Turnbull new PM – will we get a real NBN?

Anthony Caruana
15 September, 2015
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Former Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull successfully challenged Tony Abbott and will be sworn in as Australia’s 29th Prime Minister and our fifth leader in five years. And while there will be much focus given (and rightly so) to the state of the economy, our asylum seeker and immigration policies, marriage equality, the environment and other matters, we’re wondering whether the NBN will see yet another shift in direction.
We hope so.
Abbott appointed Turnbull to the front bench as Communications Minister back in 2010 with a simple mandate – destroy the NBN. And, since taking government two years ago, the Liberal government led by Abbott has taken the Fibre to the Home NBN back to a mix of different communications technologies that will now cost more and perform more poorly than the NBN as it was proposed under Labor.
Those aren’t politically-inspired observations. They are simple statements of fact.
But will the Fiber to the Node NBN that will operate alongside HFC cable, wireless technologies and other communications technologies remain in the government’s policy?
My view is Turnbull is unlike any recent political leader. He comes from a entrepreneurial business background. He didn’t come into politics from the student political movement, diplomatic corps or unions. And that means he is likely (I hope) to be less concerned with pleasing and kowtowing to party apparatchiks.
If Turnbull changes the NBN’s course again, some will accuse him of duplicity. But that’s simply easy political point-scoring.
“We have to recognise that the disruption we see driven by technology, the volatility and change, is our friend if we are agile and smart enough to take advantage of it,” said Turnbull.
This statement gives me some hope that we have, for the first time, a leader who understands technology can be an enabler of future jobs. That won’t be without pain as existing jobs are lost or transformed. But in recognising and acknowledging this, our new PM is suggesting policy may shift, subtly at first, towards creating infrastructure that supports the changes happening in the world.
“The Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, innovative and creative”.
So, will we finally get the NBN we need? I think the signs are positive. But it won’t happen overnight.
What do you think? Will the election of Turnbull as Liberal Party leader and PM make a difference to the NBN? Or are we doomed to more of the same?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

2 Comments

2 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Don says:

    Not any time soon, I fear. First, Malcolm has said that he will stick with existing policy. Second, the rumour is that Joe Hockey is to take over Communications, and he is no tech genius. Third, the CEO of NBN mounted a strong defence of the way things are going on The Press Club program on ABC TV today, saying that it makes more economic sense to get a basic system to everywhere and then let the demand for a better service drive the market for fibre-to-the-premises. He is a great admirer of Malcolm and apparently has his ear.

  2. Alan Jones says:

    The only way for NBN to realise a good result is to put huge pressure on the Liberal Government to change the established view of the Party. This can only be done through the media, constant pressure from constituents and the Ballot Box.

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