measures of awesome. Anyone who doubts that for even a second is no true engineer or scientist. GPON is positively, embarrassingly dumb in comparison. But VDSL2 has pushed the envelope so far that there’s hardly any room left for further advances on copper. If a VDSL3 was possible and it’d quadruple speeds again you’d hear much, much less of a chorus for fibre at this point, and FTTH would remain a niche for a while yet.

      The performance VDSL2 can wring out is entirely dependent on the state of the copper and the distance from the node. While the amount of downloads according to the ABS is increasing 50% every year. Download speeds according to Cisco and Ookla are going up about 30% every year. In that backdrop it’s pretty quickly for an every increasing proportion of households (and artists/IT people/cloud backup users and people on bad copper already) not going to matter how awesome VDSL2 is (and it might quadruple your speeds) and how lyrical BT may be about using existing infrastructure to maximise their investment – even if that is also a beautiful thing to be appreciated.

      Hooray for BT by all means about pushing every cent out of their investment. But this isn’t the same as here in Australia, unless you also explain why. And simply saying that capital expenditure is a quarter or a third won’t do either.

      • VDSL2 is so amazing it manages a huge 3-4 Mbps upload speed? Somehow I don’t think that’s transformative technology.

        • Yes, this has been mentioned many times. Upload speeds on the 100mbp/s NBN plans are 40mbp/s. VDSL2 can achieve 100mbp/s down you’re connected 500 metres from the node but will only achieve 1-4mbp/s Up. My crappy ADSL 2 connection now achieves 1mbp/s Up, I think that is simply unacceptable and yet another reason why going FTTH is correct choice. Cloud storage and moving around large files (HD Video, Raw photo’s & cad file etc.) for viewing and collaboration are becoming increasingly important and I feel the slow upload speeds of VDSL2 will only limit these options. It’s worth noting VDSL2 can match FTTH when it comes to download speeds, the bottleneck than becomes upload speeds and isn’t much better than the 0.5-2mbp/s upload available with ADSL2 at the moment.

          • It’s also worth mentioning that SingTel owners of Optus Australia, commenced a VDSL2 trial in 2006. They never released any plans for VDSL2 and have since gone to FttH. As have many many other nations. Yet Turnbull uses examples of countries using Fibre to the Node successfully while ignoring the larger list of countries using or transitioning to FttH successfully. He’ll even mention countries using FttN such as the UK and completely ignore the fact that they successfully have FttH and that a British MP has praised our NBN. He seems so deadset on FTTN and will ignore any facts to the contrary despite those facts on a worldwide scale showing FttH is the way of the future. For this reason I think he’s bullying the media. Nick Ross is presenting the facts for FttH and rightfully so, Turnbull has ignored him and many others singing the same song. It’s an opinion that resonates throughout the tech community. It’s simple, Fibre to the Home is the infrastructure you want to be laying down in 2013+. If it was pre-2006 than VDSL2 would’ve been viable alternative but Telstra preferred to sit on it’s ADSL2 monopoly.

          • Actually, I don’t doubt that it’s possible that, if vectoring can be implemented, that we’ll see 10 Mbps upload on VDSL2 in a fair fraction of households. Far from a majority, but a 5 or 6 Mbps average upload speed I could see being likely after I’ve had a long look at overseas and the technology behind VDSL2. But to go any measure beyond that, there’s pretty much nothing that can be done without replacing the copper.

            Basically, VDSL2 is sufficient to do most everything for 90% of the population in terms of uploads. But as cloud computing advances, as online backups become more popular, as HD video streaming to other places becomes popular and as more and more people telecommute, that percentage is dropping fast. And at some time we’ll reach a point where it’s not economic – whatever the competitive environment is – to run copper at higher operational expenditure next to fibre with a much lower one.

      • > GPON is positively, embarrassingly dumb in comparison.

        That’s the beautiful part. VDSL needs all sorts of crazy tricks like vectoring to work well. GPON just uses a ‘plain old’ fibre line with plain old TDM and it works great.

        > If a VDSL3 was possible and it’d quadruple speeds again you’d hear much, much less of a chorus for fibre at this point, and FTTH would remain a niche for a while yet.

        The problem with copper is that every time you increase the speed, you shorten the effective distance. Compare the distance of each of the following, at which they can get ~90% of the maximum speed on typical copper:

        ADSL ~8mb @ 2km
        ADSL2+ ~20mb @ 1km
        VDSL ~80mb @ 500m
        VDSL2 ~200mb @ 200m

        The trend is obvious. Every time you boost the speed, you’re cutting the range in half; the speed at a fixed distance remains unchanged (or even drops). People who had 5Mbit ADSL in 2005 will be lucky to still have 5Mbit in 2015…it’s not unusual for the sync speed to drop a few % each year. xDSL vendors usually either ignore the distance when showing off their latest tech, or shift the goalposts. If you *always had* a node within 200m of every home, then VDSL and VDSL2 would both have been huge upgrades.

        VDSL3 could probably do 500Mbps, but at 100m. VDSL4 might do 1Gbps at 50m. By this point, you’ll have a node outside almost every home and you might as well just abandon the old copper/xDSL and run CAT6/Ethernet.

        • It’s possible to boost longer distance capacity. Although we’ve gone into the very quickly diminishing returns regime with ADSL2+ already.

          Despite attenuation at higher frequencies over long distances, if you can overcome that with LDPC, increasing the signal strength and downgrading to a very simple constellation like BPSK. Theoretically if you tried to put something through on 30 MHz over a kilometre and a half, it might just make it at a very low rate. Theoretically, sure, depending on the line. So I think that it’s possible for VDSL2 to have some benefit over longer distances than even ADSL2+. Again, theoretically.

          In practice however, it’s not worth it unless you’re already rolling out VDSL2 anyway. And your point is very very valid.

    • Turnbull makes reference to BT’s FTTN product “BT Infinity” On British TV, it’s advertised as “fibre optic technology” which is slightly misleading IMO.

      I was connected to the up to 40Mbps Infinity service when I lived in Winchester. Yes it was faster than my ADSL service, but it had the same problems that any copper based service has – the copper itself.

      I’ve said many times that no matter how much you polish a turd, it’s still a turd.

      Turnbull’s Atomic Banana is just a highly polished turd.

    • > Yes. Malcolm we get it. BT is rolling out VDSL. You’ve said it a thousand times now. We have looked at it. All of us.

      $5 says he wouldn’t have mentioned the UK at all if they had done govt-funded FTTP from the start. He’d just mention another country where a private company is doing FTTN.

      In short, he’s complaining about journalists not cherry picking examples to support his policy.

      • It is also hard to find another country in the world that is closing down existing infrastructure so that the ‘new’ infrastructure has a compulsory uptake if the residence wants fixed line BB and or voice.

        • Interesting that you emphasised ‘new’ infrastructure…

          It’s not only new it is improved.

          As such, you don’t have to look far at all to see, out with the old – in with the new, improvements happening everywhere.

          But please keep applying such ridiculous rules to the NBN only.

          • It does only apply to the NBN, unless you can point out another country where existing infrastructure is being shut down to make way for the Government fed monopoly?

          • Yes nice diversionary waffle and tap dancing…

            I’ll dumb it down for you.

            Old stuff is old – ye?

            New stuff is new – ye?

            When old stuff get’s too old that it can no longer do the job properly, it get’s renewed with new better stuff – ye?

