BILLS: Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Access Regime and NBN Companies) Bill 2015

Mr HUSIC (Chifley) (10:12): What you just heard then was more of what the shadow minister pointed out: just extraordinary claims. We have the suggestion from the minister that they have had to come in and clean up nbn co. What an amazing job they have been doing! We have seen the cost double, slower rollout and people being left with a substandard service and denied an expectation that was fuelled by those opposite that they would deliver more, and they have not. You often hear the line from the coalition, which was repeated by the minister today, that after three years Labor did not do enough, that we did not roll out enough. The biggest infrastructure project in the nation's modern history and we did not do enough in three years—that from a mob who had 19 goes at fixing broadband over the 13 years of their government and they failed.

Mr Champion interjecting

Mr HUSIC: Nineteen times, member for Wakefield. And then they come in here and say that we did not do enough after three years. But those opposite tried for more than a decade with 19 plans and they constantly failed. What they are doing now is misleading the public about the quality of the rollout itself. They are saying that they have a different way of rolling this out. There is nothing different about relying on copper. There is nothing different about relying on HFC. There is nothing different about their approach when they have failed over 19 times.

There is a reason that there has been a $15 billion blowout in their project. The $15 billion blowout is the responsibility of both the then communications minister, now Prime Minister, and the person opposite, the shadow minister. Sorry; I mean the Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government and Assistant Cabinet Secretary—though we are working on making you a shadow minister. You had a role to play in it. You and the then communications minister were responsible for arguing that HFC was better. The member for Greenway has pointed out on a number of occasions that the ACCC said the HFC network was not fit for purpose.

Ms Rowland: Optus said it.

Mr HUSIC: And Optus were saying that the HFC network was not fit for purpose. My own constituents tell me that the HFC network is not fit for purpose. They say, 'It is fantastic; it gives you great speeds at 4 am.' That is what they tell me. They tell me that Malcolm Turnbull's network provides you excellent download speeds if you get up at 4 am and no-one else is on that network. The HFC network cannot work when a lot of people use it, which is bizarre. You have this huge demand from people wanting a modern broadband network and they are told, 'You can get it, but if a lot of you use it it will be slow; so don't use it.' That is the compelling logic of the Turnbull government in terms of what they are putting forward.

Mr Champion: Brilliant; it is a cunning plan.

Mr HUSIC: It is a completely cunning plan, member for Wakefield.

Mr Champion: Baldrick's broadband network.

Mr HUSIC: It is. It is a broadband network absolutely designed by Blackadder's Baldrick, as the member for Wakefield rightly points out. And it may be the case that Baldrick is on the management team of nbn co. The minister pointed out the great management team. You have the CEO, Bill Morrow, who turns up to Senate estimates and is asked a series of questions about the network he is managing and probably 90 per cent of the questions that were raised with him were taken on notice. If this was a person who had command of the facts and was such a singularly impressive management representative, as the minister is suggesting, you would think he would be able to answer questions. But he cannot, and the reason he cannot is that he is not focused on the job of this rollout.

He is now in defensive mode trying to work out why there is leak after leak from his own organisation. nbn co's internal organisation are in revolt. They are in a rebellion. They do not believe in their heart of hearts that the network that is being foisted upon the Australian public by those opposite is one that will deliver, and that is why they are leaking. They do not have confidence in the CEO and they do not have confidence in Ziggy Switkowski. If Ziggy Switkowski is so great, why doesn't he spend more time talking about the NBN than telling us about the value of nuclear power? His Suncorp shareholders are equally concerned that it seems that he is not focused on the job that is required and is necessary. He always diverts his attention. That is why you have an organisation in revolt. That is why consumers are in revolt over this. And that is why we are being misled about this network rollout by those opposite—and they stand condemned for it.

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Ed Husic MP
Federal Labor Member for Chifley


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