It is one thing to say that climate change is crap but quite another to threaten to scrap a popular $43 billion nation building project. That appears to be the corner that the leader of the opposition Tony Abbott has painted himself into with his announced intention for the National Broadband Network.
Mr Abbott has campaigned upon a platform of economic responsibility having built up a formidable armoury of bullets to fire against the Rudd/Gillard Government after a number of costly project fiascos. However, he appears to have badly misjudged the mood of the electorate on the issue of the NBN.
Ben Shipley, the managing director of Brisbane-based telco Comscentre, typifies the mood of the powerful and influential Australian telecoms industry when he describes the Abbott Coalition plan as being from the 'dark ages'.
'We've got a very clear and concise plan from the Labor Party but we've got nothing from the opposition except a threat to shut down the NBN,' Mr Shipley said. 'Are they going to throw away the billions that have already been spent and take us back to a Telstra monopoly, or are they going to do nothing and leave Australia like a Third World country? 'Without the NBN, Australia will stay in what has now become the Dark Ages of broadband.' Aside from telcos like Comscentre who see the NBN as their great white hope of levelling the playing field against the Telstra monopoly, there are a myriad of suppliers to the telcos and NBNCo who will see their chances of reaping a whirlwind of lucrative contracts dashed if the Coalition wins and crushes the project.
However, it is not just the Australian telecommunications industry that stands to lose economically speaking if the NBN were to be quashed.
Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 25 years of experience working in Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.