blog Ever the supporter of the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network project, independent Rob Oakeshott has come out swinging this week to demand that the Coalition must support the fibre to the premises basis of the NBN, not the FTTN model the Coalition currently supports. The Financial Review reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):
“Mr Oakeshott said he was “all ears” for a Coalition government come the next federal election, but said it must change its broadband policy to use the same technologies being rolled out under Labor’s $37.4 billion national broadband network.”
Just as it was in the last Federal Election in 2010, the NBN is shaping up as a key battleground for the upcoming 2013 poll. And it’s not hard to see why. In a world where many of the game-changing Labor policies have not yet been enacted (I’m thinking here of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the dental health insurance system) and others have proven anaemic (for example, the mining tax), the NBN represents a concrete, dare we say it, nation-building project which Labor can hold up as an example of how its reign has positively impacted Australia, although of course there are also questions about how effective Labor has been at delivering the NBN.
In this context, it’s no surprise that the NBN would help sway Oakeshott towards Labor: After all, the MP cited the NBN as one reason he initially supported Julia Gillard to form government back in 2010. However, we can’t see Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull suddenly bending over to announce that they support FTTP. The Coalition has discussed the FTTN option too many times now to easily flip over and support the Government on this one. One suspects this would only happen in the event of extreme political exigency.