ABC flagships ignore Coalition NBN controversy



news Several of the ABC’s flagship current affairs programs are largely ignoring the Coalition’s radical reshaping of Labor’s popular National Broadband Network project, analysis has revealed, as debate continues to swirl about the public broadcaster’s coverage of an initiative which constitutes Australia’s largest ever infrastructure project.

Under Labor’s previous NBN policy, some 93 percent of Australian premises were to have received fibre directly to the premises, with the remainder of the population to have been served by a combination of satellite and wireless broadband. However, since taking office the Coalition has drastically modified that policy, instructing NBN Co to go ahead with a model which will see 30 percent of the 93 percent served by the existing HFC cable networks owned by Telstra and Optus. A further 44 percent will receive a hybrid Fibre to the Node service (integrated with Telstra’s existing copper network), and only 26 percent will receive Fibre to the Premises.

The move has sparked extreme criticism from telecommunications industry experts as well as the general population. In January, for instance, veteran telecommunications analyst Paul Budde described the Coalition’s new “Multi-Technology Mix” approach as “a dog’s breakfast” of different technologies, which could turn out to be a “logistical nightmare” to deliver in practice. Some 272,000 Australians signed a record-breaking petition requesting the Coalition reconsider its plans.

Despite the controversy, an analysis conducted by Delimiter of the NBN-related coverage of three of the ABC’s top flagship current affairs programs over the past 18 months has found that only one — Lateline — covers the issue regularly or in any detail, while others such as 7:30 and Q&A have almost completely ignored the issue in that period.

The issue came to a head in late April, when Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull appeared on the broadcaster’s flagship panel discussion program Q&A alongside opinionated commentator Van Badham, who has emerged as a critic of the Coalition’s radical reworking of Labor’s NBN project.

Analysis of the questions submitted to the show before the episode went to air and published online on the ABC’s site showed that as a consequence of the two panellists’ participation, Q&A was inundated with at least many dozens of questions regarding the NBN as a topic, in both text and video form. However, the show did not choose to air any of the NBN questions, choosing to focus on unrelated issues. Pre-show briefing materials distributed to panellists and attendees before the episode contained no mention of the NBN, and host Tony Jones actively prevented Badham from discussing the issue with Turnbull.

Analysis conducted by Delimiter over the past week has shown that Q&A’s treatment of the issue on that occasion was not an anomaly for the show.

Turnbull was appointed Shadow Communications Minister in September 2010. Since that time, the Liberal MP has appeared on Q&A 12 times, or every few months. Despite the repeat appearances, on only three occasions — 28 April 2014, 10 February 2014 and 8 July 2013 and, did Q&A allow a formal question about the NBN topic to be asked by the audience. Turnbull’s appearances on Q&A while in the Communications portfolio are tabled below:


On two of those three occasions, host Tony Jones actively curtailed discussion on the NBN, allowing only very limited discussion of the topic, and only allowing Turnbull personally to respond to the issue at length, with other panellists only having very limited input.

The only occasion on which Jones has allowed extended discussion of the NBN during a show on which Turnbull was a panellist was on 8 July 2013, immediately prior to last year’s Federal Election in September, when Jones allowed a prolonged debate on the issue between Turnbull, then-Communications Minister Anthony Albanese and other figures. That extended debate lasted some 12 minutes, which represented a sizable chunk of the Q&A show.

Following the Q&A episode in April on which Turnbull appeared, the ABC issued a statement noting that Q&A attempted to cover as much of the national debate as it could in one hour, but pointed out that not all topics could be covered. At the time, it denied it had a deal with Turnbull for the Minister to not take questions on the NBN on Q&A.

“The NBN has been discussed on Q&A and answered by Malcolm Turnbull in past programs and no doubt will be discussed again in the future,” a spokesperson for the ABC said. “ABC news and current affairs programs have offered comprehensive coverage of the NBN as it has done with all issues on the national agenda.”

However, further analysis conducted by Delimiter has demonstrated that the ABC’s flagship current affairs programs often do not cover the NBN issue at all — especially the ongoing criticism of the Coalition’s unpopular radical overhaul of the project.

The broadcaster’s most high-profile show, 7:30, has not yet covered the NBN as a specific topic in 2014, despite the wide-ranging changes which the Coalition has made to the project and despite the fact that Turnbull has personally made several major policy announcements affecting it (see here and here). The lack of coverage also comes despite the fact that the NBN remains Australia’s largest ever infrastructure project.

