Save the NBN Kevin, you’re our only hope


opinion The fate of the National Broadband Network now rests squarely in the hands of Kevin Rudd. If the former Prime Minister wins power back from Julia Gillard, Labor has a chance of retaining power at the next election and continuing the NBN rollout. If he fails to do so, most commentators agree, Gillard will be annihilated and Abbott will scrap the project wholesale.

The past 24 hours have been somewhat bittersweet for those who support the NBN project.

On the one hand, it has been somewhat nostalgic to contemplate a possible return of Rudd to the Prime Ministership. Despite Gillard’s ongoing association with the NBN and her regular appearance at launches associated with the project — culminating in the Prime Minister’s spurious attempt to take credit for the separation of Telstra at her press conference in Adelaide this morning — it has always been Rudd that onlookers have most strongly associated with the NBN policy.

It’s impossible, after all, to erase from the nation’s collective memories the sight of Rudd on a chilly April morning in 2009, brusquely proclaiming on the steps of Parliament House in Canberra that the Federal Government would roll out ubiquitous fibre to the home around Australia, solving the nation’s bandwidth troubles once and for all, in a grand nation-building sweep.

Since her ascension to the Prime Ministership, Gillard has been a strong supporter of the NBN. But she has never appeared to quite understand the project, regularly deferring to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy when it came to deeper questions about it and erroneously claiming on a number of occasions that a Coalition Government under Tony Abbott would literally rip the NBN’s fibre out of the ground.

However, as everyone is well aware, Rudd’s dramatic resignation from the Gillard Cabinet, and, most assume, his eventual challenge for the Labor leadership draws the entire NBN project into highly risky territory. The 7:30 Report’s chief political reporter Heather Ewart had this to say last night about the chance of a Gillard Government winning the next Federal Election:

“Whatever does happen, the party has been enormously damaged by this. The public doesn’t like it, and really you would think it’s very difficult, well-nigh impossible for the party to recover from such ongoing destabilisation and division, almost impossible to win the next election. I think the only issue now is how to avoid some sort of wipe-out.”

Writing this morning, seasoned Sydney Morning Herald political editor Peter Hartcher had similar words to say:

“… the essential truth is that Rudd is not the Gillard government’s problem. Its problem is that, for a year now, the opinion polls have been steadily conveying a simple and unmistakeable message – that the Australian people do not approve of Julia Gillard and will not elect her.”

In short, unless the Gillard Labor Government undergoes a dramatic change in fortunes over the next year, there will be a change of Government. And with that change, as matters currently stand, will come the realisation of Tony Abbott’s pledge to cut the project which he and so many other members of the Coalition have unfailingly described as “the white elephant” for the past several years.

If Malcolm Turnbull is appointed Shadow Communications Minister under an Abbott Prime Ministership — itself a very unclear prospect — then the NBN can expect that Turnbull’s greater technical understanding of the dynamics of the telecommunications industry will buy the NBN some reprieve, while the Productivity Commission is ordered to carry out a cost/benefit analysis into its operations.

Following such an analysis, there is little doubt that the project will go ahead in some form; the debate over whether Australia needs high-speed broadband is clearly over now, with the various sides of politics only disagreeing about the form which Government investment in the area should take. However, there is also no doubt that it will be drastically modified to more precisely fit the Liberal mandate of small government and letting the market solve most of its own problems.

This approach will please Telstra, which will be able to continue dominating Australia’s telecommunications sector; but it will spell an end to a well-managed and nationally standardised NBN project under the care of the experienced cadre of engineers currently at NBN Co. Many of those in the upper echelons of the project, including CEO Mike Quigley, will doubtless resign, and as a whole the project will be further politicised and cast into chaos for several years.

The only man standing between the NBN policy and this unsavoury future is Kevin Rudd. Should Rudd succeed in his eventual challenge for the ALP leadership, Labor would then stand a chance of prevailing in the next election against Tony Abbott, who much of the nation sees as fairly responsible, but personally unsavoury.

This would especially be the case if Rudd can enjoy at least a year’s grace before the next election is called. A popular politician like Rudd could do a lot with enduringly popular policies such as the NBN in that time. Right from the start, Rudd has been able to sell the NBN to the technology-illiterate portions of Australia’s population in a way Gillard has always failed to do. The NBN was Rudd (and Conroy’s) torch from the beginning. It will be marvellous to see him pick it up again, now that the policy has come this far.

