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Monday, 21 February 2011
Page: 593

Mr STEPHEN JONES (11:48 AM) —It is a great honour to be speaking on the motion brought to this House by the member for Greenway, who has really been at the forefront of taking this important debate up in this House.

In the debate today we have heard something similar to what we have heard in the debate in this House for around four years now. The objection to our visionary NBN plan can be boiled down to three key points. The first objection, as we have heard from the member for Ryan, is that it would all be well if we left it to the market. After 11 years and something like 19 failed broadband plans, it is quite clear that the solution of leaving it to the market certainly has not worked for Australia and it certainly has not worked for the people who live in electorates like the member for Greenway’s, like the member for Cunningham’s or my own—those people who represent constituents in the outer suburbs of capital cities. Whilst I can understand the member for Ryan coming in here and putting on her rose coloured glasses and talking about how wonderful the market has been in delivering broadband services to people in the city of Brisbane—or even the member for Wentworth talking about how excellent the broadband services are in the inner city of Sydney, where he lives—I find it very, very difficult indeed to understand why the National Party members, who purport to represent regional Australia, have been so absolutely mute in defending the government’s NBN plan. We know that leaving it to the market means a two-tiered system. It means those who live in inner city suburbs will have an excellent, world-class broadband service, but those who live in suburbs that are represented by people in regional Australia will have a B-class, a C-class or even—as the member for Greenway says—access to no broadband services at all.

The second argument that we have seen being developed over the last couple of weeks, particularly by the member for Wentworth, is that somehow wireless is better—that somehow our fibre to the home is going to be redundant technology because radio communications technology is going to fill the space and we will all be better off with that. That is an argument best adored by those in the opposition caucus, but anybody who knows anything about the delivery of broadband services through wireless technology knows that it is complete and utter bunkum.

I suspect the member for Wentworth knows this himself, because he is an early adapter to most new technologies. He very proudly sports an iPad and delivers many speeches in this House from his iPad. As I am sure he is very familiar with the technology inside that iPad, he would know that the designers of wireless technology like iPads and other reading tablets specifically design those products to ensure that, where there is no access to fibre or broadband technology, people will use 3G and the other wireless technologies available but, where there is a broadband hotspot, where broadband technology is provided through a cable, they will default to a broadband WAN, wide area network, service. The reason they do that? Because the producers of that technology know that it is a far superior means of delivering effective broadband technology. If the member for Wentworth spent a little less time looking through his rose-coloured glasses at his opposition policy on this issue and a bit more time reading and looking at his iPad, he would know that his second argument is complete and utter bunkum.

The third argument that is often put by those opposite is: ‘Let’s have another study.’ This one is the most risible of all because it comes from the party that went to the last election championing something called ‘real action’. Their solution to 10 years of failure and 19 failed broadband plans for people in electorates such as Greenway, Cunningham and my own, and many electorates represented by those opposite, was to go and have another study.

The member for Greenway throws down the challenge to those opposite and all of us in this House, and that is: let’s get beyond these horrible debates and let’s focus on the real issues. (Time expired)