Similarly, 7:30 only covered the NBN as a specific topic a handful of times throughout the 2013 calendar year. The show did not cover the issue at all as a specific topic in the months of January, February, March, May, August, October and November.

Coverage of the NBN topic during other months by 7:30 was typically largely limited to major announcements regarding the project, or Coalition criticism of Labor’s administration of the project. For example, 7:30 covered the Coalition’s rival NBN policy announcement in April 2013, asbestos concerns about the network’s construction in June and construction delays in July. Following the election, 7:30 broadcast three pieces on the NBN, largely reflecting information about the Coalition’s reshaping of the network.

In December, NBN Co released its Strategic Review, which included a number of options for radically reshaping the project. The release of the report was viewed with dismay by large segments of Australia’s technology sector, as its key recommendation significantly watered down Labor’s popular Fibre to the Premises NBN model, promoting instead a model involving the re-use of the HFC cable networks owned by Telstra and Optus. This model has not been implemented in this fashion overseas, and questions remain about its technical and commercial viability.

However, 7:30 did not detail the extensive industry criticism of the proposed new model, instead broadcasting only an interview with Turnbull about the changes.

The broadcaster’s late night show Lateline has covered the issue much more extensively and in what appears to be a more balanced fashion. In 2013 the show covered the issue in most months, leaving the NBN off its roster only in January, March, November and December. In addition, Lateline went much further than 7:30 or Q&A in challenging the Coalition’s approach to the project, broadcasting interviews with Labor figures such as then-Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and Labor MP Ed Husic.

In August, immediately prior to the Federal Election, Lateline hosted the only broadcast debate between then-Communications Minister Anthony Albanese and Turnbull.

However, there have also been questions raised about Lateline’s coverage of the issue. On 10 April this year, NBN Co announced that it had turfed at least three key executives at the company after just one week of new chief executive Bill Morrow being in his role, with long-time and respected NBN Co head of corporate and commercial Kevin Brown, chief financial officer Robin Payne and chief technology officer Gary McLaren to leave NBN Co.

That night, host Tony Jones hosted a lengthy interview with Turnbull on Lateline. Jones strongly pushed Turnbull on a range of issues associated with the NBN — including the issue of whether rival telcos such as TPG should be allowed to overbuild the NBN network and the drastically watered down speeds possible under the Coalition’s version of the project.

However, Jones commenced the interview by asking about unrelated issues such as the release of the diaries of former NSW Premier and Foreign Minister Bob Carr, as well as proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act. In addition, Jones did not ask Turnbull about the executives who had lost their roles at NBN Co.

Throughout 2013 Jones held several other interviews with Turnbull on Lateline in which he pressured the Member for Wentworth on the NBN issue.

However, it does not appear as though Jones was similarly active in interviewing figures from the other major side of politics — Labor — with co-host Emma Alberici conducting most of the interviews or debates in that period which involved Labor politicians such as Senator Stephen Conroy (Communications Minister for much of 2013), his successor Anthony Albanese and Labor MP Ed Husic, who also retains a strong interest in the NBN and technology issues.

In addition, none of the ABC’s flagship programs — 7:30, Lateline or Q&A — have been active in interviewing other stakeholders in the NBN process. It has been extremely rare over the past 18 months that such shows have interviewed figures from the corporate world such as executives from Telstra, Optus, iiNet, TPG or Vodafone, or the minor political parties such as the Greens, or networking vendors from companies such as Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent. The shows have also not regularly featured telecommunications industry analysts, who have often been critical of the Coalition’s approach to the NBN.

Many figures from such organisations have strong views with respect to the National Broadband Network and have voiced their opinions in other media outlets regularly with regard to the project over the past several years, especially associated with the Coalition’s controversial proposed changes to the project.

The ABC’s approach to the issue comes as the University of Melbourne has recently released a comprehensive study of public attitudes towards Labor’s National Broadband Network project. The study found the initiative still enjoys very high levels of widespread public support from ordinary Australians, despite what the study described as an “overwhelmingly negative” approach to the project by print media such as newspapers.

In general, the only ABC journalist to have regularly and specifically covered criticisms of Labor’s NBN project over the past several years has been Nick Ross, the Editor of the broadcaster’s Technology + Games site.

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 in February 2013 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. For example, Channel 10’s The Project television show used Ross’s work extensively in sharply questioning Turnbull on his rival NBN policy.

