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Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Page: 1727

Broadband


Mrs ANDREWS (McPherson) (15:02): My question is to the Minister for Communications. What is the government doing to ensure Australians have access to fast broadband? What is the government doing to ensure Australians have access to broadband-enabled telehealth services?


Mr TURNBULL (WentworthMinister for Communications) (15:02): I thank the honourable member for her question and for her continuing interest and support for the government's policy on ensuring that all Australians have access to very fast broadband sooner, cheaper and more affordably.

The previous government committed more than $20 million to a telehealth trial, but there was a catch. The only people eligible for the trial were those who had access to the NBN's fibre network—in other words, hardly anyone at all. No-one, in fact, in the honourable member's seat of McPherson was eligible—not one. There was no access at all to telehealth under Labor in the seat of McPherson. The Minister for Health and I recognised that this was an obvious shortcoming, and so the Department of Health has announced that telehealth services under the trial can be delivered by a range of broadband access services. It is technology agnostic. So, whether it is fibre or cable or copper or wireless, the important thing is to ensure that people get the service.

There are some limitations to telehealth services. There are some conditions that are arguably incurable and inaccessible. Take Conrovianism. Conrovianism is a very pernicious problem. It has devastating symptoms.

Ms Rishworth interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Kingston!

Mr Dreyfus: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order: relevance.

The SPEAKER: There is no point of order. I call the Minister for Communications.

Mr TURNBULL: One of the symptoms of Conrovianism is a denial of reality and delusions of grandeur, and imagining oneself to be a movie character. The member for Isaacs, for example, does not know—

Mr Albanese: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member for Wentworth talking about delusions of grandeur is out of order because it is against the standing order on irony.

The SPEAKER: If the member for Grayndler tries that again, he will be out immediately.

Mr TURNBULL: The symptoms of this condition include loss of hearing, denial of reality, shouting abuse at unpredictable moments and lack of empathy for people on lower incomes—hence, those afflicted by Conrovianism don't care that they were going to put the cost of broadband up by 80 per cent, $43 a month.

Ms Rishworth interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Kingston will excuse herself from the House under 94(a).

The member for Kingston then left the chamber.

Mr TURNBULL: Madam Speaker, could I have the clock back a bit? We lost a bit of time then.

Honourable members interjecting

Mr TURNBULL: Madam Speaker, it is very hard to be heard. Seriously, this syndrome is—

The SPEAKER: If we have another outbreak like that, there will be several who will be removed immediately.

Mr TURNBULL: There may be no cure for Conrovianism for those who suffer from it—as we have seen today—but one of the virtues of the coalition's broadband policy is that it will at least stop the spread of Conrovianism. We commit to stopping its spread and to ensuring that in the future broadband policy is governed competently and prudently.