            You never bought a new house, car, PC, or whatever, because the old one just wasn’t quite up to it anymore?

            So WTF is the problem with the NBN replacing the copper?

          • It’s New! It’s improved! It’s better! It sparkles!
            Sounds like a commercial Alain.
            Care to explain why what your advocating is better? You failed to really do so.

          • It’s New! It’s improved! It’s better! It sparkles!
            Sounds like a commercial Alain?
            Care to explain why what your advocating is better? You failed to really do so.

            Damn. I stuffed up the question mark. *blush*

        • alain, Telstra isn’t building the NBN.

          The BT example is an irrelevant comparison because the analogue of that would be Telstra rolling out FttN instead of NBNco rolling out fibre.

          Turnbull still assumes he can wiggle his nose, and just like “I dream of Jeanie” Telstra will magically start emulating the BT deployment. That’s about as out of touch as you can get.

          Thus the people that own the network that could have done the job, aren’t. What is the point of maintaing copper if it remains unused? Are you seriously suggesting Telstra should have to retain the copper network indefinitely?

          The board and shareholders do not agree with you. Telstra has signed a (very lucrative) deal to that affect.

          Move. On.

    • Personally, I think the internet does make you stupid. TV, Radio, Newspapers, magazines were bad enough in spreading misinformation, whether on purpose or just out of lack of diligence & does injustices to the wider population. With the internet age, there are too many hacks out there who claim to be “experts” and are quick to jump online to gather a mass following of the ignorant, eg. Renai & Nick Ross.

      So called people claim to have the truth, but do they? Can they claim their opinions as facts? or their internet based “research” as analysis? I’ve always been against popular culture be it disposable literature from Borders or the Aus financial review. The internet can magnify everything that is shallow and is used as a propaganda tool or one of self interest.

      So, in conclusion, I think the “hacks” should stop posting, and fanatics and whirlpool kiddies should just shut up for once.. Let’s see people who actually work in the industry or are industry experts in all aspects of the NBN project come out of present their case. I’m not really interested in listening to politicians or reading their phoney reports that they commission consultants to write up, which never surprisings supports their case and come with a very big price tag.

      • “Lack of diligence”? Insulting the majority of Delimiter Readers, insulting Renai directly? Questioning his journalistic integrity?

        I was going to point out industry support for the project, and all that, but frankly, since you speak of due diligence in research, I think you’re perfectly capable of searching for it yourself. I recommend you start with Google’s comments and go from there

        The come back here with your head filled with the evidence you so desire with the satisfaction that you yourself gathered it instead of some self proclaimed “expert” or some “kiddie” from whirlpool had tried to confuse you with links, or are you afraid that using the Internet for the wealth of information it contains will “make you stupid”?

        • Internet articles are often the lowest form, as the internet is a haven for arm chair experts to voice their misinformed views backed by their own poor research or lack of.

          I don’t even think people like Renai or Nick Ross should be posts so called “articles” as it certainly is not “journalism”. With the age of internet, there has been no improvement in quality, just more hacks. Will these guys ever report anything ground breaking? Haha doubt it… will they reveal anything that isnt already publicially available or common knowledge?

          Whats the point of adding your second hand opinion/analysis to political spin anyway? Unless you can offer something that isn’t already available or an opinion backed by expert knowledge of the subject matter or reference to it, who are you going to convince? I question why there needs to be a new article every week about the NBN unless there is something to report.

          I just call this Google journalism, just do your research from the internet, maybe from a hotel in bali or thailand, you dont have to actually speak to anyone in person or do any investigative work, just google your prejudice and google will find you numerous articles that agree with your worldview, pull out the bits of data you want, and slap the article together, upload and post.

          • Internet articles are often the lowest form, as the internet is a haven for arm chair experts to voice their misinformed views backed by their own poor research or lack of.

            And yet you talk of “due diligence”, it is as much up to the reader to determine creditability of an article as it is the author. It is a fallacy to suggest that because the quantity of journalist material has increased, the quality has decreased.

            I would argue that we are seeing two opposing facets of human interaction more thoroughly then they have before: the tendency people of for similar opinions to converge (the so called “armchair expert” problem you refer too) and the ability for information to rapidly spread.

            The only way you can fall victim to “armchair experts” is if you stick to reading only their content. You learn just as much from following those who oppose your view as following those who agree with you, with the exception of trolls, but that’s another problem entirely.

            I have personally formed my opinion from listening to hundreds of people, from experts in telecommunications, to analysts, to my 5 year old neighbour. I undergo due diligence by researching the validity of every claim that is made, and I am not alone in this behaviour. I have had everything from a boy barely out of high school describe economic theories relating to the NBN in more detail than the authors of the Economist, and I have even had a publicly renowned Telecommunications Analyst revert to slander.

            You assumption that those in “expert” positions are without agenda is a common fallacy, and yet you hypothetically claim that the so called “armchair experts” are somehow less credible? I don’t which claim is worse.

            I don’t even think people like Renai or Nick Ross should be posts so called “articles” as it certainly is not “journalism”.

            An article is a written work published in a print or electronic medium. It may be for the purpose of propagating the news, research results, academic analysis or debate. – Wikipedia

            Seems to me what what they right are very much articles. They are published in an electronic media, and they propagate news and stimulate debate. Similarly as far as I can tell they both fit the definition of a journalist rather well, unless you are using some other definition that I am not privy too?

            With the age of internet, there has been no improvement in quality, just more hacks.

            The burden of proof is on you to prove this statement if you wish us to believe it since you have asserted it.

            Will these guys ever report anything ground breaking? Haha doubt it… will they reveal anything that isnt already publicially available or common knowledge?

            Depends entirely on their definition. Nick’s Ross’ 7000 word article was ground breaking if you asked me, because it went away from reporting the traditional he said/she said you get in political commentary these days.

            Almost everything is publicly available today, this is what the Internet has done, the problem is that since there is so much information, even less of it is common knowledge. So, will they report anything that isn’t already publicly available? No. Will they report anything that isn’t already common knowledge? Yes, repetitively.

            Whats the point of adding your second hand opinion/analysis to political spin anyway? Unless you can offer something that isn’t already available or an opinion backed by expert knowledge of the subject matter or reference to it, who are you going to convince? I question why there needs to be a new article every week about the NBN unless there is something to report.

            If you’re referring to Renai’s articles, almost every article, apart from the occasion opinion piece he provides, is not already available, has an opinion backed by an expect knowledge or reference too.

            I think you fail to understand the point of journalism. It isn’t about convincing anyway. You may, as a journalist, add your two cents to the subject, but the majority of the time, you report the news.

            I just call this Google journalism, just do your research from the internet, maybe from a hotel in bali or thailand, you dont have to actually speak to anyone in person or do any investigative work, just google your prejudice and google will find you numerous articles that agree with your worldview, pull out the bits of data you want, and slap the article together, upload and post.

            So all the press conferences that Renai attends, all of the interviews he performs, all that, is irrelevant?

            I’ve pointed out to you how it is as much up to readers to do due diligence, and you sir, are very much guilty of not doing your due diligence when it comes to Renai’s work.

          • Herp derp, I was supposed to close the bold tag after the Wikipedia quote and reopen it before “you report the news”. Sorry Renai.

  2. The whole “journalist bullying” is now overshadowing the actual contents of Nick’s article.

    Why are people asking MT about Nick, rather than the contents of his article. Yes, you disagree MT and you think he’s biased. What about points that he’s brought up? Oh, you want to ignore the article, discredit the journalist and move back to controlling the discussion.