Subsequent to his publication of several such articles, however, Ross was sharply attacked by Turnbull, who accused the journalist of creating “relentless propaganda” to support Labor’s NBN project, in a stance which the then-Shadow Communications Minister described in July 2012 as “embarrassing”. Ross was also strongly attacked for the coverage by The Australian newspaper, which was sharply critical of Labor’s NBN project while Labor was in Government. Since that period, Ross has published very little analysis of the NBN project.

The ABC’s own Media Watch investigated Ross’ coverage in March 2013. At the time, it noted that it would perhaps have been “safer” for Ross to only cover the for and against claims being made about the NBN project, without analysing them. However, host Jonathan Holmes stated at the time that to many media critics, this was a “cop-out” and represented “he said, she said” journalism.

Holmes found that Ross had, using his expertise and specialist knowledge of the NBN topic, had delivered analysis grounded in reporting work, using hundreds of reports and other sources; and had no political affiliations to weigh him down. In addition, he noted that mainstream media outlets such as The Australian Financial Review and The Australian newspapers had taken a broadly negative approach to the NBN; in contrast, he noted strong ABC reader support for Ross’s work.

One of the only other ABC journalists to regularly raise the issue of the NBN over the past several years has been Jake Sturmer, who from February through December 2013 was the broadcaster’s national science and technology reporter.

During his time in the role, Sturmer published a number of articles examining issues such as doubts over whether Telstra’s copper network could meet the needs of the Coalition’s rival NBN policy. Sturmer also covered NBN Co’s Strategic Review and its conclusion that the Coalition’s election policy of delivering 25Mbps broadband to all Australians by the end of 2016 was unrealistic.

However, it appears as though Sturmer was reassigned in January this year, as his LinkedIn profile now states he is the ABC’s national environment and science reporter. The journalist still reports for many of the same outlets — ABC News, 7:30, Lateline and the AM and PM radio shows — but his beat no longer explicitly covers technology, and Sturmer has largely ceased covering the NBN project.

Badham, whose blocked questions to Turnbull first sparked debate about the ABC’s coverage of the NBN in April, wrote in early May for The Guardian that Turnbull was escaping public scrutiny of his radical changes to the NBN project.

“Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull may not want to answer many questions about the National Broadband Network, but it shouldn’t stop Australians from asking them,” Badham wrote. “After all, since last September, Turnbull has reneged on pre-election NBN commitments, admitted to giving misleading statements about Labor’s costings, made chummy appointments, ignored expert economic consideration, and infuriated the near-entirety of the professional tech community. And yet, the minister has been able to dodge much deserved public excoriation.”

Delimiter has attempted to contact the ABC’s media spokespeople to invite a response to the issues raised in this article.

Image credit: ABC


  1. Great analysis Renai. Keep up the good work. We expect more of the ABC!

    (and let’s not forget that the Triple J Hack team let him get away with blatant lies too!)

  2. There has been a lot of debate about the price tag of the NBN, but I have seen many episodes with Malcolm Turnbull where he was questioned by Tony Jones about certain non technical details about the NBN, such as the Cost Benefit analysis aspect and such, the reason Tony Jones doesn’t allow extensive questions about the NBN on QandA is because of the technical nature, the jargon and over technical aspects of the project make debate difficult unless you have a panel of Telecommunications experts and then no one else in the audience would understand completely what is being said. This should be more about trying to translate highly technical concepts into easier to understand language, Insight did a special on SBS about the NBN and it was a great debate about the project, the cost, the benefits and the deficiencies of FTTP, this would be a better format and platform to debate and discuss this kind of issue than 7:30 or QandA, maybe Delimiter should be getting more of their journalists to ask for air time on these programs then just complaining about it from a far.

    • Interesting that you ASSUME people won’t understand do you have evidence for this or is it just your personal opinion that Aussies are too stupid to understand?

      • I think Frank doesn’t understand.

        Here’s a radical idea, try the people. Lots of “those in the know” would be astounded at how much us plonkers do know. And don’t forget all the School Children tied up in this. You can bet Turnbull’s left nut that they will be letting their parents know what is what and what is crap.

    • Whhaaaaaa…democracy is too hard!!

      There are plenty of people that do understand the technologies used in the NBN debate, shutting the debate down because some people might not understand it is the opposite of democracy…

    • It’s like there was a fire, and um, we’re the fire department putting out the fire.

      Seriously, how stupid does the government think we are? That’s how you talk to a three year old.

  3. Thanks for the analysis Renai.

    It will never cease to amaze how Australia’s largest ever infrastructure project gets so little coverage. Especially when it is being so drastically subverted for what could only be described as ideological reasons.

