Is the government's NBN policy changing your vote? Greens Senator Scott Ludlam thinks so

This topic was created by Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor .

Is the government's NBN policy changing your vote? Greens Senator Scott Ludlam thinks so

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said something interesting in parliament on Monday.

During a long oration in which he invited Prime Minister Tony Abbott to visit Western Australian and face community anger, he listed things that he feels have made local voters mad.

Here's what he said about the NBN:

"As for the premeditated destruction of the NBN and Attorney-General George Brandis's degrading capitulation to the surveillance state when confronted with the unlawful actions of the US NSA—even the internet is turning green, 'for the win'. Geeks and coders, network engineers and gamers would never have voted Green in a million years without the blundering and technically illiterate assistance of your leadership team. For this I can only thank you."

Is Ludlam right? Are you, as an IT pro, more likely to vote for someone other than The Greens? And have you switched because of the NBN?

Get commenting, folks ...

Here's the relevant Hansard if you want to read the whole speech, or you can see it on video here.

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Re: Is the government's NBN policy changing your vote? Greens Senator Scott Ludlam thinks so

The decision to bastardize the NBN will be the reason my children spit on the Abbott government in fifteen years time when we trail behind on fundamental infrastructure and our economy struggles to switch to competing on services and soft manufacturing (high knowledge low infrastructure).

Winning an election against the rotten carcase of a senescent party IS NOT a ringing endorsement of your favourite policy.

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Re: Is the government's NBN policy changing your vote? Greens Senator Scott Ludlam thinks so

> Is Ludlam right? Are you, as an IT pro, more likely to vote for someone other than The Greens? And have you switched because of the NBN?

Labor's NBN was very typical of their time in government - great sounding ideas but hollow, full of unintended consequences and implemented appallingly.

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Re: Is the government's NBN policy changing your vote? Greens Senator Scott Ludlam thinks so

Whereas the Liberal NBN is full of terrible ideas that ignore the actual state of our current infrastructure and represent minimal savings with a substantial decrease in capability... full of unintended consequences and implemented appallingly.

I had hopes when Turnbull promised a technology-neutral review, but as far as I can tell that's not what we actually got.

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Re: Is the government's NBN policy changing your vote? Greens Senator Scott Ludlam thinks so

Labor's didn't even survey the current state of the network or prioritise areas that were in the greatest need. Most people know that infrastructure is worse in suburbs built after 1970 and that HFC is better than ADSL.

The minimal savings is very debatable.

The substantial decrease in capability is also debatable when you consider that in April 2013, 47% of fibre connections were 12Mbps and Labor predicted that 12Mbps connections would remain at the level through to 2028. Assuming that the Liberals fulfil their fibre-on-demand promise at a reasonable price (under $3000 install) then the decrease in capability at the high end is also likely to be untrue.

"full of unintended consequences and implemented appallingly" sounds like the Labor effort, since it is too early to judge the Liberal implementation. Unintended consequences like half the population connected to fibre on speeds slower than HFC, 4G, FTTN and approaching half of ADSL2+ connections. Although to be fair that was an intended consequence since it was in the Corporate Plan. Further unintended consequences and appalling implementation are to be expected when you start with a FTTN plan, upgrade it to FTTH because Telstra won't help, then upgrade it to 1Gbps because Google Fibre was announced prior to the 2010 election.

Labor also had the wrong focus on price rather than network performance and usefulness. If you read the 2010 NBNCo Corporate Plan it has a chart showing throughput requirements of greater than 100Mbps which very few people would have had.

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More-or-less "yes"

I'm a pinko leftie, so The Greens were never far from the top of my ballot anyway. Since the last election they're at the top of the parties that might actually get a seat (There's usually a variety of rag-tag single-issue parties I put first, but they're really just protests).

Although it sounds a bit unclear, it is actually a promotion in rank.

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Hell yes!

I _definitely_ switched to voting Green (or independent) because of the IT policies of the major Australian political parties.

Labor's mad desire to censor the internet, no matter what, doesn't fit with my idea of what the party should be doing. That, and many other things, leads me to believe that Labor has lost it's way. Pity.

I probably wouldn't vote Coalition anyway, but the apparent willingness of the Coalition to replace the old second-rate communications system with a new second-rate system leads me to question their understanding of "infrastructure maintenance".

It's not just IT policies though. Any party willing to create or maintain concentration camps as the solution to a minor immigration problem just doesn't get my vote.

These are strange political times in Australia. How can it be that the retired political ghost that speaks the most convincing sense is Malcolm Fraser?

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heimdall no

No point having a NBN when the greens want us to be subsistence agricultural peasants living in high density battery cages with the residual skools (sic, OK?) promulgating "Doom, doom, all humans fault" litanies of fear, fud and foulness. As for the major bought parties, bad clones of something incompetent copying the failing USS of A.