The irony of the situation is that a resurgent and popular Rudd may eventually stimulate the Coalition to itself return its own highly popular leader to power, in the figure of Malcolm Turnbull.
Conroy, a key Gillard supporter, was asked this morning on ABC Radio what he would say to the public and Labor MPs who have been told that Rudd could best Tony Abbott at the next election.

“Well all the polling also shows that Malcolm Turnbull would beat Tony Abbott in any ballot,” our Communications Minister blithely replied. Prophetic words indeed. For the NBN policy to have a chance at surviving the next several years, Rudd may need to beat not only Gillard and Abbott before the next election, but also Turnbull during it.

Given the travails that the NBN went through during the 2010 election, if the policy survives in its current form past 2013, some of its supporters may just start to believe in divine intervention. Because from my perspective, right now, a political miracle is just what the NBN needs.

Image credit: Australian Civil-Military Centre, Creative Commons


  1. Personally, I think Rudd is the entire problem with the current de-stability of government, make him disappear, there isn’t a distraction in the ‘corner’ jumping up and down saying look at me. I believe that if Rudd becomes the Prime Minister again, at the elections, it will be a ALP slaughter. Then again, it could be the same with Gillard as well, either way. It’s going to be good that this is finally going to end.

  2. Rudd doesn’t give a sh*t about the NBN, Renai. Mr Rudd cares about just one thing. Kevin Rudd.

    And right now, Kevin Rudd wants to be leader again. At any cost. Including at the cost of the election. By the time any Labor government sees power again, there will be nothing left to salvage.

    Should Kevin lose the Monday vote, he’ll sit on the back bench and happily continue to engage in attempting to get the hot seat back. Endlessly.

    Should Rudd pull a miracle and be voted back as the leader, Labor won’t win the election. The public sentiment is clearly very much a case of being over Labor’s antics. And we all know the voting public love to punish parties at the polls.

    This is why Abbott no longer cares. It’s already a forgone conclusion. He’s safe and he knows it. Libs will be voted in because people don’t like Labor, not because the Libs actually offering anything of substance.

    The NBN is, really, a one shot deal. You only get to engage in huge public scopes of works like this once in, if you’re lucky, a decade or two. The Libs aren’t up to it, the scale is too huge.

    They’ll make some noises, scale the investment back to virtually nothing and NBNco will either be soaked up by Telstra, or will die.

    • Very good post, Brendan. Rudd will never be Prime Minister again. Labor is more than 95% likely to lose the next election – so why would you go back to him? If he genuinely could bring victory, then there might be a small chance of a Rudd Restoration. But really – no.

      However great a chunk of the Australian population may still support Rudd, there’s one core constituency he has lost forever – the majority of his own parliamentary colleagues. They simply can’t abide him.

      • Absolutely agree.

        IMO, the major reason why the Labor party is languishing atm is because of the leaks and destabilising tactics of KRudd and his supporters. Tony Abbott has been handed gifts on a plate since KRudd was deposed.

        But the Liberals fail in almost all areas, particularly with communications. They failed under Howard, and their current policies offer no improvements or answers.

        What KRudd doesn’t seem to understand is that Australia doesn’t have a popularly-elected President. That’s the way he seems to be approaching this leadership spill. He seems to think that government is about winning the next election, but it’s not… it’s about doing whats needed for the country NOW… TODAY.

        Unfortunately, too many polititions in recent times have only acted in such a way to ensure their re-election, rather than doing the job they were elected to do.

        I’m satisfied that Jukia Gillard is working for the benefit of the country. She will get my vote at the next federal election. KRudd seems to be working for his own interests. If by some travesty he wins the spill on monday, he will not get my vote. I will not reward someone who has conducted himself so deplorably.

        Should Rudd win the spill (which I think is very unlikely), I would vote Greens.

        • I’ve been saying the same thing all morning – Kevin Rudd is running for President, in a country with a Prime Ministerial system!

          And good luck to him. If he wants to be president of a future Australian Republic, so be it. He will never again be Prime Minister though.

        • Leaks and backbiting goes both ways..

          I recall a lot of disparaging and downright insulting comments as well as a certain leak meant to descredit aimed at Rudd even before this spill finally boiled over. The issue isn’t just Rudd being a spoiled child or Gilliard being the backstabber.

