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Monday, 15 November 2010
Page: 2408

Mr CHAMPION (7:13 PM) —The member for Macarthur talks about being sensible and reasonable. I just wonder if it is sensible or reasonable to have had 18 failed broadband plans over 12 years of government. Was that sensible? Was that reasonable? Did that serve any of our electors? I would say no and I can tell you that people in my electorate in Craigmore cannot get broadband apart from wireless and only creeping up the hill. These people who live in metropolitan Adelaide cannot get ADSL, and the people in Burton where I live cannot get ADSL because of pair gains provided by a vertically integrated privatised monopoly called Telstra. We have the worst broadband infrastructure in the whole country in Adelaide. I wonder if that is sensible or reasonable.

Equally, I wonder whether it is sensible or reasonable for Australia to be ranked 17th out of 31 developed countries for broadband penetration, to be the fifth most expensive of the 31 developed countries on broadband prices, to be the 50th in broadband speeds, to be equal last in deployment of fibre-optic broadband and to be 29th out of 50 on average connection speed. That is the legacy of the Liberal Party. That is the legacy of John Howard. That is the legacy of supposedly being sensible and reasonable. We know what sensible and reasonable means. It means delay and inaction, to wreck the National Broadband Network. You would have to wonder why, because it is a drag on productivity and a drag on jobs. It is a drag on infrastructure. Labor believes in jobs, productivity and infrastructure. We are the party of the future.

We do not have any sensible approach from the Liberal Party or any sensible engagement or acknowledgement of the record. We have delay, inaction and excuses. We are assured that this will not have any effect on the implementation of broadband—there are all these ‘sensible and reasonable’ statements—but we know that the consequence of delay is that Australia loses out, particularly people in my electorate in places like Craigmore, Hillbank, Burton and up the track in Liberal voting areas like Clare, Freeling and Riverton. That is why these places are turning against the Liberal Party. I cannot believe it when the Liberal Party constantly says, ‘We’re going to wreck the National Broadband Network.’ I was so impressed when Liberal Senator Alan Ferguson put out a pamphlet through my whole electorate saying, ‘Tony Abbott’s going to wreck the broadband network.’ So do you know what I did? In my next pamphlet, I quoted Senator Alan Ferguson—in a leaflet to you.

Mr Hawke —Forwards or backwards?

Mr CHAMPION —Forwards, always forwards. Labor is always forwards. We are always going to the future. I am stunned by the Liberal Party. They lost in 2007 and they lost this election over the issue of the National Broadband Network. They lose elections over this issue because they are determined to keep Australia in the Dark Ages. They are determined to keep my electorate in the Dark Ages. They are determined to keep people in Burton, in Craigmore and in Hillbank, in Clare, Riverton and Kapunda in the Dark Ages, denying them educational opportunities, denying them small business opportunities, denying them healthcare opportunities. Why? Because they want to play the same game with the National Broadband Network as they do with every other government program: not good policy; just pure partisan politicking.

What would be the result if the Liberal Party were ever to get into government? They would condemn Australia to another generation of living in the Dark Ages. Steam-powered dial-up—that is the way the Liberal Party want to lead us. Labor believes in jobs, infrastructure and productivity. That is what we have provided to the Australian community. That is why we are not in recession. That is why we are not in the Dark Ages and that is why we are going to deliver the National Broadband Network.