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Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Page: 1199

National Broadband Network


Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth) (15:03): My question is to the Prime Minister. I remind her that only last week she told a gathering of ALP candidates: 'We cannot roll out the services that we want unless we have the National Broadband Network.' Why didn't the Prime Minister tell her colleagues from South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory that not one additional household or business in those jurisdictions has received an NBN connection since the trials ended and the full rollout began in June 2011? (Time expired)


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (15:05): I thank the member for Wentworth for his question. I must admit I did not notice that he was at the ALP candidates seminar, but I am not surprised! I am not surprised that he is just taking out a little bit of insurance, and I am not surprised that he would like to be at a meeting where there are no climate change deniers and where people, like him, believe in a market based solution to carbon pollution. So, if he is ever feeling the need to talk to people who are actually on the right side of history when it comes to carbon, he will be very welcome indeed.

Then there is the question of being on the right side of history in terms of rolling out the infrastructure that our nation needs now and making sure that our nation does not get left behind. At every stage in history, when it comes to big projects, there are sceptics around. There were those who thought that the telephone line was unnecessary, that you would always be able to find a messenger boy to take your slip of paper to the neighbouring household. There were those who thought we should not have got on with the Snowy Mountains scheme. They were called the Liberal Party. They thought we should not get on with that nation-building project. So it is unsurprising that in the modern age, when it comes to the next generation of nation-building infrastructure, those on the other side are the ones carping and carrying on. What they would want to see is our nation confined to dial-up or to ADSL, while the rest of the world has moved on. Businesses looking to locate where infrastructure for the moving of information would be absolutely pivotal to them would pass Australia by because we did not have the National Broadband Network—

Mr Turnbull: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would ask you to interrupt the Prime Minister in her circumnavigation of the globe of irrelevance and draw her back to the central question, which is the failure of the NBN in South Australia, Western Australia—

The SPEAKER: The member for Wentworth will resume his seat. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: I am just concerned now that relentless negativity has infected everyone. But to return to the member's question, we said that we would have commenced or passed 750,000 premises by the end of last year and we delivered that. We said we would be working on or passing over one million premises by mid this year and we are on track to do that. Whilst we have got on with rolling out the infrastructure of the future, those opposite have voted against the National Broadband Network 14 times, and I have lost count of the number of broadband policies they have tried to cobble together and put into the public domain. We will stay on the right side of history and get on with the job.