          The issue is that Labor as a party is acting more like a class in grade school taking potshots at everyone in clear daylight were everyone can see their dirty laundry. It’s grossly unprofessional and seriously damaging to the party as a whole. Everyone knows this kind of knifing, backroom politics goes on in every party (just look at the Turnbull dumping for Abbott) but you keep this where it belongs… in the back room! As a party you are at least expected to show a facade of united nenbership for the public! And until these little children get it in their heads they are not in a grade school class but running a damned country then there will be very little any leader can do to fix this problem…

          Oh and since everyone loves to say “Rudd brought this on himself.. or no one liked Rudd anyway”. I seem to recall that not only has Rudd held the highest approval ratings on the opinion poll at the start of his PM’ship he was still at the lead of an election even at his lowest point before the knifing… a low point which Gillard has YET to match.

  3. I’m a swinging voter, and I won’t vote for Rudd no matter how much I want an NBN. Then again, I’d rather poke myself in the eye with a burning stick than vote for Abbott.


  4. If Rudd wins, then one ALP members has said he will quit the party, the independents have said their deal with supporting the government will be over.

    So if Rudd wins, there needs to be an immediate election, and no way Rudd can turn it around in 6 weeks or whatever.

    If Rudd wins the leadership, then Abbott will be PM within months, and Australia goes back to hell to visit John Howard.

    • Indeed Glenn,

      It’s time for Mr Abbott to find a policy or two and quick smart, because if Rudd wins and your info correct, well…

      And if Rudd loses, perhaps he will quit out of spite, leaving us in the same boat?

    • I think you’re giving the Independants too much credibility. They know that if they dump Labor, a double dissolution election is inevitable, and Windsor and Oakshott are definites to lose their seats.

  5. “The irony of the situation is that a resurgent and popular Rudd may eventually stimulate the Coalition to itself return its own highly popular leader to power, in the figure of Malcolm Turnbull.”

    Er, highly popular? I suggest you go back and look at the how the Coalition was polling under Turnbull. They were in political no mans land, and I doubt anyone in the Coalition wants to go back there. Say what you like about Abbott (and I’m not a big fan myself) but he dragged his party back into viability in a short space of time.

    • “Say what you like about Abbott (and I’m not a big fan myself) but he dragged his party back into viability in a short space of time.”

      True – but only because he’s managed to keep his mouth virtually shut for the past 3 months.

      • With the exception of the occasional (but still far too frequent) “whaaaa election whaaaa”

        I would rather have a pack of post-it notes be our prime minister than Abbot. He is a self-interested moron who would do no good for this country.

      • [“Say what you like about Abbott (and I’m not a big fan myself) but he dragged his party back into viability in a short space of time.”]

        I don’t agree. I believe that the destabilising tactics of KRudd and his supporters have handed a gift to Tony Abbott, and that’s the reason that he has had the boost he has.

  6. A Miracle is indeed what the project will need, It is truly depressing as the project has such solid framwork to be a truly visionary project.

    Frankly I see this happening only a few ways, none of them good.

    1. Rudd loses, he quits and labor loses the power they need to pass legislation, a double dissolution is called.

    2. Rudd loses, he does not quit but he becomes a backbencher, Labor is annihilated in the election.

    3. Gillard loses, she goes to the back bench, Rudd after so much political turmoil in his own party will be left sorting out the unions with so much power and the ‘faceless’ men. Frankly he needs to sort out the political power brokers behind the scenes, they are most responsible for this stupidity.

    I don’t see Rudd getting enough support behind him be the election considering the mess he will be left with.

    The only hope of this project is that the election does not get called early and that the NBN is rolled out to sufficient homes and business’s to make any change a politically unpopular thing.

    • I think even if Coalition win, they wont easily be able to stop the NBN, im pretty sure the legislation was crafted to commit the government to it long term. Like if they tried to stop it they might be legally required to pay a big chunk of the money to NBN co anyway.

      Any they would need control of both houses, which is pretty rare, Howard only did it in his last term. Greens would likely have the balance of power in the senate.

      • While it is quite true that an Abbott government would find it very difficult to unmake the legislation, they would be the sole shareholders in the company and could tell NBN Co to stop work, to prepare for liquidation, and pull the plug on any and all operations as they saw fit. There would still be some legislative mandates for a rump NBN Co to fulfil; but all rollout planning and operations could cease on the day that the government says “Stop!”

