Page 3381 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 September 2015

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Again, we are certainly not anti that sentiment; I am very happy to support the sentiment. But, again, I have already tried to make contact with my counterpart or with Senator Mitch Fifield. I do not see why it has to be a call on the government by way of a motion when this is something that should be happening as a matter of course. The current ministers in this government should be making every effort with new ministers. Obviously, we support that.

Overall, apart from the inaccuracies in painting a picture that is totally politically flavoured in Ms Fitzharris’s motion, we support the concept in a totally non-political way, a bipartisan way, to ensure that the investment in Canberra’s future through digital Canberra is maintained and supported. We also support this government contacting the federal counterparts to ensure that the Canberra directions we are looking for are enforced by this government with the new coalition government and the new ministers that are in place.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.17): The national broadband network is Australia’s largest ever infrastructure project. It has had a very troubled existence; there is no doubt about that. It was treated as a political football and used to attack the Rudd-Gillard governments and muddy public debate about Australia’s future. The NBN was originally proposed by the Rudd Labor government as a predominantly fibre to the home nation-building enterprise. I know the words “nation building” have lost their value in recent years, but it is projects like the Snowy hydro scheme, high speed rail and the national broadband network to which they can still meaningfully apply.

The benefits of high speed communications are well known, and the advent of the NBN was welcomed by pretty much everyone except the Liberal Party. Dr Vince Cerf, one of the key inventors of the internet, said in 2011 of the original fibre to the premises NBN:

I consider this to be a stunning investment in infrastructure that in my view will have very long term benefit. Infrastructure is all about enabling things and I see Australia as trying to enable innovation.

The inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, has described the NBN as a brilliant foundation and a foundation of many things. The Internet Industry Association said:

Just as electricity revolutionised society, so too will broadband. Fast, reliable futureproof technology. Optical fibre based solutions like the NBN will mean a more stable and prosperous future for all Australians.

Tony Abbott, on the other hand, asked in 2010:

Do we really want to invest $50 billion of hard-earned taxpayers’ money in what is essentially a video entertainment system?

That sums up the complete lack of comprehension about what the future of Australia needs. It also sums up the great legacy of the Liberal Party in government—the period

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