    I think it’s time for that Pozible campaign :-)

  4. no coincidence that the Communications Minister who is the Government Shareholder of NBN also…commands the entire communications sector.

    v. powerful chap : )

  5. Keep it up Renai. There were many many articles attacking Labor’s plan (some justified criticisms), what do we have now? *Crickets*

    We’re yet to see anything beyond a few trials, much hiring/firing and a bunch of reviews/reports. They’re kidding themselves if they think they can hit their rollout targets _and_ change technology mid project.

  6. I find it annoying with Q&A where they get a politician on and go out of their way to ask questions *NOT* in the pollie’s portfolio.

    Excuse the language but what the fuck is the point of asking the Communication’s minister on a panel, receive enough questions targeting his portfolio and go out of your way to avoid them (he responded to several questions noting that he can’t answer them because it’s not his portfolio and therefore has no idea)? It’s like asking Hockey on and going out of your way to prevent budget questions from being asked, or Pyne and not asking Education questions.

    • I can handle seeing Q&A ignore a politician’s portfolio a few times. But nine times out of twelve over a period of several years is ridiculous. Q&A appears to be treating Turnbull like some kind of celebrity instead of the politician that he is.

      • I’m with you here Renai. We ARE talking about Australia’s Communications backbone and our Global Business Competitiveness.

        If we don’t have the Upload and Download speeds, Australian Business will lose out to those who do,

        And if anyone is any doubt that any area overseas is doing a Turnbull, Copper is King, have a look at this vid

        This just the start. And they are all going to need bandwidth. Unless of course, one desires one’s uploaded data to be compressed outbound and decompressed at the other end, with the resultant risk of losing data.

  7. Nice article! But you mention:

    “The only occasion on which Jones has allowed extended discussion of the NBN during a show on which Turnbull was a panellist was on 8 July 2013, immediately prior to last year’s Federal Election”…

    Edit: Never mind – your article has been corrected :)

    The picture you have for this shows that the extensive debate was on the 10th of February – which is correct?

    • Brandis might try and flag Delimiter as a priacy site in his new internet filter for ISP’s to block.

      I hope you don’t stop Renai

      your one of the last one’s left asking the questions that need to be asked

  8. What questions could Q&A have asked about the Coalitions NBN policy before it was announced in April 2013?

  9. I wrote to the ABC complaining about the lack of questions on Turnbull’s portfolio and have not yet receoved a reply (I did request one).
    Neither have I received a reply on the missive I sent a couple of days before on the wholly “puff piece” interview on lateline and a similar one on ABC radio 774 where the interviewer allowed Turnbull to obfuscurate his way around all questions (sic). My complaint in the latter two cases was that the interviewers were so badly informed that could not address the issue. I suggested next time the ABC get a competant expert to ask the questions.
    Renai, offer your services.


    • Never mind the email/online complaints, write them a physical letter.

      I’m going to write a letter that states “While I fully support the ABC and would do anything to prevent funding cuts, however I will not be doing that in major gaps in it’s news coverage of the current federal government policy.”

      “Specifically, even when a policy is commonly treated deeply unpopular or unjustified by the general public, no attempt is made to denote that in either the story or more importantly the headline. Further more in depth analysis, debate or questions asked about the major changes made to the NBN roll out., are entirely absent. QandA’s questioning of Malcolm Turnbull is a complete farce, and nothing more than a polite chat over tea and cookies about the weather. Given that $40+ billion is involved, this is a serious issue.”

      “The massive and counter productive cuts to climate, environmental, science and other areas of research, is a huge worry. We are at risk of becoming the dumb country that does little more than export expensive dirt.”

      I’d conclude with something along the lines of
      “Until such time as the entire QandA team are sacked (yes even the cleaner), and proper journalism with independent experts to dissect every aspect of government policy is restored, I will do nothing. It’s best for the ABC right now to loose as many staff as possible, in the hope those unable or unwilling to provide proper public debate are sacked.”

  10. Thanks for this summary, Renai. I had been hoping that after the budget was finalised, the ABC would feel more “free” to criticise without fear of punative cuts – but nothing yet.

    Anecdotes aren’t data, but I have personally asked via twitter any number of NBN-related questions on Q&A, with a 100% failure rate so far for myself and obviously anyone else trying to participate. It’s dispiriting, to say the least, as well as unfathomable that Australia’s single largest infrastructure project in history is escaping due mainstream scrutiny.

    Kudos for your continued efforts as always.

  11. I’d like to see a decent investigation into the background of the NBN / Telstra (and others) commercial negotiations.