        In other words, vandalism is still an option.

        Will they do this? That really is the $35.9 billion question…

    • im picking one more option:

      4) rudd makes his tilt, gets knocked over in caucus on number of votes. he quits but on his popularity he runs as an independent as at least one of Wilkie and Oakeshott look unlikely to retain were an election held now. BKAP may have weight in certain electorates and theres always the unpalatable return of One Nation (they have been advertising for the Q election so no they are not dead yet).

      given how much much clout the vote splitters had last time around it may be one way for Rudd redux to get as close as he can to his wish. hes burnt his bridges within the party i think; but he can get a similar effect by proxy this way.

  7. Get off the fence and say what you really think, Renai :)

    Gillard has to take a lot of the blame for the mess the government is in. I’d hate to see Rudd miss out on his share though.

    He failed spectacularly as a Prime Minister in managing the government’s business. He brought his ‘removal’ on himself to the point that they didn’t need a ballot. Since then he has done everything in his power to undermine and destabilise the government, even to the point of sabotaging the election campaign. Had he been a little more successful at the last election then Abbott would be PM and the NBN would be history already.

    Rudd got us into this mess. The best thing he can do to get us out of it is to sit on the backbench, quit the hissy fit and grow up. Then he and his goons can accept Gillard is PM and direct their efforts to boosting Labor and defeating Abbott. That’s if Abbott survives when the polls start turning.

  8. Not only has Julia Gillard never understood the NBN, she has never understood any policies beyond the Emily’s LIst / Blue Stocking agenda of her student politics days. It is an embarrassment to have her as our Prime Minister. Kevin Rudd is the most likely face on the Labor posters in 2013, and even if Julia wins a spill on Monday it will not be a landslide to her, and that is quite as good as losing.

    In August 2010, the coalition approached an unloseable election with no declared broadband policy until six days before the poll, at which time they offered no Telstra separation and more market driven cherrypicking of profitable places to deliver ADSL and wireless. This cost them three safe regional seats and delivered a hung result, yet they still refused fibre to win the independents’ support. We have a Green-Labor government because of that intransigence by the coalition.

    Unless the coalition climbs down from the tower of ignorance over the NBN which they have built, they will certainly lose regional seats again, possibly five or six of them this time. Half of all coalition voters (42% to 43%) now want the NBN, and 56% to 24% of all voters want it. Only by credibly offering to deliver something very like the NBN for regional Australia can the coalition avoid a repeat of 2010. Elections are about numbers, and even a seemingly minor policy like broadband will again influence regional numbers disproportionately to its perceived importance.

    And of course, whether it is Kevin Rudd or someone else at the helm, it will certainly not be Julia Gillard leading Labor at the next election.

  9. I notice Stephen Conroy is backing Juliar. If this man had any sense, he would back Rudd, otherwise the NBN is finished.

    • Conroy is perfectly correct in rejecting Rudd. Kevin Rudd has disgraced himself by his behaviour, and is completely unfit to lead.

      Whatever you may say about Julia Gillard’s retail political skills, she is a thoroughly competent manager who has negotiated the shoals and rocks of minority government with great skill, and has achieved an extraordinary raft of legislative accomplishments.

      Conroy is no dolt and certainly knows the difference.

  10. Last i checked Kevin Rudd was the leader voted in by the public in this free democracy, or is it? Overturning the majority of the publics wishes has turned it into a dictatorship controlled solely by the party with a leader in charge of this nation who was not elected by the Australian people. You are right in what you say Abbot will scrap the NBN in its entirety and no work will be done of any sought on the NBN probably for another decade. This is reality under a Abbot Liberal government. Liberal = NBN Death.

    • Kevin Rudd is not the leader voted in by the public for two reasons:

      – Unless you live in the Queensland seat of Griffith, you will not have ever voted for Kevin Rudd. You vote for a member of a party, and by extension, the leader of that party as selected by the MPs in caucus.

      – A little thing called the 2010 Federal Election was held, during which time Julia Gillard was Prime Minister, and remained so. She was duly and rightly chosen as Prime Minister because she commanded the support of a majority of members of the House of Representatives after that election. As a bonus measure of support, the ALP received a slight majority of the two-party preferred vote (an arbitrary measure, to be sure, but one which puts paid to any claims by Tony Abbott that he “won” the election).

