Time for a government willing to invest in the new economy

John Howard may have been the man who “broke this nation’s heart“, but Malcolm Turnbull is the man who broke this nation’s economic future.

He was committed to doing whatever it took to get the LNP (and himself) back into power. This included rehabilitating Tony Abbott’s ludicrous desire to “bury the NBN”; all of which apparently made Abbott’s government more electable. This resulted in the complete neutering and bastardisation of the original NBN vision.

The political arguments about whether Australia needs gigabit internet is and always has been completely irrelevant. What Australia needed (and still needs) is infrastructure that delivers internet fast enough and reliable enough for us to forget about our internet connection. We should treat it like water and power – trusted infrastructure that is just there and never gets in our way. ONLY the pure fibre rollout (the original NBN build model) can deliver this. No copper technology will ever have either the speed or the reliability, and we need both.

As with our 100% reliance on electrical power, in the same way, our economic future is increasingly dependent on the internet. Does Turnbull, Abbott or any of us really believe that in 10 years’ time we’re going to need less of the internet in our daily lives. Are we going to wake up in 10 years and say “Thank heavens Turnbull and Abbott didn’t spend all that money on the NBN. That would have been such a waste of money. Clearly the internet was just a fad anyway”? Will 5G make any dent on this? Of course it will make a dent, but that’s about it. A fixed line pure fibre network is the only technology that comes even close to being able to do the heavy lifting we will need.

Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott and the LNP have set our country’s economic future back 50 years. By the time 2020 comes around, We will already have lost 10 years of the technological lead we could have had. We had the opportunity to be the envy of the world and now we are just left envying our Kiwi rivals across the Tasman. But worse than that, these nearsighted political gamers have broken our country’s vision to have a world class powerhouse economy.

The Liberal party pride themselves as being the best economic managers. Really? Given their small mindedness around seeing into the economic future, this is a blatantly wrong self-assessment. In the business world they would be your bottom line thinkers – the ‘razor gang’, the bean counters who are primarily just good at cutting costs.

Right now we need leaders who are top line thinkers. Visionaries. People who can grow our economy and our revenue base through wisdom. Leaders who put Australia first; and who make decisions that are right and sound (not for their potential political gain).

A full fibre rollout would have, and still will, cost a whole load more money; probably an extra $40bn. However, if Australia can spend $50bn on 12 submarines that will likely be obsolete by the time they are built (ironically because of similar signal processing technology used in FTTN), then we can afford to spend it on our economic future. We are going to have to spend it sometime, so let’s just get on with it.

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines a zombie as: “a frightening creature that is a dead person who has been brought back to life, but without human qualities”. In my opinion, the LNP has become a zombie government – walking dead. This government (that gave us Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull – the two prime ministers who broke this nation’s economic future) is pretty much gone. And Scott Morrison?… he’s best described as a ‘temporary prime minister’ who is just keeping the seat warm. The LNP’s infighting and power struggles have crucified their credibility. Their quest for personal gains (e.g. Peter Dutton) have clearly demonstrated that they are NOT putting our economy, our country or it’s people first.

I propose we get rid of the zombie government and give the ALP a chance to reignite the potential of our economy by salvaging what we can of this now broken NBN project. My strong hope is they can do this in a way that the government after them cannot just destroy it again.

For the record, I don’t really support any particular political party. First and foremost, I support Australia and will gladly get behind any wise, visionary leadership that’s committed to putting Australia’s economy (which is clearly digital) and its people first.

Damian Ivereigh