    The NBN is again going to be your achilles heel.

    • Massive +1. Attack the arguments with rational arguments. Ignoring it and just going after the journalist is a cheap tactic.

      • + an even bigger 1 :)

        Indeed it is a tactic, nothing else.

        Much like the people who comment here on behalf of MT/to support MT (and for no other reason). It’s the old smoke screen, if you are unable (and they are unable) to disprove Nick, the only alternative left is negativity/to try to belittle him.

        It’s cheap, it’s fucked, it’s (dare I say unAustralian) but hey it looks as though it may make TA our next PM, so politically it works.

        And apparently, that’s all that matters to some :/

        • “It’s cheap, it’s fucked, it’s (dare I say unAustralian) but hey it looks as though it may make TA our next PM, so politically it works.”

          Just think by this time next year we could have Abbott as our PM and Charles as our king. We dont have a choice about which inbred appears on our coins but we can avoid a train wreck when it comes to our PM. Seems most are content to believe the misinformation however.

          • There are plenty of examples from both sides,

            Since you have TA / MT covered I will give you a great example from Wayne Swan, In all of his “savings” totals he includes ALL of his tax increases.

            Yes thats right, for Wayne, a tax increase is a “saving”.

          • Yes but Michael, we are NOT fixated with politics here, we are concentrating on comms and the rest is just a side issue for reference.

            But please feel free to support the team as you do, after all, you did tell us previously, that you are a dyed in the wool conservative and as such will judge the world accordingly…

            As such fair enough, at least unlike your brethren you admit it and I admire your loyalty and honesty, even though I disagree with your sentiment :)

          • I’m just highlighting the hypcrisy of many of the posters here. They are willing to criticise one side of politics for one thing and then ignore it in the other. Same for one section of the media.

            This is not just in bringing in parallel issues. People will ignore it, if it agrees with their preconceptions and often support it but when it is challenging, they decry it.

          • Oh Michael, I am so tempted to point to a “Your logical fallacy is…” but I won’t as it is obvious.

          • You are right my post above is not worded well, but the best summary might be,

            neither side of politics is perfect.

          • That is insidiously funny! Mea Culpa! Mea Culpa!
            Maybe the answer is neither of the jerks they are offering but making them answerable to others that is too small to have power on their own. No, it is never held hostage as any of them can always still outnumber the others. That is how it is supposed to work. Not as they tell it should.
            Proportional Representation is the best check on excessive power in the wrong hands in a Representative Democracy. We use it all ready for half of the house. Implosion and doom and gloom is the same old scare tactics we get at every nexus of our evolution. Dare to evolve as death of our freedoms is all we will get with the current paradigm. Niether you or I should have the say in everyones future, but we all should.
            As much as you despise this, maybe our best hope of a vibrant healthy democracy is the technology of the Internet via network not saddled with conditions of the past era. We already know how empowering it is as it has grown in power. Imagine how much more it can be.
            That is what some are afraid of.

          • Exactly neither side is perfect… but you don’t really mean it do you?

            Because you told us before that you are dyed in the wool conservative…so??????

          • I must have missed that, but I’ll take your word.

            Interestingly, I didn’t like Abbott either, whatsoever, but I’m now starting to come around.

            I actually think that, although he has far right beliefs, in government I don’t think he’ll rock the boat too much and try for a easy as it goes pm-ship… but (unlike the NBN) I may be wrong :)

  3. Shrill, and tiresome … MT knows LNP solution is inferior. Saying tech people derive their knowledge within a self referencing bubble just shows an ignorance of the technical facts, and makes him look a fool

  4. Regardless of any bullying or bullying claims the hypocrisy of Turnbull is simply breathtaking. If only he applied the same amount of scrutiny to The Australian and other such propaganda machines as he has done to Nick Ross then perhaps we wouldn’t even need to discuss any media reform laws (That’s not an endorsement of Conroy’s proposal btw)

    • Thats one of the things that always makes me laugh as well HC. The Turnbulls hypocrisy over media bias is amazing.

      First to point the finget at pieces like Nick Ross, where they favor the Labor model, but as soon as there is a story against it, or favoring the Liberal model, then you see approximately 0% from him. With a 1% margin of error…

      He wants balance in the media, start preaching to both sides, not just the one questioning his stance.

    • I would personally love to see the level of scrutiny applied to the NBN project applied to most government press releases. It is sadly lacking. most of the time the MSM, fairfax and the ABC especially just repeat the government press release verbatim.

      A great example was back in the start of 2011 when S. Doug Cameron called it a “threat to democracy” The Australian’s reporting of leadership tensions in the ALP and the possibility of a challenge……

      • “I would personally love to see the level of scrutiny applied to the NBN project applied to most government press releases.”

        Just to clarify; you believe this is currently not happening?

        • Look at 2 cases,

          BER – There was no mention of a single problem about the program until a government inquiry was comissioned by The Age. Either a government inquiry was comissioned for no reason or somebody missed something for 6+ months.
          Btw just as an aside, the quoted fault rate for the BER was ~3% and the government has cited an abuse rate of 0.7% in the 457 visa program as justification for its crackdown.

          The Australian newspaper was strongly criticised by government figures including Doug Cameron for publishing stories about the chaotic behaviour of Kevin Rudd as PM. We only had to wait 1 year into JG’s term as PM for The Aust. to be vindicated with Wayne Swan and Conroy to use stronger language than they ever did.

          Was that irresponsible journalism?
          Biased reporting / bias by ommission?


          Reread my post, you got it the wrong way around. Or have a look at Hubert’s reply.

          • Right Michael, I’m not really interested in your examples, just a simple yes or no would have sufficed however it’s clear there is a great divide between NBN scrutiny and everything else. Why is that? Some could argue that the scrutiny applied to the NBN by the media is not balanced. I think if anything we need have a look at the biased reporting that is just accepted without question when it comes to this project. It’s not a threat to democracy to question this especially when they have a clear and blatant political bias, if they make claims they need to back those claims up with facts and so far with the NBN The Australian and other News Ltd publications have had very little facts.

          • Seriously as someone who “voted for John Howard” and saw his government sell Telstra (wrongly), sell a shit load of our gold ridiculously cheaply, introduce a GST (and try to do so on basic food – so the poor suffered) tell us interest rates will always be less under them and completely ignore our ailing comms…

            Then see the enemy ‘a socialist government’ gain power, build school halls for our kids, put insulation into everyday Aussies homes, oversee the lowest interest rates in history and want to build an NBN for all of the people…

            Well my attitude towards politics has changed…!

            Prove me wrong… Lib stalwarts

          • Greece, Spain, Italy, France, Portugal

            They all have low interest rates and large government spending programs. Must be good place to live.

          • @Michael

            Low Interest rates??? Greece’s are at what nearly 8%?? 1 Year’s are at over 10%. A HOME LOAN would be less than that here!!

            If you’re gonna argue at least do it rationally…

          • That is the interest rate split due to irresponsible government policies. Thanks for highlighting my point.

            The official interest rate is set by the EU, as they do use the Euro for currency but you are looking at the alternate interest rates (you quoted two non-specific rates) which are determined by the spread which is based upon the countries risk profile.

            Are you comparing Australia’s cash rate of 3% to Europes 0.25%?