      • You’ve got to remember that she only governs over a minority government. When Rudd was the figurehead, Labor was elected as a majority government. Yes, technically people didn’t vote for Rudd but in the voters minds they did.

      • Jesus mate, relax hey.

        Sounds like you’re a public servant, and you actually had to work once in your life when your boss told you to. (Kevin Rudd I imagine)

        Being a work-a-holic isn’t a crime, it’s a respectable thing to be in a position like Australian top job. I’d prefer a politician to bloody well hard all the time for our tax-payer money then simply be a shadow figure, and have the public servants handle everything.

        You just need to sit the f**k down and relax a bit.

        I work my ass off, and I get rewarded for it, the public saw Kevin working his ass off, and guess what, he gets rewarded for it.

        • “I’d prefer a politician to bloody well hard all the time for our tax-payer money then simply be a shadow figure, and have the public servants handle everything.” That would be John Howard you’re describing there. Mr Relaxed & Comfortable himself.

          I have worked for organised executives and disorganised executives. Gillard is the former sort, Rudd the latter. The key thing to remember about a disorganised executive is that they are fundamentally lazy. All that crisis-driven behaviour, those 5am phone calls demanding full briefs by 6am, the late nights, no sleep, relentless busy-work driven activity. Let me tell you what it is. It’s the AVOIDANCE of real work.

          Disorganised managers are chronic work-avoiders. All that yelling at subordinates, absurd demands and micromanagement is a way of deflecting the inner turmoil onto others. The frightful air of busy-ness that creates mental fog and operational clutter. Everyone’s so bloody BUSY that nothing ever gets done.

          All the time, the real work is grappling with issues and making decisions, and that’s exactly what doesn’t get done with someone like Rudd. He was notorious not just for the instant demands at crazy hours, but also the complete lack of action. Proposals went into his office never to be seen again. It was a black hole. And always, to disguise the lack of real action, always the ceaseless activity.

  11. I have always voted for a platform policy, the public should be voting for their party of choice, the leaders are not the party but a member, the media, especially the likes of the Daily Telegraph, and Allen Jones etc , abuse a powerful institution of public information, the editors looking after the big end of town, and presenting only a negative view of Labor, this is not much different from dictatorial states, the Nazi and communist proper-gander, one would wish in a truly democratic society, they would be honest an present fairly both sides of an issue, and let the readers make up their own minds, I have always believed in one vote one value, not seats and minority independents having the power to make or break an elected government, we will be most likely to have more hung parliaments, with the media and polls preventing the real issues from taking place.

  12. I firmly endorse and believe in the NBN, fast and reliable communication is a priority for Australia, to both keep up with, and compete in a fast high tech changing world, The Liberals have never ever offered any meaningful visions, of course you will save money by not spending, but as any business knows, you will need to spend, and invest money in order to grow, i sickens and saddens me that Abbot would get in by default, no real agenda, other than to look after big business, the multinationals that will buy an rape whats left of our mineral resources, and do so being rewarded by a Liberal Government that lets them pay as less tax as is obscenely possible. but for me, an what sickens me the most are a press that prostitutes truth.

  13. Only a retard would vote for Abbott over either Rudd or Gillard. Unfortunately Australia has their fair share of retards.

    • Tony Abbot scares the absolute $!!! out of me. This man does not have an ounce of leadership or vision in his body. He has absolutely no interest in this country, merely his own personal ambitions (sound like anyone we know little johnny ?)

      I liken Abbott to the US being run by Ronald Reagan or George Bush absolutely terrifying for the country and takes years to recover.

      • I will have to object to putting down John Howard. He may have been a bit of a too concervative and a total tightwad but at least he had an opinion and stated it and stuff you if you disagreed.
        Gillard seems no more than a glove pupit, changing opinions when told by her party or opinion polls and seems to have no opinions of her own. Rudd, well he just loves himself way too much. Abbott, total smartarse moron. The kid you always wanted to punch in the face at school but his mummy picked him up because too many other people had already done it.
        Given the choices now I’d rather vote for Howard.

  14. Rudd is only hated for actually making them work for there money.

    The public office does not like someone who makes them work.

    he would be considered our hardest working pm.