Minor parties are jokes/Single Issue Fanatics. Greens are the current instantiation of smart young things that will come to same fate as the last lot in the 1930s. Just a lot of dead bodies before we get there. Idealists, especially academic or worse, legal trained, are more deadly to a civilised society than mere corrupting cash. Not much option is there ? So I try to find the few candidates who have some tech understanding along with a grasp of what makes a society work. Do exist, but one has to avoid a lot of drones on the way. What bothers me is that once I was just a grumpy old $PERJORATIVE. Now I am finding company and a lot of political disquiet.

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however

Ludlum is probably a bit right. There are a lot of SIFs who will vote on basis of Hot Topic De Jour or their favourite whine appeasers rather than on what is good for country.

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Hasn't changed my vote, exactly...

I have been voting Green for many years already. They're the largest party not riddled with obvious corruption or just plain openly evil. I would still put the Sex Party and (if they had a presence in my state) the Pirate Party ahead of the Greens, but both Labor and Coalition are always way down low on my ballot, only just barely ahead of the raving loony religious parties like Family First.

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It's a long story ...

I don't believe the NBN alone would be enough for me to change my vote.

There are many significant issues that have driven my metamorphosis from a "right wing" voter to my current stance (and that would include a general lack of vision for the economic and social development of Australia). The NBN may be one of the issues, but not decisive in itself.

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Not the sole issue, but significant

While Turnbull promised a "technology neutral" review of the NBN, that's not what we got. The Coalition policy is still a "cheap as possible, as long as it's faster" policy focused solely on downloads. Labor is doing better, but have been losing out in other respects; their NBN is better conceptually, but they should have been far more open about their screwups.

Reviewing the policies of the three parties in this and other areas:

NBN: Coalition - bad, Labor - Good, Greens - Good

Environment: Coalition - bad, Labor - adequate, Greens - good (although some policies such as their position on nuclear energy I disagree with)

Economic Management: Coalition - poor, Labor - adequate (*), Greens - N/A so far

Equity (giving poorer people a fair go): Coalition - terrible, Labor - OK, Greens - OK. It's broadly true to say that the Coalition favour businesses and supply-side, where Labor favours employees and demand-side.

Human rights: Coalition - terrible, Labor - terrible, Greens - Good. Treatment of refugees has been a national disgrace.

(*) The main reason why the country is having deficit issues is due to structural weaknesses in the tax base introduced under Howard. The country was in a major boom, and any surplus was regarded as a good surplus, so tax cuts (long term revenue reductions) were introduced to trim it down while still retaining some surplus. When the economy went into a downturn, tax receipts dried up leaving us with a deep structural deficit in the federal budget.

The Abbott government is determined to blame all this on Labor (which is why every second sentence from Hockey is about how Labor screwed up).

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Green baggage

I'd rather vote LDP - http://www.ldp.org.au/

Freedom without all the baggage - the greens believe in a lot of cr@p, such as unworkable renewable energy, and high taxes.

Even "the oceans will boil" green fanatic James Hansen, in between being arrested, issued an open letter which says nuclear power is the way to go, if you want to reduce CO2 - that renewables won't work.

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Vote Greens? Never!

The Greens will have us all picking berries and praying to Gaia before collecting twigs off the ground before we're allowed to burn them for heat in the winter time (whilst we sit there whipping ourselves for actually trying to get warm!).

The market will provide broadband, and it's not the tax payer's job to do that. I can get ADSL2 and it's quite adequate. If I have a business venture that requires more bandwidth, I can damn well pay for it. The rest of Australia shouldn't have to subsidise me. And while I'm at it, the government should stop subsidising everybody else with their hand out, too!

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Anonymous Coward

I find the premise of this a bit strange: it is reminiscent of CP Snow's two cultures - technically literate people are very well aware of the obvious danger of greenhouse gas pollution, for example, and the value of intelligently constructed technological solutions - and the Greens' core philosophical positions are highly aligned with that view. They may have a few nutters, but the philosophy is sound: intelligently directed socially and ecologically responsible investment by public and private alike is the pathway to sustainable prosperity for all.

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Anonymous Coward

Green stooge alert

And what seat to you represent the Greens in?

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technological solutions ?

@AC Only if subsidised by taxes. Completely against the one known technology that will reduce CO2 emissions. Support high density housing as if that is energy efficient. On some secondary issues the greens individually make sense. NBN is a secondary issue. On the collective whole their policies are insane if one values freedom and an economy that works for the citizens. Not that any of the other parties are any better with the exception of Libs. Not aware they have any policies to speak of. Mere glove puppets of corporates Shortsighted corporates.

BTW, what is it with the new economy echoes ? Every countrys management in West is babbling about services/knowledge economy. Crowded market with race to bottom if thats the case. Rather have decent cars made locally, high quality food grown with trustable certifications and any other industry that uses local strengths.