    Explaining the scope and possible consequences of this asset acquisition at the taxpayer’s expense is vital.

    The numbers and implications of these negotiations will have massive ramifications for years to come.

    The possibility for conflict of interest alone is justification for some media scrutiny.

  12. Any more of this Renai, and your funding will be cut off! Oh wait! Your not the ABC.. Sorry..Malcolm.

  13. Is this what the pro-NBN debate has come down to? Bashing the ABC for not covering what you want them to cover in the way you want it covered. You’re beginning to sound like The Australian. What are you hoping to achieve?

    If you have time and energy to spare and nothing better than this to spend it on why not go after Simon Hackett on the feasibility of the NBNCo’s plans for the HFC footprint. He posted a blog in support of it a while back so he’s fair game. It’s important it is scrutinized and if you can uncover any flaws in the plan you might actually achieve something.

    • I want a show that touts itself as:
      “Q&A puts punters, pollies and pundits together in the studio to thrash out the hot issues of the week.

      It’s about democracy in action – on Q&A the audience gets to ask the questions.

      It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you’re from – everyone can have a go and take it up to our politicians and opinion makers.” (

      and includes on a single panel the Federal Communications Minister (FCM) plus a person who is outspoken on the FCM’s changes to the NBN to be asked and allowed to ask questions pertaining to that persons portfolio.

      Its not about not getting it covered in the manner we want it covered – its about it NOT getting covered AT ALL! The ABC is meant to be the most unbiased TV channel in Australia as its not owned by Big Business. While it is owned by the Government it is still meant to be able to ask the tough questions of ANY government whether in power, opposition or another political party, not just appear to bow down before the current govt in fear.

      • “I want a show that touts itself as:
        “Q&A puts punters, pollies and pundits together in the studio to thrash out the hot issues of the week.”

        Fair enough. Perhaps the ABC does not consider the NBN to be a “hot issue of the week” for most of the viewers of Q&A. With what the government has been saying and doing in other areas recently I think that’s a reasonable assessment. I don’t believe the NBN is a mainstream issue with the general public at this time.

        Further, I don’t believe the ABC had Turnbull on Q&A specifically as the communications minister but as a Coalition MP who, in the past, has been willing to comment on a wide range of subjects outside his portfolio.

        Even if Jones had allowed some discussion of the NBN, Turnbull would just have trotted out the same old stuff we’ve had from him to date … Labor screwed it up … we’re going to do it quicker and cheaper … you know the lines.

        What we need are lines that might cut through with the general public. For example …

        Turnbull said a while back that schools in the FTTN footprint would still get FTTP. (I know that statement has zero credibility given recent events but go with it for now.) Will schools in the HFC footprint also get FTTP or will schools, and pupils, in the HFC footprint be disadvantaged?

        Turnbull has said those in the FTTN footpint who need direct fibre will be able to get FoD for up to $5,000 (same disclaimer as above). Will businesses in the HFC footprint be able to get FoD or will those businesses be disadvantaged? If those businesses are disadvantaged will they move so the whole area is disadvantaged by the loss of jobs.

        That’s just two specifics I can think of apart from the whole question of whether HFC can do what Simon Hackett said it could and would. The NBNCo has had six months to progress its HFC plans. I think there’s far more to be gained from investigating, and possibly exposing, those plans than from whinging about the ABC.

        • Sir,

          It was very clear to all who watched that Turnbull did not proffer much debate, when questioned on policies outside his portfolio. He went to some effort to communicate just that.

          I don’t expect every show to feature NBN front-and-centre. I doubt anyone could stand it for any length of time.

          What I do expect is for the communications minister to face communication questions on a debate program that prides itself on being honest and open.

          His portfolio includes stewardship of the single largest investment the federal government has made in years. I think a couple questions once in a while is hardly a ridiculous notion.

          And never confuse a lack of debate of a topic to have a 1:1 relationship with relevance and importance. That’s a particularly over-reaching assumption and does not particularly progress the notion that a lack of debate of a Multi Billion dollar investment equates to it thus being of zero value.

          I don’t recall it being irrelevant prior to the election. In fact..

          Every masthead from Perth to NT was screaming for it’s bloody demise.

          Debate is a vital part of policy. It ensures those who do, do so under some degree of rigour. Be it in the House, Senate or at a member’s office.

          To pretend it’s somehow now irrelevant, does not a healthy democracy promote, and makes a mockery of calls for transparency and review, made right up until election.