  15. vote for the labour. the nbn will help so much with our buisinesses. i am not just gonna wait for the nbn to come then for it to be scrapped by tony abott who has done nothing. hoping

  16. Conroy will support Gillard for simple factional alliance reasons. if Rudd somehow walks on water and flukes a win over Abbott or Turnbull we may well get the NBN solidified but with Kevs born again status and his fondness for the ACL we can expect the NBN to embrace some of the most draconian internet controls outside of downtown Tehran…

    • However crazy Labor is we have the Greens controlling the senate to keep them in line. They won’t be able to push their filter legislation, they can certainly try but it won’t pass.

      • But if Rudd were there the TPP, a revamped ACTA and who knows what secret ‘free trade’ disguised nasties could look shiny and pretty to the idiots in the two main parties?

  17. This article shows you exactly why Tony Abbot (the liberal parties village idiot) should never be considered for prime minister, no matter how bad Labor may be.

    A village idiot as Prime Minister that does not support future proofed infrastructure for the long term benefit of australia, shows that the village idiot has absolutely no long term vision of where this country should be. We had 11 years of little johnny’s lack of infrastructure planning.

    If the liberal parties village idiot wants to win the next election it is so simple it is ridiculous. Put it in writing as an absolute rock solid promise that you will continue the NBN and the liberal parties village idiot would not even have to campaign when the election is called.

    • “If the liberal parties village idiot wants to win the next election it is so simple it is ridiculous. ”

      haha so funny and so true

  18. Rudd is a spoilt child trying to big himself up. He won’t win this. Gillard should meet him in Brizzy tomorrow and kick him in the balls.
    The media and pollsters are fking up this country.

  19. If Abbott will require the passage of legislation to stop the NBN then he is probably going to be unable to get it through the upper house. Like so many other of the things he plans to wind back.

    • As Gwyntaglaw stated about, TA wouldn’t have to put in Legislation, all he would have to do is wind up NBNCO or change their focus.

      Any loss will be blamed on ‘wasteful’ Labor party spending; the victor will write history.

      Its a bit of a pity, as I agree with Brendan that something like the NBN will be a one shot event. If it falls over this time it will be years before (if ever) it ever gets up again.

  20. Oh ye of little faith!

    I agree with the first poster…..Kevin Rudd is a large part of the problem that Labor has with the Australian public. Labor should be romping it home in the polls given the excellent management of the economy, the low unemployment and the *investments* being made in education, health, and, of course, the real investment…the NBN.

    Since Kevin stuffed it up for himself….he really only has himself to blame….he has been behind the scenes poison for Labor. This guy is like the little kid at kindy that has his favourite toy stolen from him and he now wants it back or the playground is coming down!!! I mean this guy, when PM, wouldn’t even agree to see Bob Brown for 14 months….c’mon gimme a break, that’s ridiculous. Even Conroy has come out and told everyone what he thinks….and it basically sounds like Kevin Rudd is the egotistical maniac someone else mentioned in the news. No thanks….

    Go Julia, there is a woman with vision and once they lance the egotistical little vegemite from the party, we will gradually see her claw her way back to her rightful position….fair and square all over the top of the Noalition and their king of FUD…Tony *Aspirational* Abbott.

    Renai, bit surprised you jumped for Rudd….I want the NBN just as much as anyone else but I reckon Rudd is not only the wrong choice….he wouldn’t be able to maintain his magical *poll numbers* if he got back in. Julia, on the other hand, has done all the hard yards, much of the policy work is in place, and now it is just a matter of implementing it, and educating the public about what they are all about.

    Conroy isn’t an idiot, no matter what we all think of him personally…..and neither is Swan. Even the almighty *praise his hallowed name* Tony Windsor reckons Julia is the one for the job.

    There is a reason why all these ppl choose Julia.

    Think about it….look at the facts….you all know how stupid and uninformed the public can be….

    Just look at how much the average Joe&Jill knows about the NBN…

    Bye bye Ruddster….close the door on your way out.

    Roll on NBN….

    • More power to you, brother! Yes, despite the grim predictions and hysteria, the outcome of this spat will change very little.

      Rudd cannot win a ballot of his own party.

      There will be no early election.

      The rural independents and Greens will not turn against Gillard.

      The government will carry on until late 2013.

      The only possibility for a different outcome is if there is a by-election in a Labor electorate with <12% margin. But that risk has been there all along, and is unrelated to this. Rudd will not resign from Parliament – however deluded he may be, he does not want to go down as the greatest Labor rat in history.

