ga('send', 'pageview');
John Passant

Site menu:

August 2010



RSS Oz House



Subscribe to us

Get new blog posts delivered to your inbox.


Site search


My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



NBN: It’s the vision thing, is it?

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

This has been an election about nothing. Each party has been sitting on the stool of its own constipation trying to avoid even a malodorous whiff, let alone a fan. Until Tuesday, when the Opposition opened the sluice gates of its tin foil national broadband network plan.

Tony Abbott went on the 7.30 Report to defend the indefensible – the Liberal Party’s decision to scrap the proposed NBN.

The Labor Party wants to spend $43 billion on a fibre optic NBN network to give 97% of Australians access to broadband at speeds of up to 100 megabits per second.

The Coalition – the Liberals and, let me emphasise, the Nationals – will ditch these plans and instead spend $6.5 billion on patching up the present networks (wireless, cable, towers and the like) and  encouraging ‘competition’ to provide … drum roll… 12 Mbps.

You know, the competition that has so far been successful in making Australia one of the network backwaters. The competition that can’t afford to network Australia because of the distances and small population. Evidently the type of people who bought you the global financial crisis will be able to set up and run the NBN.

Until now this has been the battle of two vision-less robots. Labor has opened an eye. The NBN is about the only policy area where there are real differences between the Liberals and the Labor Party.

Labor’s $43 billion cable to every door plan is about improving productivity and hence the profit of the bosses.

The Liberals will ditch it because it doesn’t fit in with their mantra against Government spending and waste and private enterprise good, government bad. If you want a tin foil broadband network vote for the Liberals.

Clearly the Opposition are beginning to believe their own lies about debt. Their decision to scrap the NBN if elected moves them from a conservative party to a  reactionary one, unfit to rule Australian capitalism.

The surprising thing about this is that the Nationals – the regional conservative party – support the Liberals on this. They are condemning rural Australia to a lifetime of poor or no connections. They will reinforce the tyranny of distance.

The other interesting element was Tony Abbott’s shocking performance on the 7.30 Report defending the Liberals’ position.He couldn’t.

He could however tell me he wasn’t a tech head. Neither am I Tony, but I can spot a dickhead a mile off. And you are one with your attempt to drag us back to the future on broadband. Is the Liberals’ theme song ‘If I could turn back time’?

It may be that the 7.30 Report interview and the NBN decision are turning points in this election. Certainly they encapsulated all that is wrong with the Liberals – backward, reactionary, with a fetish about competition and debt that mean if they are in control they will destroy the economy and condemn Australian capitalism to years of stagnation.

The bun fight over broadband highlights the problems with capitalism. It is  a human need to be on contact with others and in present day capitalism that includes using fast speed connections. The market can’t provide the wherewithal to satisfy that human need. It isn’t profitable to do so. 

The capitalist state may step in to address this market imbalance. In the case of the Labor Party it wants to use the state in conjunction with private enterprise to fund a fibre optic roll out to almost all citizens. It will make us pay through taxes and interest repayments and exorbitant connection prices.

The Liberals want to give a few subsidies to the profiteers to coax them to do something. They won’t and Australian capitalism will be the poorer.

Sensible bosses must be shitting themselves that these Liberal buffoons might be running the country in ten days time.

Sensible workers need to be prepared to fight no matter which robot for capital wins.

Force the ALP to tax the bosses to pay for the NBN and other much needed infrastructure.



Comment from Arjay
Time August 10, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Labor’s $ 43 billion waste on fibre optic is a waste of money.We get the debt and business get the profits.

There could be another agenda here.The main argument against clean feed ie censorship of the net has been the slowing of the net.

Labor or Liberal in a couple of years could censor the web under the ruse of faster fibre optics.

I don’t trust either of the major parties.Make no mistake,this is a new era of facism and we are asleep at the wheel.

Comment from Michael
Time August 11, 2010 at 9:39 am

As the broadband non-interview on 7.30 Report displayed, Tony Abbott doesn’t care where Australia can be. He just wants it back where it was. “Turn back the boats”? Turn back the clock.

Since so much of Abbott’s plans for a future Australia seem to hinge on what will be of advantage to his daughters – paid parental leave becoming legitimate, indeed essential, “visionary” (I wonder what premonitions he’s had here?), as his daughters enter the age of fecundity – perhaps he should talk with one of them about modern technology. Maybe the one who reckons it’s “gonna be awesome living in Kirribilli House”. She seems to have the vocabulary and social priorities of a modern girl.

Comment from Jane
Time August 11, 2010 at 11:28 am

I still can’t understand how “competition” will make any commodity (such as broadband or telephone connections) less expensive, when it means keeping more companies and their infrastructures and an assortment of their offshore telephone answerers solvent.

Comment from Hasbeen
Time August 11, 2010 at 1:14 pm

What a totally dishonest article, suggesting that providing a new backbone for electronic communications in Oz is patching the existing copper.

It is a much better idea to do the major construction of the backbone, [the same backbone that the 46 billion builds], that is beyond private investment, then allow for expansion, if suitable.

It is highly probable that by the time the backbone is in place that new technology will be available to make the spending of the next 37 billion, [BILLION] unnecessary. Wouldn’t that be nice.

If that’s not the case it would be no more expensive to make the decision to spend the rest at that time.

Comment from John
Time August 11, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Thanks Hasbeen. Here’s a quote from Kerry O’Brien in his interview with Tony Abbott:

Professor Rod Tucker from Melbourne University with a string of qualifications in this field as long as your arm – very impressive I might say – including the Australia Prize for his contributions to telecommunications had this to say today: “The idea that we could use very fast broadband based on mobile technologies and existing fibre,” – which is what you would do – “… defies the laws of physics.”

So who is being dishonest? And won’t towers be more expensive?

The argument that we can’t build it now becuase soemthign better might (not ‘highly probable” as you assert) is an argument for never doing anything.

Comment from Josh
Time August 11, 2010 at 5:01 pm

The Liberals have promised to scrap the broadband. They will not deliver optic fiber to the premises. Instead they want a cutprice broadband that delivers very poor results. The Liberals will ensure that Australia remains technologically backward. This suits Abbott since he gets his inspiration from theocratic sources, not science.

Write a comment