        • “Perhaps the ABC does not consider the NBN to be a “hot issue of the week” for most of the viewers of Q&A”
          Why would they think that when a large proportions of the questions submitted were about the NBN?

          “Further, I don’t believe the ABC had Turnbull on Q&A specifically as the communications minister..”
          Yet, when he is there, and there are large number of questions about his portfolio specificly they don’t address them?

          “Even if Jones had allowed some discussion of the NBN, Turnbull would just have trotted out the same old stuff we’ve had from him to date..”
          How would we know? He is always questioned in a protected environment where the people cannot reply and pursue a real answer such as they can on Q&A.

          “What we need are lines that might cut through with the general public”
          Ignore the elephant in the room, give him a free pass on that, and ask some questions he will be free to lie about. ok. Ignore the big problems and look at the details. Isn’t that what he is doing and the real problem?

          • “Why would they think that when a large proportions of the questions submitted were about the NBN?”

            That would be a judgement call by the ABC.

            I read quite a lot of the “questions”. Whilst there were some good questions there was a lot of comment that would not have made it to air whatever the topic. Sometimes the dross can smother the good points.

            “How would we know? He is always questioned in a protected environment where the people cannot reply and pursue a real answer such as they can on Q&A.”

            Turnbull always trots out the same lines when questioned about the MTM/NBN. He’d do the same on Q&A.

            ” Ignore the big problems and look at the details. Isn’t that what he is doing and the real problem?”

            In my opinion it is better to expose the big problems with the MTM in ways that cut through with the general public than waste time and effort ranting at the ABC. That’s just my opinion though.

    • C’mon CMOT. I think you’ll find that Renai is NOT “pro-NBN” the way you are “anti-NBN”. Renai tends to be much more logically critical, and non-ideology driven than a lot of people that sit in either “camp”. If you find that his critiques place him in a camp that you don’t like, then maybe try and remove some of the political ideology from your own viewpoint to see the validity in his arguments.

      What does he hope to achieve? I think that’s for Renai to answer, but I can think that pointing out discrepancies in the way Australia’s largest ever infrastructure project is reported, which may hint at some other “back room” gentleman’s agreement between the reporting party and the government, on this topic, is of public interest.

      • “C’mon CMOT. I think you’ll find that Renai is NOT “pro-NBN” the way you are “anti-NBN”. ”

        That’s a fairly wild accusation. When/where have I been anti-NBN?

        I’ve noticed a trend recently towards the peculiar, eg. …

        – the NBNCo retrenched a respected employee after a restructure … So?
        – the NBN will be funded by government equity to 2018 and then by commercial debt … just like Labor’s NBN … So?

        Whilst attacking the ABC might play well to the crowd, I don’t think it will achieve anything. I think the effort would be better spent exposing the failings of the MTM in ways that might cut through with the general public. Just my opinion.

        • Still try to balance your love of the Liberal party and Turnbull in general with the fact that unlike most LNP sheeple, you know enough to know the MTM is crap. Keep walking that razor.

          • “Still try to balance your love of the Liberal party and Turnbull in general with the fact that unlike most LNP sheeple, you know enough to know the MTM is crap. Keep walking that razor.”

            So we’re going with the personal insults now.

            YOU don’t know who I am, YOU don’t know how I vote and YOU don’t know what I think of Turnbull in general. What gives you the right to guess and spread malicious lies?

          • “What gives you the right to guess and spread malicious lies?”

            They aren’t guesses, I’ve read thousands of your posts on Whirlpool for many years.

          • Sorry, Renai. I posted a couple of comments that were neither anti-NBN nor pro-Liberal and what I got in response was malicious lies. I felt the need to defend myself.

            The latest lie is that I’ve made posts on Whirlpool that are anti-NBN and/or pro-Liberal. That is another lie but I’ll let that go. It seems this is where posting any comment that disagrees with the opinion of the mob leads.

            Keep up the good work.

  14. At one stage the reverence of Q&A for the treacherous Turnbull seemed to anoint his leather jacket as some sort of cultural icon that elevated its wearer into a position of ‘not really politician, more our republican renaissance man of culture and technical knowhow inside the barbarian horde. There is something fishy about this, it can’t just be Jones bromance or the ABC dread of funding cuts alone, something just doesn’t smell right…

  15. The 1% that was cut from the ABC’s budget was the 1% of coverage that was critical towards the Coalition.

  16. The way the debate has been curtailed over an extended duration tells me its one of two things. Either the ABC is incompetent when understanding what the relevant topics are, or they are politically motivated to avoid the issue.