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Vote for NBN is a vote for Labor or the Greens

I know some hardcore conservatives in IT - people who constantly criticise Labor and the Greens - voted for Labor due to the NBN issue.

I would say it is less likely that these people will switch to Greens, however the Greens may be able to catch some of the small 'l' liberal voters at the centre right.

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Air head Greens.

I am an IT worker and I would never vote for the corrupt, lying and downright evil greens. The sooner they disappear the better. As for the NBN, it's a white elephant in it's own lunchtime. History is littered with huge expensive state technology programs that either come to nothing, or are simply overtaken by new tech that, surprise, surprise the politicians didn't see coming. Have a look and the French Minitel system, it's a classic example. I'd rather that they just canned the NBN altogether, and it just goes to show how inept and stupid the Greens are, to think that the NBN will actually ever deliver on KRudds vision, or be a vote winner for them. Hopeless idiots. If I was a betting man I'd say the future is wireless.

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Re: Air head Greens.

never had to connect a suburb or data center have you ? In urban areas wireless cannot do bandwidth even with latest technologies delivering all they promise. I less dense areas and country I agree. Which is pretty much the NBN Co position. What is insane is the willful wasteful duplication of fixed infrastructure by the last 6 governments infatuated with the lies of free marketeers. Wasteful duplication in CBDs and a few cities and not enough in towns. Something the NBN also tries to fix over time. All of this shows the common disquiet at flogging off all of Telstra was correct. Selling the PHBs and marketeer organisation as done elsewhere not an issue. Flogging off the hardware was a big mistake as shown by plans to buy it back in far worse state.

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Re: Air head Greens.

> even with latest technologies

Of course, how silly of me, technology has now reached it's peak and this is as good as it's ever going to get. Why didn't I think of that.

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I've not voted Green ....

and probably never will - at least my primary vote anyway. The coalition NBN is an effing disaster. Yes the alternative was expensive (and as time went on more expensive in the short term) but at least it looked to the future, and not to some half-arsed present dealing with snot boxes and old copper. Welcome to the 20th Century broadband network Australia!

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Telstra sale under Libs was a mistake

I always said that the only part of Telstra that should have been sold was the retail side and the infrastructure should have been kept as a government business. The problem was that the retail side of the business was crap if it weren't subsidised by the infrastructure.

Now Labor have a decent plan with a reasonably resilient and upgradeable product (NBN using FTTP) and the Libs decide that because they can do it cheaper by reusing the existing infrastructure, then it should be done. What the Libs are not saying, and Labor should be yelling from the rooftops, is that the maintenance cost for that existing infrastructure is going to outweigh the cost of doing the NBN properly by a factor of 10 to 1. Governments have always gone into debt to pay for required infrastructure, and because this is not a highly visible item like roads or airports, it is deemed to be less "voteworthy" and therefore can be gutted at will. I voted Labor because I work in IT and I wanted the NBN but after Scott Ludlum's speech, I am seriously considering the Greens although I disagree with their stance on nuclear energy. Personally I think that if they can get over their "Ban the Bomb" mentality they could be a reasonable force in Australian politics.

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Ida

You get what you vote for

Labor - Superfast internet but the country is bankrupt and nobody can afford it

Liberals - Meh internet, but hey who cares 'cos we all can actually afford a life

Greens - Superfast internet, Beautiful country but nobody can afford to appreciate it.

The NBN was never about providing the Australian people with a service, it has always been a political tool. Only fools believe in it.

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Re: You get what you vote for

> Labor - Superfast internet but the country is bankrupt and nobody can afford it

You missed the bit that only a privileged few would be running at 1Gbps. Labor predicted in the Corporate Plan that less than 5% in 2028, meanwhile 50% would be connecting at 12Mbps. Hardly fast by today's standards let alone in 15 years time. In the last NBNCo Corporate Plan (April 2013) 47% of fibre connections were 12Mbps, so at least Labor achieved one NBN target ... just not the one most people expected or wanted!

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Not in a billion years

Even though I live in an area with truly awful mobile coverage , neighbours are all standing on their front porches to make/take calls, the result of which is that I know about my neighbours affairs than I really want to, and am at the end of a truly awful piece of copper, I would never ever vote green.

Nor did I chane my vote because of the nbn , you see I always knew they would do only the easy bits , then run out of money and never get around to doing us. Meanwhile exchanges area like long jetty that had multiple ISP dslams in them which gave the customers choice have had nbn rolled out, the next large exchange has run out of ports and Telstra won't upgrade and that exchange was not even in the original 5 year plan.

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Vote greens never

If they were any significant power I doubt that I would be able to afford the electricity to turn on a computer to be able to use whatever NBN they put in.

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Not because of the NBN

The Green position on the NBN only demonstrates how red and populist and ignorant they are. But since the Right is hostage to the Country party, and the Left is hostage to industrial unions, the only way to vote green is to vote for the Greens.

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