            Or are you looking at Government bond prices? There is a spread of 1-2% for Australian Government Bonds and 7-15% for Greek bonds. This represents the perceived default risk of the countries.

            Australia has a AAA rating which is maintained by balancing the budget over the medium term while Greece is happy to run massive deficits to fund all the pet social spending programs without worrying over who / how they will be paid for.

          • @Michael

            Their interest rates internally are only that low BECAUSE of the EU. Left to their own devices, they’d have massive domestic interest rates.

            Australia has maintained decent interest rates even through the largest public spending campaign Australia has seen in decades. And you call that poor economic management??

          • I will agree, it is heartening that interest rates in Aus are non-zero as some people would prefer to see.

            (But just to avoid confusion Seven_Tech, the baseline for interest rates is usually the cash rate, if you are quoting other rates, please specify. There are a million different rates. 90/180 day bills, 1,3,5,10 year bonds, 1,3,5yr fixed, std variable mortgage etc etc.)

            It is a good sign that the mining and services sectors have been so strong in recent years. Not so good for retail and manufacturing.

            But I do not buy into the logic that just because one sector is doing well they need an extra tax to prop up sectors that are not doing well, should we not specialise into what we do well?

          • @Michael- you were the one talking interest rates and you never specified which ones. I did. Cash rates are important, but not SOLELY important.

            But I do not buy into the logic that just because one sector is doing well they need an extra tax to prop up sectors that are not doing well, should we not specialise into what we do well?

            You do realise that’s the cornerstone of a balanced economy, yes? Those sectors which do well by default lend more to the sectors that struggle as a result of their impact on the economy. Mining is ALSO a very unique sector- you truly believe we should let a finite resource be pulled out of the ground for as little as possible because we’re “good at it”?? Mining should be taxed heavily when doing well and eased off in retraction periods- why shouldn’t it?? Services and manufacturing should be more balanced. Mining is a NON-renewable sector and should be treated as such.

          • Good points.

            When you look at a closed economy it makes sense to have a breadth of different sectors to supply everything.

            However, when you have an open economy (international trade) would you still do a little bit of everything or specialise in what you are best at and then sell your excess overseas and make a profit? If you assume the other countries do the same, then everyone will produce more G&S, at lower prices for everyone. The price that we should sell at? The best that we can get.

            The problem with giving explicity to sectors which cannot survive without it, is the opportunity cost. There is another business somewhere, mining, mining consulting (very fast growing as a result of our mining sector, we now export our knowledge around the world, finance, IT, the list goes on) that has to miss out because those resources have been allocated to a less productive firm.

            As far as taxation on resources is concerned there are two main issues, the level of taxation and the method of taxation.

            The level of taxation will affect when they are mined, as although the resources are not mobile the capital flows are mobile between countries and it has been seen many times in the past that when a mine becomes unprofitable they will just shut it down. So you have to debate do you want to extract more now in the current boom, or more later hoping the price will be higer then? This also needs to take into account the time value of the funds as if the funds are invested well now they will have a compounding return in the future.

            The method (this is where my gripes lie). It is possible to tax on volume or profits. However, the resources are finite. I would rather we gained a fixed amount of income per resources dug up rather than a % of the profits sold. This would gaurantee a minimum return on all resources dug up instead of allowing companies to sell resources while paying almost nothing back to the taxpayer. To contrast the MRRT & RSPT, estimates show that the MRRT is raising almost nothing ~200m but for the RSPT it is likely that the government would have to PAY the miners.

          • Interest rates…LOL.

            The interest rates which (I believe) are at all time lows currently, but will “always” be less under a Coalition government… so said JWH, you mean :/

          • Interest rate are not set by governments and low interest rates point to weakness in the overall economy. The privatisation of Telstra has saved the taxpayer a fortune that would otherwise have been wasted on do nothing achieve nothing public service sloths. Borrowing money to pay for overpriced school halls does not an education revolution make.

      • Really…?

        Arguably the most scrutinised, argued, divisive and controversial infrastructure build in Australia’s history, isn’t being scrutinised enough according to you?


        Sorry, had to ask twice, for obvious reasons :/

  5. “In short, with the Coalition’s rival NBN policy, Turnbull is trying to push shit uphill, to use a colloquial term; to foist something on the public which it doesn’t really want”

    Spot on. I think if he was open and did answer questions, questions people ask because they can see the problems with his policy and the claims he makes, he would be totally screwed. To avoid this he starts calling the tech community, especially tech journalists Zealots. Or makes claims they are pushing an agenda.

    He couldn’t make his claims of 1/3rd to 1/4 the cost. He couldn’t ignore Telstra and the cost of copper. He couldn’t ignore the cost of future upgrades, the useful life of FTTN, or many other things which are a huge deal breaker for his claims.

    He might be “nice” an polite, but Renai, how many direct answers have you got from him on the really hard questions? I’ve seen run arounds, he’s made claims about you being biased, but he has yet to really answer the hard questions. If it gets too hot, he resorts to attacking the person.

  6. “Turnbull and his team work more closely with and understand the media better than do most other politicians and their staff.”
    Sadly, these are the same people who turn a blind eye to the journalists and media who pushed misinformation and lies about the NBN. Some of which originated from their own party.
    It seems they are only vocal in their complaints when it’s not in their favour.

    Time for the media to get an independent umpire of their own?

    • Yes Midspace, I am actually pretty excited by Senator Conroy’s proposed new media oversight legislation. Doesn’t go far enough, IMHO, but it’s a step in the right direction. Wonder if it will get enough support to go through?

      Kudos to Conroy & the ALP for having the conviction to try to tackle this in the first place. I’m actually starting to think they have a strategy for this election after all and this is just initial groundwork necessary for them to be able to compete on a more even footing once their election machine shifts into gear (otherwise no matter what they’re actually saying mainstream commercial media will either spin or ignore it).

      • I do love the irony present in your comment TevorX.

        Conroy states that the driving force behind his legislation is to ensure that there is enough competition and diversity in the media landscape. Yet his new legislation ignores the digital media. And here you are posting on a website that shows just how much diversity there is outside of the MSM.

      • Actually I have my reservations.
        The aspects in relation to online blogs or sites and the online comments.

        Not necessarily an issue in the current environment, but consider a LNP win, News Ltd is seeking to muzzle the ABC and bring them to heel and not raise issues counter to their agenda. Howard made sure management at the ABC is conservative and the LNP are also complaining about dissent and awkward questions. The Australian and News Ltd. in general has always applied censorship in their comments(except for the last couple of days – Who Me? never untill the furore settles).

        One little step at a time to first control then limit then suppress dissent. Read the blogs and listen to Bolt, Jones and their vitriol to the leftist commie media and blogs.
        Potentially a slippery slope.
        Countries that are totalarin regimes were not always thus

        • Abel, the people who have complained the most about media coverage in recent times are the ALP / Greens.

          Bob Brown has been known to refer to the “hate media”.

          Julia Gillard claimed there were “hard questions” to answer in wake of the scandals in the UK but could never quite produce any…….

          • And that wouldn’t have anything to do with a particular Radio/Lib stalwart making political ground out of one’s dad father would it?

          • Lol lol lol,

            Acutally No. It would not.

            In fact it was a News Ltd journalist that published Alan Jones comments. But for the record he does not work for them nor is he affliliated with them so…..

            I understand, everything is Tony Abotts fault which was engineered by Rupord Murdoch to control all the public media.

          • Again we need balance and mine was just to show you that, again, contrary to your views, one side of politics is no purer than the other.