    If they are incompetent, then its an education and campaigning solution – get them to understand that even if the technical discussion goes over some peoples heads, it still needs to happen. There is simply too much at stake, with both plans.

    If they are politically motivated, it could be because of their leaderships political bias, pressure from the Government, or simply trying to stave off cuts to funding by appearing to favor the Government.

    Either way, it doesnt look good.

    There is so much fodder for discussion, it should be a monthly debate, but as has been shown, there is simply no desire to have the discussion with the person that matters – Turnbull. The one time they did, Albanese was only freshly into the job, and wouldnt have been up to speed. Easy pickings for someone as experienced as Turnbull.

    Which leads me to believe that the ABC is politically motivated in some way – they picked the perfect moment for the two parties to discuss the issue, when the Liberals could present their manifesto with the advantage.

    Since the election, there have been changes to the board, including what appears to be extremely biased job placement. There have been delays in rollouts, seemingly to make themselves look better. There have been technical discussions about the merits, both from the public and their own reports, and there have been decisions made completely at odds with their previous claims and promises like the lack of a CBA.

    So why arent these things being debated?

    • I suspect it’s simple economics Gav, the ABC doesn’t want to see it’s only friend in the Liberals torn to pieces. Malcolm managed to get the cabinet to back off (a bit) on the cuts, so I’m not really surprised they defend him.

      • Probably not far from the truth tinny. If so, that falls into the political category. Either way, its showing they arent independent, which is their mandate.

        You can watch Andrew Bolt, or listen to Alan Jones, and you know there is going to be a bias in their presentation, but shows like 4 Corners, Q&A, Insiders, etc are on a public broadcaster and meant to be above political motivations.

        Just one more example in how the political regime controls everything. Or wants to.

        • Kinda like “Game of NBN’s”, isn’t it :o)

          All kinds of subtle things happening in the background…

  17. I would have been annoyed with this before the election, I would still be annoyed with this if the TPP was close. Right now though the Libs have screwed over any chance of long term reform from their side in any area. The Libs are dead, their NBN changes won’t be around for much longer. So the media not covering the NBN probably won’t change anything.

    • The rapacious capacity for the incumbent government to self destruct over virtually any policy, is somewhat incongruous to the supposed “adults being in charge” self-title.

      Turnbull is labelling any kind of Fibre support as being akin to sedition, Abbott continues as minister for not having a clue how women actually work (at all. just not a clue) and Hockey.. well he likes to party (like it’s 1999) when slashing and burning a budget to within an inch of it’s life.

      >> back on topic:

      All of this is going on, and the press plays on as though it’s all rainbows and lollipops. Frankly I am over this shit. I was over it before Turnbull came along with his talk of copper and those pesky fibre supporters (turncoat! blasphemy! treason!) and I’m still over it as NBNco lurches about sacking all in sundry in between bouts of deployment narcolepsy brought on by almost zero ministerial input.

      It’s patently clear to all that Turnbull has lost the ability to manage his own Ministry. NBNco is hamstrung waiting for Telstra to decide quite how many zeros to add after the ‘one’.

      And that HFC 30% thing? How’s that working out so far.. Beuller?

      The entire debate is now a farce. As is the policy and as much as the sodding (lack of) deployment.

      • I hear you mate, but with Abbott now talking about restructuring the Federation, I think the NBN is actually the least of our worries at the moment…

  18. Great work Renai, I think it really does show the ABC is responding in a bad (but understandable) way to the threats made by the Coalition about their funding.

    It’s a sad state of affairs, but they are probably extremely worried about their actual survival, especially considering the “just a down payment” attached to the most recent cuts they have given them (and killing off the Australia Network).

  19. The Story of Malcolm Scorpion and Mr N.B.N. Frog

    One day, Malcolm Scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river.

    The river was wide and swift, and Malcolm Scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn’t see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.

    Suddenly, he saw Mr N.B.N. Frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask Mr N.B.N. Frog for help getting across the stream.

    “Hellooo Mr N.B.N. Frog!” called Mr Malcolm Scorpion across the water, “Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?”

    “Well now, Malcolm Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?” asked Mr N.B.N. Frog hesitantly.

    “Because,” Malcolm Scorpion replied, “If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!”

    Now this seemed to make sense to Mr N.B.N. Frog. But he asked. “What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!”

    “This is true,” agreed Mr Malcolm Scorpion, “But then I wouldn’t be able to get to the other side of the river!”

    “Alright then…how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?” said Mr N.B.N. Frog.

