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Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Page: 3220

Broadband


Ms MARINO (ForrestGovernment Whip) (14:55): My question is to the Minister for Communications. Will the minister update the House on the rollout of the NBN in Western Australia? How important is affordable broadband to families in Western Australia and elsewhere?


Mr TURNBULL (WentworthMinister for Communications) (14:56): I thank the honourable member for her question—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: There will be silence on my left!

Mr TURNBULL: The Abbott government inherited a shocking mess in the NBN everywhere in Australia, but nowhere worse than in Western Australia. At the time of the election there were only 75 premises in the whole state connected to the broadband network.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Rankin will desist.

Mr TURNBULL: Members opposite said that since the election the coalition has stopped the rollout of the NBN. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that in Western Australia there are not 5,482 premises connected to the fibre, which if my calculations are correct is an increase of 7,300 per cent on the Labor Party's effort. There are also now 34,582 premises that are actually serviceable.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Chifley will desist.

Mr TURNBULL: I spoke yesterday in the House about the colossal failure in the Interim Satellite Service—5,600 residents who use that service are only getting dial-up, at a cost to the taxpayer of $7,300 each. I talked about how we are seeking to remedy that. Another matter we have been left with, which is a shocking and extremely difficult to solve mess, is the fact there are over 16,000 premises in Western Australia alone in areas that were promised broadband delivered by fixed wireless. The NBN Co, at the time those promises were made and now, does not own the radio frequency spectrum capable of delivering that service. So that was a complete falsehood. It was a totally false promise. The Conrovian promise had no basis at all. It was a complete fantasy. We are working on a solution to that. As I have said many times the messes that Senator Conroy left us are not susceptible to easy solutions. He is a master at making difficult messes for his successors. Yesterday the former deputy chair Diane Smith-Gander was asked about Senator Conroy. She was asked if the former board had recommended that he conduct a cost-benefit analysis, and she said—

Mr Dreyfus: Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Relevance is an important part of the standing orders. This part of the answer has nothing to do with the question that the minister was asked.

The SPEAKER: The minister has the call.

An honourable member: Everything in parliament is an important part of the standing orders!

Mr TURNBULL: I am really surprised that one of Her Majesty's counsels, learned in the law, would not have been able to pick that up. But Diane Smith-Gander said, 'think about the notion of suggesting anything to Minister Conroy'.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: There will be silence on my left.

Mr TURNBULL: I am a committed republican, but I did not see you on the barricades. You were missing in action.

Mr Shorten interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition! The minister will resume his seat.

Mr TURNBULL: You were missing in action!

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The minister will resume his seat forthwith. The honourable Leader of the Opposition clearly lost control in that instance. To date, there has been a constant barrage and obviously a campaign is being waged today. The Leader of the Opposition is warned against another outburst. To the member for Watson, I know he has a motion coming up and I know he would like to be in the chamber to move it, so I think he should comply with the standing orders.

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, a point of order.

The SPEAKER: On?

Mr Burke: I am asking whether or not a similar warning will be given to the minister who continued to talk while you were on your feet.

The SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

Mr Burke: There is. Madam Speaker, if the standing orders matter, there actually is.

The SPEAKER: The member will resume his seat. The member for Bass has the call.