            I wasn’t politicising Jones’ comment per se`, just using the facts that he is an influential radio announcer who is also a Liberal Party member from way back…

            And isn’t he?

            See one says the truth about someones political ties and is accused of bias, by the political brethren?

            Regardless of who’s father (politician or non-politician) it was plainly one of the most disgraceful things anyone could say.

            So how you could then somehow try to tie my comments in with – it’s all Tony Abbots fault – is at best a strange strawman and at worst absolute nonsense. It says a lot more about you than me Michael…

          • Lol,

            Well I suppose you do not see the connection between the two comments since you obviously connect all conservatives.

            Alan Jones and The Australian are not connected and the comments regarding the Australian were made before the Alan jones comments regardless.

            I tried to draw an analogy between the government blaming unrelated problems on the opposition leader and you blaming Senior governments officials criticism of The Australian news paper on the comments of an unrelated radio commentator.

          • Jones and the Australian not being connected has nothing to do with it?

            Who cares…oh you do. This is a strange analogy you chose to try to make a weird differentiation…which has fuck all to do with anything.

            Seriously Michael, although you are an ultra conservative and me a swinging voter who is by default currently in the Labor camp, I thought you had more open mindedness, decency and common sense, than to get into such pointless, childish, argumentative bullshit, like someone else here we all know :(

          • Just to keep it simple as i notice you go off track if i dont.

            Why should government ministers be able to criticise a newspaper for the actions of a completely unrelated radio host?

          • Err, speaking of going off track…

            Who mentioned Ministers complaining about Jones?

            You did!

            Your comments are becoming more and more irrational my friend :/

          • Sadly Michael you appear to be suffering from severe case of pedanticitis alainitis :(

          • WTF are you on about now…?

            Please… if you wish to correspond, do so rationally.

            At this point you are jumping desperately from Ministers /Jones to my previous comments and really not making much sense at all…

            But I suppose this just typifies the anti-NBN agenda :(

          • To step through from the begining;



            After claiming that the attacks on The Australian are justified by the comments from Alan Jones, you dismiss my response that there is no connection between them.


            But then you fail to justify your logic.

          • I’m just trying to undertand ther logic behind your first post, or was it just trolling.

            If it was all off-topic as you claim and you cannot follow the logic of the thread, then you must have been trolling to post it in there.

          • Lucky last Michael…

            Here is the logic…

            1. Your strawman was saying that I claimed the attacks on the Australian justified. How can this be when I did not even mention the Australian, let alone say the attacks are justified?

            The topic wasn’t about the Australian it was about accusations of bullying from MT… but you strangely tried to turn my comment into an Australian bashing comment, when it clearly wasn’t…

            Feel free to show me where within our correspondences above I mentioned attacks on the Australian justified and I will certainly, stand corrected and apologise to you.

            If not I would appreciate you doing likewise…. so lets see eh?

            To clarify further…

            2. My first post which apparently has you so confused, was simply a reply to this comment from you, in relation to “hate media (not the Australian)…”

            “Abel, the people who have complained the most about media coverage in recent times are the ALP / Greens…. Bob Brown has been known to refer to the “hate media”.

            My reply in relation to your hate media statement (and again not the Australian) … copy/pasted here “and that wouldn’t have anything to do with a particular Radio/Lib stalwart making political ground out of one’s dad father would it? ”

            Bob Brown screams hate media – Alan Jones proved him right or do you think what Jones said acceptable?

            Thank you, I hope you now either show me what I ask for and I will do as I said or when you see you are unable and understand the obvious logic… stand corrected and apologise.

            In the meantime have a nice weekend (what’s left of it) :)

          • Addendum – just to clarify (before I possibly read a typically pedantic response) … I did repeat your “Alan Jones and the Australian are not connected line” but also said right there and then “this has nothing to do with it…”!

          • 1&2 are link, My problem has been in assuming that you understood the reference from the start.

            Both those quotes have been directed at the Australian specifically and News Ltd in general. If you could not see the reference after the “hard questions” implications I do not know what I can do to make it more obvious without explicitly stating it.

          • “Thank you, I hope you now either show me what I ask for and I will do as I said or when you see you are unable and understand the obvious logic… stand corrected and apologise. ”

            I will take that as an apology. Thanks.

          • Seeing as you don’t want to follow your own standards, the sweet stench of hyprocrisy is growing

          • Remember Michael, you replied to my comment and you are arguing over my words. I know what I wrote, I know what I meant and you are WRONG…as I explained.

            As such here, let me answer for you – Thanks for the clarification NBNAlex, I now understand what YOU were saying. I thought you meant or were inferring something else, cheers.

            End of story…! But no multiple comments later. *rolls eyes*

            Michael, if you are ill-equipped to comprehend and accept even the basics of what others write (especially when pointed out step by step) and have to create a strawman to cover your own ineptness, continue to argue the already disproved strawman over and over due to embarrassment and then try to claim some childish victory and make accusations of hypocrisy, I pity you and I’m afraid you are in the wrong place.

            Jebus, no wonder we can’t get agreement on something as large as the NBN when people want to argue, misrepresent and put their own ideological leaning on another’s every fucking word in one small comment…


            “Comments which display a lack of rationality or reasonableness. For example, a number of commenters on Delimiter over the past year have engaged in the debate, but consistently avoided acknowledging substantive issues raised by other commenters in relation to their argument. Instead, they have deliberately diverted the discussion down another path, annoying many other commenters.”

            I know I said previously, that an above comment would be my last comment with you, but I needed to reply to your nonsense. This is however my last comment with you here, so if it makes you feel good, please go your hardest and have a last parting shot Michael :/

          • Lol,

            You can squirm all you want, but it is a quote that is attributed.

            You cannot change the meaning just because it suits you to have it mean something else. I understand that you thought it meant something different but, you got it wrong.

    • “to foist something on the public which it doesn’t really want’

      You mean like a white elephant?

      Paul, that’s not way to talk about Joe Hockey.

  7. “… it will deliver substantial broadband service delivery benefits using the best technology, and it is on track.”

    Whilst it is pretty much impossible to argue with the first part of that statement, it is equally difficult to justify the second part. Is the NBNCo on track? How can we tell when they only publish annual targets and quarterly progress updates? Will we get any sort of financial report before the election?

    Some people say the NBNCo is on track. Some people say it isn’t. That’s the obvious result of different people trying to interpret progress from the huge RFS spreadsheet the NBNCo releases each month. It would be far better imo (and iirc in yours, Renai) if the NBNCo published monthly targets and monthly progress reports for their key metrics. Then we’d all know.

  8. Turnbull’s not quite “bullying” the public as making public pronouncements that are not quite honest and sometimes contradictory like announcing universal service obligation of 12Mbs and “last Mile technology” as his policy and then bellowing a lot of not quite honest statements about the great benefits of VDSL (whilst not exactly promising this as a universal service).
    It’s largely a misinformation campaign.
    It’s regional and rural Australia that Turnbull is selling the dump.
    Turnbull is never asked how New Zealand’s conservative government has managed to have their operator build FTTH and that country can afford it and the much wealthier Australia can’t.
    It’s about time the media got really serious about Turnbull, but most of the media believe that the NBN is not in their best interests.

  9. If the Hon Mr Turnbull wishes to bully journalists I really don’t worry too much. I am sure that the vast majority of journalists are perfectly capable of looking after themselves.

