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  • Blog, Telecommunications - Written by on Thursday, November 28, 2013 11:35 - 0 Comments

    When will Labor get serious about supporting its NBN policy?


    blog As you may have noticed, on Tuesday this week hundreds of Australians rocked up at the offices of their local MPs to present boxed and digital copies of the Change.org petition calling for the Coalition to reconsider its Fibre to the Node policy with respect to the National Broadband Network and adopt Labor’s more ambitious Fibre to the Premises plan instead. And yet, as I write in a piece on Delimiter 2.0 (subscriber content), Labor itself almost completely ignored the protests. A sample paragraph from behind the firewall:

    “When he rejected the change.org petition, Turnbull acknowledged the NBN debate was not over. Well, the Member for Wentworth turned out to be entirely correct. But he may not have understood just who he would be debating. The truth is that Labor has largely ignored the National Broadband Network issue over the several months since it lost the Federal Election. In its absence, ordinary Australians are energetically taking to the streets to protest. In comparison, Labor’s senior NBN spokespeople seem barely able to get out of bed.”

    I suspect Labor is taking a slightly stand-offish approach to the NBN Defender movement because it doesn’t want to politicise what is already a very strong social movement. I understand this sort of approach, Politicians can be heavy handed at times, and there is a strong argument to be made that Labor should wait until the NBN Defender movement is a little stronger before lending its weight. However, personally I’m not a fan of politicians standing back and not getting their hands dirty.

    Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull showed in Opposition that Australians welcome continued, daily engagement on issues such as the National Broadband Network, even if you have an unpopular policy as the Coalition does. Labor needs to stop divorcing itself from the Australian public and connect with it. Politicians are, ultimately, supposed to be leaders — not managers. I’d like to see Labor’s elected tech-savvy politicians stop following and start to lead.

    Image credit: Paul Fleetwood
    (from NBN Defender Facebook site)

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