      Oh, and the NBN will keep on rolling out, efficiently and speedily. The funny thing is that 2012 will be the best year for the NBN from a PR point of view – all the hard work and heartache is over. Telstra's structural separation is now a formality. The legislation is in place. Big construction contracts have been let for all states and territories. The maps and new rollout locations are multiplying month after month. There will be no shortage of happy photo-ops for local MPs (even Liberal/National ones!) at launches/soil turnings/switchings on all across the country as new sites begin and come on line.

      The one big question that I would like to find out is when the construction contracts come up for renewal, and what will happen then. Most or all of them seem to have been signed in 2011 for a two-year term, with an option to extend further years. At some point in 2013, and almost certainly before the likely election date, those contracts will come up for renewal.

      I simply cannot see any reason why they would not be renewed at that time – assuming that there are no insurmountable problems with the contractor at that point. Whatever the Libs say, it would be both prudent and in accordance with the good governance of the project to renew with the successful contractors at that point. Any fist-waving from the presumptive government-in-waiting should not have any bearing on that.

      If you were building a bridge, and the contract came up for renewal in a similar timeframe, would you say "well, the bridge is only half-finished, but we'll hold off actually taking the steps to finish the project given that the other party might get in and they might just decide to halt work to spite everything". That would be absurd. You would take the steps necessary to finish the project, knowing that unnecessary delays would only add to the cost.

      Outside of the caretaker period immediately before the election, there is no requirement or convention requiring a government to avoid making decisions that will bind a future government. Governments do that all the time – defence purchases, roads, railways – there are many long term decisions will have an impact for years to come in the future.

    • I am assuming your post is entirely sarcastic. If not maybe a visit to the chemist to procure some

  21. Labor might have a realistic chance if they get rid of their ISP filtering policy. Before the 07 election they had a clear 1 million vote lead with the young vote and they just squandered it away with stupid policy. Secondly they have very poor communicators to convey their policy. They just introduce policy, pump it through parliament, but don’t even bother explaining anything. Abbott has nothing alternative to contribute, it’s just repeal, repeal, repeal.

    Neither side is any good value for money. I just want to hit the reset button and get rid of every member in parliament. A plague onto them all! Maybe we should come up with a parliamentry system that works on the same principle like jury duty. Your name comes up, gratz your up for 3yrs to represent your country, any valid reason as to why you can’t do that? Can’t be any worse than the idiots in power now.

  22. What a load of rubbish Renai.

    In about October 2013 NBN will likely release its 2014 rollout plan. Do you think the Coalition will get in power and then take the political risk of telling those residents they will no longer get their connections. Of course not.

    In 2014 the NBN will be ‘in the hole’ with humungous potential break-fees with all it’s providers who it has long term contracts with.

    Break-fee costs, combined with ongoing public support for the project mean the chance of the NBN being wound up is close to zero, but to be sure I think a non-partisan grassroots ‘Save the NBN’ campaign in 2013 is the way to go.

    • hang on, doesnt the break fee cost only kick in after a certain level of takeup has been achieved? if so, given how the time frame has been narrowed to the next election (Telstra sign off delay) NBNco will have to extract the digit to get things to the point at the next election where that part of the contract comes into play…?

      atm i dont think enough has been done… so if, say, as per speculation in thread KRudd gets another shot, and indies pull out, trigger an election and TA wins – that clause will have no utility at all in holding TA back from winding NBNco up or giving it new directives.

      unless im wrong and the break fee comes on regardless of work done, but from memory they have a trigger for that part of the contract to be active. and i dont think they are near it, even if the election stays out at 2013.

  23. I do not think the roll out of a national broadband will stop if the government changes. It maybe modified, perhaps some type of hybrid, who knows.

    • @Not sure: ‘…some type of hybrid, who knows.’

      And that’s exactly the problem. Nobody knows just what Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull are talking about when they airily waffle on about delivering ‘ultra fast broadband for a fraction of the cost.’

      They appear to be relying on the fact that most people do not understand the tech issues involved. Come to that, it’s becoming more and more clear that they don’t understand the technical or political issues either.

      • Exactly. No one knows. I’ve just posted on this exact theme below.

        There’s simply no way of knowing what the Libs will decide to do.

