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Wednesday, 28 September 2016 22:04

ALP Shadow Comms Minister blows up over Optus HFC network ditching Featured


OPINION: When you find yourself digging an even deeper ditch for yourself, the first advice is to stop digging, with NBN Co going "droptus" on the HFC from Optus.

Short of resigning immediately, nothing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull does will ever satisfy the ALP Opposition and its shadow minister for communications, Michelle Rowland.

Rowland is one of the follow-up acts to the recently resigned Stephen Conroy, who left to "spend more time with his family" while some speculate what other reasons might be behind his shock resignation.

Rowland is blowing up over what she claims is Turnbull’s "latest embarrassing NBN stuff-up", without making any reference to the fact that the ALP lost power to the Coalition in 2013.

If the ALP was any good, and didn’t backstab two of its own prime ministers, thus ensuring Kevin Rudd became prime minster twice, then the ALP would have nothing to complain about.

Unfortunately for the ALP, its governance was so inept it makes the so-called NBN stuff-ups seem minor in comparison, because if it actually was any good, it would have won the damn election and it could have continued its NBN build any way it wanted.

Sadly, the ALP was useless and thus lost the election. That appears to be the real NBN stuff-up if we truly want to be honest about things.

That said, nothing saved former Governor-General John Kerr from Gough Whitlam's enduring wrath, and nothing will save Rowland from screaming "NBN stuff-up" at the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and last opportunity, because that’s what oppositions do. They screech and moan and refuse to actually do anything useful except "ditch and moan".

At least the "Adultshop" company had a good line about moaning – they said ‘moan, moan, moan, it’s all our customers ever do.’

But when it comes to the Opposition, of whichever political stripe, moaning is about all they can do because they are not in power.

In any case, despite the alleged fraud that was foisting Rudd on Australians, twice, Michelle Rowland has the temerity to suggest that ‘we have damning evidence Malcolm Turnbull has been perpetrating fraud on the Australian people.

Once again, if the ALP wasn’t so useless, they would never have been voted out in the first place, but such honest appraisals of history are absent from Rowland’s incessant ditching.

In any case, Rowland states: “For the past four years Malcolm Turnbull has travelled the country lecturing anyone with a pulse about the virtues of his multi-technology-mess.

“Yet today we hear of the latest backflip from the government. NBN has ditched the Optus HFC network it paid $800 million for and will instead connect 700,000 customers to FTTdp.

“This confirms what everyone already knew – that the HFC network was a lemon and could not deliver the broadband speeds and quality Australians expect and deserve.

“Again this shows that every assumption made by Malcolm Turnbull in formulating his second-rate NBN has been proven wrong. NBN Co has now conceded that upgrading the Optus HFC network would have been too expensive and taken too long.

“More time, more cost, more delays. Now, Turnbull has another embarrassing NBN stuff-up to add to the list.”

Well, Rowland, you are crying over spilled milk. Milk that your side of politics spilled by its own crushingly bad ineptitude in losing office in the first place.

The NBN ship sailed long ago and you’re just arriving at the station to complain, years after the train left the station and you’re still wondering if you can catch Rudd’s 2007 train in 2016.

Bzzt. Train left the station, remember? Ship sailed long ago. Train/ship MTM-mess is what we have now because Labor could not win the 2013 election through unprecedented, stunning, PM back-stabbing ineptitude. Sad. Tears. Spilled milk. Waaaah. 

Am I personally happy that the NBN has turned into Malcolm Turnbull’s Mistake and Mess?

Of course not. But at least FTTdp is vastly better than HFC, and NBN Co has at least some honesty in changing course when it is necessary. 

And at least I’m not a damned hypocrite.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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