    What I despise in Mr Tutnbull MHR is that he seems to think I am a dim witted mug along with the biggest majority of Australians.
    When we ask how much cheaper? He can’t give us a figure.
    When we ask how much faster? He gives a figure of up to but some PEOPLE could be as slow as…
    When we ask how much sooner? He just doesn’t seem to have an answer.
    He can’t tell me if the cocky out near Hay is going to be able to get speeds of 25/5 that have been promised under the NBN rollout or whether he is going to be still stuck on 56K dial up for the next 20 years..

    The Turnbull version of the NBN it would seem is capable of producing varying results for two families who live next door to each other and it seems that if you have the money you will be able to buy even better service by paying for what the NBN is currently going to provide for nix.

    Yep I despise Mr Turnbull because regardless of what his polls and focus groups say …


  10. Bob.H says:

    Yep I despise Mr Turnbull because regardless of what his polls and focus groups say …

    and how I agree with him! +100

    But – Turnbull and his ilk knows that many (most?) of the population ARE mugs. We’ve just had an election here in WA. I stood and watched for a while the number of people who happily took the proffered “How to Vote” cards; walked into the centre and at least appeared to copy them verbatim. Totally incapable – or unwilling – to give a moment’s thought to how best to put a 1-2-3-4. “I’ve done my bit – name crossed off – now get me out of here….”

    And that’s probably why Abbot and his bunch of tossers will gain power in September. Because, unfortunately, the mugs are in a majority…..

  11. On Radio National Breakfast last week Fran Kelly had MT on Thursday and SC on Friday.

    The thing that got right up my nose was Turnbull speaking about costs and saying that the NBN would cost $50 billion (said as though that was the current price!) and adding that it would cost lots more.

    For someone who cannot even supply a vague cost for any part of his dream, that’s pretty amazing.

    Frankly I get the feeling that his dream is all wet.

    So that you can hear both sides here are the links.

    Turnbull’s bull.

    Conroy’s answer.

    • What is also amazing is that Labor continues with the scare campaign that the Coalition will ‘demolish the NBN’ – Conroy , and it will be ‘ripped out of the ground’ from Labor MP’s including Rudd and Gillard.
      It has been reported in Delimiter on many occasions with statements from Abbott and Turnbull that this will not be the case.

      Well at least it is a rest from the ‘Nation Buiding’ rhetoric , I don’t know why they are repeating that old debunked scare tactic, I guess if you feel you are backed into a corner lashing out with anything will do.

      • Oh so it’s okay for the Coalition to engage in hyperbole but not Labor? The Coalition are allowed to talk out of their arse every once and a while (TA is no Bill Gates), but Labor can’t?

        You’ll note however that most of us don’t condone that behaviour, and those that do, at least in the case of “Destroy the NBN”, I believe you know who you are, have attempted to tell that it is a figurative statement.

        Honestly I don’t get where the idea but these two statements are being spread. Within the last two months the only people to directly say these statements are well, you alain.

        And often to people who just omitted the implied “with the exception of existing contracts” in their statement about the Coalition stopping the FTTH rollout.

        • @NightKhaos

          ‘Honestly I don’t get where the idea but these two statements are being spread. Within the last two months the only people to directly say these statements are well, you alain.’

          Honestly you don’t do you?


          ‘When it came to broadband, Rudd said, Abbott had committed to “simply rip it up’


          and Conroy:

          ‘“This clearly demonstrates that the Coalition plans to demolish the NBN if it is elected.’


          and to finish off:

          “They (the Liberals) will rip the NBN out of the ground’


          • Oh, I do apologise. It appears someone did say that they’ll literally rip the cables out of the ground in the last two months.

            Now that I have acknowledged my error are you willing to address the hypocrisy I accused you of, or the claims that, if well take Rudd’s statement, it’s clear that he’s talking figuratively, or that you are, what was it, oh, that you chose to mention that these statements are being spread whenever someone isn’t specific enough to add the words “with the exception of existing contracts”.

            You continually push this line, in the vain hope that people will start to take Turnbull seriously? Because you want public record to be less ambiguous? Are you going to deal with any statements Turnbull or Abbott says that aren’t entirety reflective of the established Labor policy? What is your motivation here, because it’s clear to me that it can’t be any of these things without you being hypocritical.

          • OMFG… alain?

            Are you still doing the endless argumentative, pedantics and semantics about what he/she said and taking one side literally and giving the others complete leeway, FFS?


            Let’s get it straight – the NBN will NOT be pulled from the ground, according to the latest information that we have from the Coalition. Now wasn’t that easy.

            Let’s also get this straight… politicians from both sides exaggerate and if we are going to argue over every word they mutter, we will be doing so 24/7 forever more :(

            So in relation to MT’s cheaper and faster claim, taking “everything” into account, his proposed Broadband Plan will not be cheaper or faster either.

            See politicians eh?

            Please now proceed to argue pointlessly, over point 2 only *sigh*.

            … And you expect us to believe if the PC said FttP is the way to go you would accept that?

            I guess the caveat being, a CBA will only occur under the Coalition, so if the PC says FttP is correct after all, it means the Coalition are governing… I’m then surmising that your last 5 years of FUD will be immediately dropped and FttP accepted (psst – as long as it’s is done by the Coalition) :/

  12. The plural of Attorney General is Attorneys General.

    Sorry, hate being “that guy”.

    Anyway, another good article, Renai. Well done.

    • Indeed… pet hates eh?

      Bit like standing at the bar and hearing someone order 2 bourbon and cokes, instead of two bourbons and coke.

      Makes one cringe and really without reason… because it’s not the end of the world (like the white elephant, wasteful, socialist, back of an envelope NBN is…*sigh*)

  13. So, this is the only comment on that post by Renai on The Drum, and has been for two and a half hours:

    > hey The Drum – you already have one ridiculously biased, narrow minded, industry based NBN booster on the permanent payroll. why waste our money on another, publishing this unsupported, unsubstantiated, sophomore drivel?

    I know I’ve commented, but that hasn’t been published. Does that mean that for the time Renai’s article is the biggest on the front page of The Drum this is going to be the only comment? Classy, ABC. Classy.

      • I posted about 7 different responses to your article – none abusive or contravening any of their guidelines. You can check any of my previous comments on any other Nick Ross story to get some idea of how I typically write there.

        The first I posted when there was no responses, then the second after that single comment had been sitting there for 4 hours by itself, and the rest were in response to peoples comments once they actually posted some more.

        Not a single one made it past their moderators.

        Very classy ABC. I guess their editorial policy of providing equal coverage now applies to comments as well.

  14. If you take everything that the LNP say as the opposite, you will have the truth. Not that the Labor party is any better.
    If been watching the telecommunications sector since the early 80’s and one thing has become self evident to me, The Liberal party think Australians are second class citizens and as such, we deserve a second class telecommunications service.
    Prove me wrong Malcolm Turnbull! Prove me wrong!

  15. The best way to describe MT is “a fairweather politician”. Charming, witty and whatever else you wish.. when things are going his way. When they don’t watch the acid tongue, the disdain and the lack of respect.. oh, I nearly forgot the tantrums.

  16. Malcolm said, “journalists can only be bullied if they want to be bullied.”

    In Malcolm’s world, this is a sensible statement. It’s also a classic statement of blaming the victim. Certainly he’s not at fault about anything, in his own mind.