    “Ahh…,” crooned Malcolm Scorpion, “Because you see, once you’ve taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!”

    So Mr N.B.N. Frog agreed to take Malcolm Scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. Malcolm Scorpion crawled onto Mr N.B.N. Frog’s back, his sharp claws prickling into Mr N.B.N. Frog’s soft hide, and Mr N.B.N. Frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but Mr N.B.N. Frog stayed near the surface so Malcolm Scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.

    Halfway across the river, Mr N.B.N. Frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw Malcolm Scorpion remove his stinger from Mr N.B.N. Frog’s back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.

    “You fool!” croaked Mr N.B.N. Frog, “Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?”

    Malcolm Scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drowning Mr N.B.N. Frog’s back.

    “I could not help myself” said Malcolm Scorpion. “It is my nature.”

  20. I agree. this so far is one of the most detailed and clear analysis regarding the cotroversial NBN issue. I’m still hopeful though that the Government is going to fix this mess. I’m sure they are doing their best to solve this matter. Let’s just wait for the best.

  21. The technology change from fttp to fttn will create mega issues with connections like mine. I’m probably 200m from the exchange, so I doubt there will be any node. So, I’m still relying on the crappy old copper. My sync speed has dropped to 10000 ish and the modem now wants to use G.DMT to connect.
    So will the speed threshold be raised higher than the old 1500 before someone will actually agree you have a noisy line, to come and fix it.
    Under fttp there would be no issue.
    They copper is still going to be the weak link.

  22. This is why I bought a D2 sub. And why i refused the eventual refund. Top quality assessment and reporting. Bravo Renai…

  23. Another reason why ABC is no longer serving the community.
    Perhaps they are scared of annoying their government minister ?

    In any case, my brain is turning to mush listening to Tony Jones on Lateleine interviewing Reza Aslan on his book ( Zelot, a biography of Jesus )…
    Indeed it was actually 17 mins of what to me is total bilge of arguable fiction, opinion and historical storytelling that has minimal relevance for people today…
    …at least no-one else watches Lameline anyway.

    Yet Tony is well briefed in obscure religious trivia such as Jesus being Illiterate, not reading or writing Aramaic ….perhaps Jesus was one of the 50% from Tasmania….
    … a segway into NBN…not happening outside my own brain.

    It just shows that ABC reflect general interest and modern day ignorance of technology, issues, ideas beyond those that can be simplistically stated.

    The biggest issue in Australia is not the ABC, it is the abysmal education and engagement of the masses on a range of issues. It seems to be the case that the Proletariat have been determined to be happy to be told what to think by whoever shouts loudest. One “Struggling Pensioner” is millions, one Bludger or Rorter is millions, it’s sensationalist crap without proper analysis.

    Australia needs to wake up, get educated, get informed and stop being led around like sheep by idiots like the ABC. The media needs to move away from sensationalist entertainment bilge. Otherwise Australia will be confined to be an insignificant country of ignorant people….

  24. I don’t know why you bother with this Renai, I mean the ABC is standing on a knife edge as it is. The LNP is looking for an excuse to axe the ABC and Tony Jones is in with some very influential people at the LNP, so he won’t be doing anything to upset his good mate Turnbull.
    I have to say I feel sorry for you though because knowing how hard you fight for all issues surrounding the NBN, it must be hard to keep something fresh coming out every day. The LNP basically put the NBN to bed the day they got into power. And only now are the families that foolishly voted LNP thinking that “hey they lied to us. No more taxes, no expensive NBN, more money spent on medical services, better roads sooner” and so on.
    I still come to this site from time to time to see if there is any exciting news, but these days I’m just depressed when I read what the LNP is doing and that Labor couldn’t organize a “piss up in a pub” and the LNP only want to grease the wheels of big business and don’t give a shit about the unemployed.

  25. I don’t care about the bias perceived or otherwise with the abc. what i care about is the wasted opportunities that have gone before and the ones presently being squandered. Everyone bangs on about education being the silver bullet, but they all forget the phrase that government funding distorts markets. The ABC has served its purpose when it was the only regional station for much of australia and they should be proud of the history they have made. But where a government supports a national broadcaster that competes against privately funded companies and individuals who invest large amounts of capital. Why doesn’t the government also then support the losses of those private individuals and companies who can’t possibly compete against the bottomless pit of consolidated revenue or the decisions of that broadcaster which are beyond review or critique and yet it is that accountability that the abc demands of all others? where is the proof the supposed educated elite has learnt that lesson? Nowhere i can see.

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