Interview with Andrew O’Keefe and Angela Cox on Weekend Sunrise – Saturday, 9 April 2016


SUBJECT/S: NBN – Third Anniversary of the release of Malcolm Turnbull’s failed NBN Policy

ANDREW O’KEEFE: It’s time to take a look back at the week that was in the corridors of power this week. It has been another busy week as the unofficial election campaigning continues.

ANGELA COX: Joining us this morning is Shadow Minister for Communications, Jason Clare and in Melbourne, Resources Minister, Josh Frydenberg.
Good morning to you both, now first to you Jason. The head of the NBN revealed this week that he thinks the technology is adequate for today’s needs. Bill Morrow says taxpayers shouldn’t be spending money on technology that may not be needed. What’s your response to this?

CLARE: Well guys today is a big day. Today is three years to the day since Malcolm Turnbull launched his NBN policy where he said we would all have the NBN by now. Unfortunately only 14 per cent of us have got the NBN. So it’s been an epic failure.

In that time we’ve gone from 30th in the world for internet speed back to 60th and the cost of this copper version of the NBN that Malcolm Turnbull’s building has doubled.

So all this stuff about an “ideas boom” and the “innovation boom” is great, but you can’t have an “ideas boom” when you’re still buffering. Unfortunately we’ve got lots and lots of people out there that are still waiting for the NBN and when they get it, they are going to get a second-rate version, when even in New Zealand, people are getting fibre all the way to the home.

O’KEEFE: Josh you know, it makes sense I guess, that Bill Morrow will be standing up for the thing that he’s charged with rolling out. A lot of tech experts have said look, we are creating an NBN that is obsolete technology before it’s even started. What does the Government say about that?

FRYDENBERG: Well it’s funny that Bill Shorten just this week agreed that he would keep the Coalition’s NBN because we’ve actually connected more people in one month, than Labor did in three years. They spent six billion dollars of taxpayer’s money over four years, connecting just fifty thousand people –

O’KEEFE: There’s always going to be a delay when you’re a startup, isn’t there? You’re comparing apples and apples here.

FRYDENBERG: They had more than delays, they had an absolute farce. Obviously the bills just ran up and up and up and the taxpayer was going to be paying for that. We have got a much more efficient, more effective, a technology superior NBN that uses what is available, as well as the fibre –

CLARE: That is nonsense.

O’KEEFE: The big question is whether it is superior technology. So many tech experts are saying it’s not.

CLARE: It is chalk and cheese. The difference between cooper, which is early 20th century technology and fibre today could not be greater. Unfortunately when you have got other countries like South Korea, Japan, Singapore and as I said even New Zealand that are rolling out fibre to people’s homes and we are going to be left with this slower technology which is not going to meet the needs of the people in the future.

FRYDENBERG: That’s why Bill Shorten this week said that he would actually keep our NBN and Bill Morrow –

CLARE: No, he didn’t say that Josh, you’re lying there. You’re not saying the truth. The fact is that Turnbull made a mess of this. If you’re in the private sector and you were given a budget and you doubled it, you’d get sacked.

O’KEEFE: What’s Josh referring to there?

CLARE: What Bill Shorten says if we win the next election in a couple of months, we can’t fix all of the mess that Malcolm Turnbull has made of this in one instant. If you go and pull out all these nodes, these boxes in the streets that Malcolm Turnbull is building, then it will cost a lot more money and take much longer to build.

What we will do if we win the next election, is we will roll out more fibre. But we can’t fix this at the click of the fingers. As everybody I’ve spoken to in this industry who knows anything about this says, at the end of the day everyone is going to need fibre to their home, not this copper rubbish that Malcolm Turnbull’s building.

O’KEEFE: Unfortunately we do have to leave it there, Josh it’s hard to believe that we are having this debate for the second election running. Anyway, we will talk more about it as we go.

COX: Thank you gentlemen.