        Best case scenario: Abbott and Turnbull let the construction contracts take their course and the rollout continues to announced locations, while holding off announcing any new sites until a review and CBA is completed. Then the CBA comes out with guarded support for the NBN, but with some tweaks (perhaps reducing the fibre reach from 93% back to 90% or lower; adding FTTN for some not-so-lucky areas and more wireless for country towns; and probably accelerating a selloff of the assets). Then we’ll get a re-badged “Australian Broadband Network”, which of course will be nothing like the bad old “National Broadband Network”, oh no, which will be hailed as a Liberal triumph.

        Worst case scenario: all construction is halted immediately, all of NBN Co staff are sacked but for a skeleton team to maintain the statutory obligations, and preparation is made to sell off all assets in a fire sale. Because the network is mid-rollout, and there is only a patchwork quilt of sites connected, the assets are significantly depreciated in value. Pretty much the only credible buyer is Telstra – but they will only take the assets off the government’s hands in exchange for significant concessions – including exemptions from ACCC oversight, and a bargain price. And we’re back to the vertical monopoly of old, except even worse this time around.

  24. Abbott will not stand to let the NBN continue in it’s present form, it’s a government driven enterprise and the Coalition are effectively allergic to it.

    This is why they have no real policies, per-se. It’s all up to commercial interests to sort out. And if they don’t? Too bad, little vegimites.

  25. This isn’t a prediction – The PM was knifed, the deputy got the top job, released bad policies, the voting public gave the job to the leader of the opposition, they canned many policies, reforms, PANELS and we had to wear it for many years. This is deja vu. We have been here before. Hawke got knifed by Keating, we had the Panel period contracts, they were thrown out by Howard, he introduced the GST when in power.

    What happened next? The GFC. Who was in power and shielded us from the impact? K Rudd. How did he do it? a recession or a stimulus? He saved more companies than we are aware of.

    The PM got knifed again, JG is in power. What will happen next, based on prior mistakes by the ALP? Here comes PM Abbott. Stand by for the NBN to be discontinued, the net filter to reactivate, and that employment mess to re-surface.

    They are repeating the same mess over and over. Abbott will gain the PM role on a platter. JG has disenfranchised voters looking at jumping ship, Bob Katter is actually looking viable and there are no safe alternatives.

    Hell in a handbasket people.

    • Turnbull doesn’t believe in the NBN any more than his leader.

      People need to get to grips with the notion that Abbott will remain leader for the time being; Libs were hamstrung by Turnbull’s center-right methodology, causing stagnation. The party rolled him for a reason.

      • Abbott doesn’t actually give two hoots about the NBN. Build it, don’t build it – he couldn’t care less.

        Abbott’s crude strategy is to use it (like pretty much every policy) as a cudgel to beat the Government with.

        Once in Government, who knows what he will do? That’s the whole question. Whatever Turnbull has said so far assumes, in effect, that they got into office last year when the NBN rollout was in its embryonic stage.

        The reality of the significant progress that will have been achieved by late 2013 is something that simply doesn’t appear in their plans; nor do the raft of contracts and other signed arrangements (like the one that Telstra is about to finalise in days). To listen to Turnbull or Abbott on the subject, it’s as though all this simply doesn’t exist and won’t.

        That’s why we will only know what they will actually do when they’ve got into office – and I believe that will not be until late next year. Wishful thinking will not bring them the early election they crave. An MP may drop dead or get caught with their hand in the jar, and if that happens, a by-election could end the Government. Barring that, the Government will run its term.

        In office, Turnbull has pledged to “review” everything, and call upon the Productivity Commission (and maybe some other person or body) to deliver a Cost Benefit Analysis. Fine, but what will happen in the 12 months while that happens? Pull the plug on day one, or just let the contracts keep rolling? Truly, who knows?

  26. Tony Abbott as PM won’t be in a position to appoint Malcolm Turnbull to any position in the Shadow Ministry.

  27. Julia’s problem is she is seen by the Australian voter as a backstabbing liar. I’m afraid it is have a chance with Kev or stick with Julia and suffer the trainwreck.

  28. Anybody know what financial penalities will apply to any persons that cause the NBN to be abandoned? I think Senator Conroy would have in place massive financial sanctions that would make it very difficult for any politican to kill the NBN product.

  29. Good grief, this government has been an unmitigated disaster. Even the NBN we know and love is the result of a Conroy whim after the screwed up tender process way back in 2007/8.

    • Screwed up?

      The tender process found FTTN, which most tenders were offering, unsuitable. Yet that’s now the opposition’s plan.

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