    • Well there is a complete power imbalance and no opportunity for the journalists to hold their own ground. There can be no responsibilty to defend yourself nor are journalists capable of criticising a shadow government minister who is in the wrong.

      Or is it a statement that it is more indicative of two equally powerful sides jousting?

  17. Whether the Government planned this all or if it was just a fluke of people not being able to help themselves, but what is in the Murdoch Press now is incredible!
    The Institute of Public Affairs’ James Paterson, writing for The Australian last night, “Placing this power in the hands of a government regulator inevitably will insert political considerations into what should purely be a commercial decision-making process.” http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/conroys-media-regulation-proposals-fail-the-public-interest-test/story-e6frgd0x-1226595919938
    Well there to have it from the IPA and Rupert themselves. Their Press is not there to look after the Interests of the Public, but the 5th Estate is theirs to push what they see as their best interests. I never thought I’d be so happy that the IPA could not help itself in publishing its Fascism, but for Rupert to publish it as his word, PRICELESS.
    I think we can disregard the Murdoch Press from here on as any relevance in the NBN discussion and Malcolm would be well advised to do so too. They are now a liability.

    • That backs up my previous comment perfectly that for many the Labor NBN rollout is the undeniable truth, any criticism from the press to that locked in state of the natural nirvana is therefore irrelevant, it doesn’t even require objective reading.

      Any threat to the undeniable truth like a Productivity Commission independent anyalsis in the form of a proper CBA must be avoided at all cost.

      • Oh Alain, it get’s better. The IPA wrote it. Anyone that now uses anything from them in the Press is tarred for pushing the same thing as them, of looking after their own Interests and not of the Public.
        Oh I can feel the reverberations through the ABC in how to hide the hypocrisy through their DRUM and especially on Q&A.
        Will “Media Watch” poke them on the “Code” now?
        Mark Scott will be crappin’ like nothing else!
        I haven’t laughed so much since the story “Brisbane launches digital economy strategy”. Oh my leaking eyes and sore stomach. LOL

      • You are obviously trolling or haven’t been paying attention to the state of play when it comes to the NBN.

        NBN supporters hardly take a united front on the policy, there is internal bickering about everything, from speed tiers, to technology utilised.

        The only thing we can agree on, with a few notable exceptions, is that the NBN is a better plan than what Turnbull is offering, not least because his policy is at best inconsistent, and at worst won’t achieve any of the benefits he suggests (cheaper, faster, etc).

        We question things like the idea of a Productivity Commission because we believe it will add unnecessary delays, not because we don’t believe the productivity commission will side with Turnbull’s half assed plan. We object to the productivity commission because we believe that Turnbull, if he’s smart, could focus on two aspects alone, that is short term fiscal impact (<5 years) and short term achieved technology benefits (<5 years) and the PC would disagree with the plan, despite the fact long there exists slightly longer term fiscal benefits and slightly longer term achieved technology benefits. It is a 10 year project. You don't look at a car chassis with only 2 wheels and a completed bicycle and say "This isn't allowing me to get from A to B faster than walking, we should stop" when doing a CBA of that do you? You look at the completed car and the completed bike despite the fact the former takes longer to manufacture.

        So, we're welcome to improvements on the NBN, including, believe it or not, fiscal ones, however when comparing the two policies on the table the choice is obvious.

        I think I know what your problem is, since the NBN is less than perfect you don't think we should proceed. That's fine, but maintaining the status quo, or worse, supporting a plan that offers promises like faster rollout and cheaper deployment with no evidence to support those assertions, is not a solution.

        You may be thinking NBN supports are therefore going for "We must do something, this is something, let's do that", which is untrue, as we actually believe the NBN will improve on the status quo.

        • Hardly for the reason you’ve espoused NightKhaos. Way off the mark. My trolling days are over. Boring.
          I am the first to know that no one will please all the people all the time, nor any time. Discussion is a good thing. But to see what has been handed on a Silver Platter is a gigantic faux pas of rarity, by a normally very thorough astute player in the PR Game.
          I am more about the continual shutting down of the discussion with ineffectual argument and the utilization of brute force of size and echo chamberisms, ad-infinitum. It is droll. It is unintelligent. It is disrespectful and shows an arrogance of disturbing proportions towards the Society from which it get’s it’s wealth.
          Do we need such in our midst? That is the question here and also how much veracity are we to allow it to continue to do so in hijacking the Ministers we elect to it’s own declared end.
          The Murdoch Press and the IPA declared their position, not me.

          • Umm, okay, do me a favour: turn off mobile view and then look at my posts position in relation to yours. Note that it is directly below yours and not offset? This means that the message was not intended for you, but the post above yours. I appreciate the comments through.

          • ROFL indeed TechinBris…

            Because not only that… these same people keep telling us how inept, wasteful, unproductive and basically downright hopeless GBE’s are in comparison to their always perfect private enterprise contemporaries .

            So they demand the PC to do a CBA of this wasteful socialist, governmental department…

            And the PC are????

            ROFL again.

          • @TechinBris

            ‘Oh Alain, AFR? Wow! Impartiality at it’s best considering.’

            So the PC Chairman didn’t day that?

            The conspiracy theories that all the mainstream press is against the Labor NBN is getting manic, relax and don’t believe the polls, Labor will romp it in and you can rest easy with your FTTH connection, it’s all that matters.


          • Herein lies the difference alain…

            We are here at a tech site, discussing the pros/cons of the NBN and the Coalition’s alternative.

            You keep speaking of September 14 and are only really interested in the election result, not the pro’s/con’s of comms.

            So let’s surmise the polls are right and the Coalition wins (personally I will probably be better off, also my local Liberal member in my blue ribbon seat – is beyond reproach and I couldn’t ask for a more attentive rep. A rep who has been to my home on two occasions and when I had an issue contacted me within hours via email, whereas the same email sent to the Labor candidate, a snail mail reply was received 3 weeks later)…anyway

            What will happen with our comms alain… so here it is yet again for you!


          • Then why are you writing everything you are? Your the glowing proof of what your denying.
            I don’t care if you use the NBN or not, but you are here trying to restrict my right to choose.Who’se the one being diabolical?

          • Your point is what exactly? That’s another very good reason to avoid a PC conducted CBA if the chairman has pre established bias. They’re supposed to be impartial after all.

          • So there is only one outcome that matters, no change to the Labor NBN as it is, anything else is ‘bias’.


          • Hi Khaos,
            I going to sell my place and buy a place in the roll out area ( next year that is ), the coalition say they will honour existing contracts if they get into government ( hopefully not ), how do we know which places in the NBN roll out map have actually been signed into contract, they can’t all be can they ?????

      • BTW Alain, I loved what you wrote. Snake eating it’s own tail? Sorry, I went right over it, They have a right to exist too, regardless of how dangerous they can be. But they should remain out in their own environment and not in our bed.

      • Absolutely not. But now from the Animals themselves, we have their own words to show us and how there is direct conflict in law between the Market and the Society. It is a wake up to everyone who is foolish to think that Shareholder Interest’s are exactly the same as the Public’s best Interests. THAT is the great point! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to remind everyone.

        • Yes techinbris. They absolutely should not act illegally but the corporation’s act requires them to put shareholders interests first. Other concerns including environmental and social responsibility are of secondary concern.

          • So Michael, who in your words writes the laws and should benefit from the laws of our Society. There is a direct conflict of Interest here withing the very law your declaring. Declare your hand. Exploitation or care? The choice is yours.

