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Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Page: 12035


Ms MacTIERNAN (Perth) (15:45): We heard some great words of wisdom from Joe Hockey today. He acknowledged the quality of the NBN. He said this was a great plan that Labor had introduced. He did not go on and explain what happened next—that Malcolm Turnbull recognised it was a great plan as well. But, in order to get it through the Luddite, the former Prime Minister then Leader of the Opposition, he had to produce NBN-light. He had to produce a dumbed down 20th century version—totally rejected around the world—in order to get something up.

He went to that last election promising he would have it all in by 2016. He could not get a substantial amount of this dumbed down version rolled out by then, as our shadow minister has demonstrated, so clearly. He could not deliver on the cost. He also promised that he would be introducing this according to need, that those suburbs and towns and regions that had the lowest speeds and capacity would be the ones where this would be rolled out. That promise has been utterly betrayed in my electorate. We have been following this very closely because we have such diabolically low speeds, even though we are a relatively inner-city seat.

Those speeds on myBroadband, according to our surveys, overstate for many of our suburbs the real performance. We have suburbs like Bedford that get 7.45 megabits per second. That is a D on the myBroadband scale. We have Bayswater, with less, that is also a D. We have Noranda, also with a D. Right down the bottom is Embleton at 2.85 megabits; that is an E. Were any of these suburbs included in the rollout announced last week? Not one of those suburbs was included.

Let us have a look at some of the WA suburbs that were included in the rollout plan. There is Sorrento, which struggles to get by on 21.25 megabits per second with an A rating. We have Alfred Cove, which also gets an A rating. There is Watermans Bay with an A. Poor old Peppermint Grove—a struggling suburb—is getting a B, and Swanbourne is getting a B. They are getting theirs rolled out over the next two years. What is the defining characteristic of all those A and B suburbs? They happen to be in electorates occupied by the blue team. This is not the politics of envy. This is about the Prime Minister keeping his promise to get the NBN to those suburbs that need it first. It is about being fair and not using the ministerial whiteboard to carve up the pie.

I do ask myself: is there a reason other than the electoral fix? I suspect there could be, because the foundation myth of 'Turnbullistan' that we heard about today—that all Telstra's copper is shiny and bright—would be exposed if we went into any of those D and E suburbs to attempt to deliver broadband. We know they cannot even deliver voice services when it rains.

This is the copper network Telstra manager Tony Warren said, back in 2003, was at five minutes to midnight. This is the reality of our copper. Over a decade ago it was on its last legs and now we are pretending it can deliver 21st century download and upload speeds. We know it cannot. That is why you are avoiding so many of those areas that have the lowest speeds in this nation.