          • Your comment is awaiting moderation.
            It’s not an attack Renai. It’s a question that is very valid and one which Malcolm, a person in a Public Office should answer. All Politicians should.

          • Exploitation or Care; Black or White, such a loaded question but it is good fortune that the world is so simply defined….

            As for a proper response, who writes the laws; well there are two main parties, the politicians ( guiding interests) who shape the laws and the lawyers who write the laws.

            Do you not find it interesting that laws are written by lawyers, interpreted by lawyers, and enforced by lawyers.

          • @Michael

            So because they need to act in Shareholder interests…..they are therefore exempt from any public good tests? INCLUDING basic Journalistic Morals?

          • I will turn it around,

            In your job Seven_Tech,

            Should you serve the public good before making sure you company benefits?

          • @Michael

            I do not work in a job that can directly affect the public. And when we do, indirectly, we ALWAYS work on that sector first. Always. It is part of our contract and company policy to not endanger the public.

            I don’t see why Newspapers should be any different.

          • I am not saying that it is wrong to have company policy to avoid evironmental damage at all costs. Support local community events, etc etc. That is up to the company itself to decide it’s level of engagement.

            I strongly agree with good corporate management policies, and having been at sites with a variety of different policies, the difference can be huge.

            It is then upto shareholders and the public to judge the company based upon it’s policies.


            I asked to work for the benefit of the public before making sure your company benefits, that is; working for the public good when you are not in contract, when you go beyond the scope of your contract before completing the rest of your contract so that you cannot be payed.

          • Uh-Oh. The contract dissolves any responsibility for your own actions. You know how slippery that slope is. Some of humanities darkest moments are entrenched in what you just condoned.
            There is no justification for being absolved from responsibility for your actions. That is a fallacy born of stupidity.
            Please do not excuse it.

          • I think you just confused generics with specific examples I was discussing with seven tech.

          • Oh my, I think we agree Michael.

            Companies are there to look after themselves and their profits. They do not, nor should they be expected, to care about the public per se` (although to retain their business they must reach certain standards and not harm the public of course).

            It is the governments job to make sure the people, Aussies like you and I, are looked after, can afford to live etc.

            Hmmm, being so, which one of these two options should we trust our nations comms network with?


  18. The Coalition needs to do a backflip on the NBN in order to persuade a reasonable proportion of tech-savvy voters that they are worth voting for. At the moment, Turnbull is following his orders and doing so pretty well under the circumstances – but the circumstances are that he is trying to sell ice to Eskimos – he has a crap solution that is uncosted and won’t solve long term problems.

    Of course, that would put Murdoch offside, and what politician wants that? It’s not like the people of Australia are important.

    • Spot on Stephen. I have just said the same to Alain, but in a more circumspect way than yours. Your writings are so more eloquent. Nicely said!

    • @Stephen H

      ‘The Coalition needs to do a backflip on the NBN in order to persuade a reasonable proportion of tech-savvy voters that they are worth voting for’

      That’s a broad brush statement, what’s that research based on, gut feel from Whirlpool or Delimiter comments being representative of a ‘reasonable proportion of tech savvy voters’ that will definitely vote Labor at the next election because they are so myopic when it comes to making political decisions as to which party to vote for that the Labor NBN FTTH overrides all other concerns?

      ‘ At the moment, Turnbull is following his orders and doing so pretty well under the circumstances – but the circumstances are that he is trying to sell ice to Eskimos – he has a crap solution that is uncosted and won’t solve long term problems.’

      I repeat there is more to voter intention in the end game in September than just the Labor FTTH rollout.

      • “That’s a broad brush statement, what’s that research based on, gut feel from Whirlpool or Delimiter comments being representative of a ‘reasonable proportion of tech savvy voters’”

        Having worked in IT for 30+ years I work with and know a lot of tech people and quite a number of high level Telstra (or ex telstra) techs. Not one of them thinks Turnbull’s idea has any merrit. In fact I have only run into 2 people in 2 plus years who didn’t think FTTH was a good idea. One was a 70 year old accountant, who now he has the NBN has changed his mind and has invested in so many gadgets. He was streaming his holiday video to his ipad at work from his home media server to show us, what a transformation. The other was a guy whose builder tried to charge him $5000 so his house could be connected to the NBN, no idea what he thinks now.

      • “I repeat there is more to voter intention in the end game in September than just the Labor FTTH rollout.”

        I agree alain…

        However, you do understand that we are here at a tech blog talking tech and in all the time I have read your comments, not once have you come up with a credible alternative to the NBN.

        You moan, groan, spin, twist, take comments and try to re-interpret…why?

        Also, when I have listed a heap of FttN (your preference) holes and asked how these will be addressed if the NBN alternative is rolled out, you either were unable to answer and/or rudely ignored me.

        Seriously :/

  19. They cant offer to provide a safe pair of hands. Tony Abbott agreed with Murdoch the day before he promised publicly to destroy the NBN project, that he would do just that. That is the cost of News Ltd’s ongoing support.

    Murdoch lost the BSkyB deal and can’t afford to have Foxtel go down to tubes either, particularly after separating the entertainment and news interests. It’s Murdoch’s last gamble, newspapers are going down and if the NBN goes ahead so does Foxtel’s monopoly.

    The funny thing is, the hysteric nature of his papers is destroying whatever goodwill it had with right-minded people. He has doubled down and if Gillard wins, I think he will be forced to cash in his chips and the next share holders meeting.

    • And the next day, if that happens, we will find the sun rises in the east…………
      Oh yeah! The world won’t end!

  20. I agree with your conclusion Renai. There shouldn’t be a political argument over the vision. It should be about who can deliver the infrastructure more efficiently.

    FTTN is retrograde. Going back to the drawing board to re-plan, re-negotiate, conduct a (pointless) CBA will just delay the delivery again. My bet is that by the end of the next 3 year term, we’ll have not much new to show for this retrograde action. (except perhaps the FTTP sites that are already contracted under the current NBN).

  21. Lets put it more simply.

    Malcolm Turnbull cant handle it when he starts to get his own treatment.

    The way he has treated the Australian public and the lies regarding the media and turned around and used the same way on him. And what stung most was that Malcolm knows the journalist is correct.

    • We have all been ordered to do that which we don’t like in our work place at some stage. Never forget it.

  22. Since when has the will of the people mattered..?

    Each party states their policies, the one with the most seats (or the most deals) wins. Everything after that is done in the firm belief they have a mandate (pokies and internet filtering come to mind).

    The will of the people is a fallacy. If the coalition wins, with a clearly stated policy of stopping FTTP, does it automatically become the vox populi?

    Surely no one can be that naive…

    • The will of the people always matters, no matter how unlikely it seems. This is why I always support the views of the readers and put them to those in power directly. It all matters.

  23. I have the NBN. I have 95Mbs down and 38 Mbs up typically. (Speedtest.net) I had ADSL here before and it was basically unusable. Yes I am pro NBN because it works. Thank-you Australia. My internet experience is now more pleasant than being stuck in our defunct transport system. When we have our new PM in September the world will be flat once more. We can dumb once more, which makes the masses easier to manage. Let’s face it, an educated, articulate, informed public, combined with the freedom of speech and a vehicle to project such views, is over rated. It makes our democracy accountable, visible and transparent and we don’t really need all that grief do we. Come September we may all be in the dark once more, and we’ll all be happier for it. At least I’ll have my NBN.