Monday 20th of May 2024

malcolm in bed with the right-wing ABC...

in bed...

ABC director Mark Scott is addressing the National Press Club today. We wonder whether he will be asked about the NBN and former ABC technology editor Nick Ross. Managing editor David Donovan spoke to Nick Ross last week.

Outgoing ABC managing director Mark Scott is making an address to the National Press Club today, in which he will be reportedly outlining his brilliant idea to merge ABC with the SBS, cutting channels and putting many of them online. No doubt this will thrill Liberal Party ideologues, who have always been opposed to public broadcasting in principle, as well as seeing it as a potential threat to not only their right to rule, but also their commercial sponsors.

Of course, the great Scott ‒ a former Liberal Party staffer in the NSW Greiner Government and Howard appointee to the ABC ‒ mentioned these plans in Senate Estimates earlier this month. At the same time, he also came under questioning over apparent bias at the ABC in their reporting of NBN before the election and apparent gagging of technology editor Nick Ross.

Scott, of course, denied these allegations entirely.

A sensational 2013 secret recording of ABC current affairs chief Bruce Belsham by technology editor Nick Ross published (as a transcript) after his resignation from the broadcaster in January, indicated that ABC executives (“the 14th Floor”) had been putting pressure on editorial staff prior to the 2013 election to tone down criticism of the Abbott Opposition. It was said to be a self-defence mechanism, since it was expected the Liberals would win. This was revealed, for example, in Belsham counselling Ross to write a piece attacking Labor’s NBN roll-out before publishing a piece critical of the Turnbull plan for a largely copper wire NBN.

Ross’ article was eventually published by the ABC nine days after the September 2013 election — a complete waste of time.

Further evidence of calculated bias of the ABC emerged after New Matilda’s extended series of detailed articles about this affair were, with one exception, completely overlooked by the ABC’s 2000 journalists — quite a remarkable feat.

Another reminder - any journos wanting to write that up, please call me first. So much BS spouted. #Estimates

— Nick Ross (@NickRossTech) February 9, 2016

Tech expert Nick Ross’ analysis of the NBN has subsequently been proven remarkably prescient and accurate in virtually every area, as the “mongrel” mix of technologies Turnbull has used to patch together his version of the NBN has proven to be ludicrously costly, unfit for purpose and already redundant.

Even more alarming, the recordings made inferred that then Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull had privately exerted pressure on ABC executives to get them to soften their reporting of the NBN — something that could be seen as an abuse of his position, given he would (and, indeed, did) have control of both the NBN and the ABC in an incoming Liberal Government. Turnbull received some questioning over these matters in Question Time, but Labor’s Jason Clare was not permitted to pursue it beyond a few questions.

I spoke to exclusively to Nick Ross about all these matters last week, where he gave a frank and damning rebuttal to an ABC Media Watch hatchet job, Mark Scott’s evasive and misleading Senate testimony, as well as strong words about the allegedly underhanded actions of now Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his chewing gum, paperclip and sticky tape broadband solution.

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please do not touch...

Stay away from merger of ABC with SBS. It stinks of accountants having a shot at being creative... It's stupid.

right on cue... empire consolidation...

Apparently Mark Scott wants to reduce SBS to a smouldering pile of ashes — or one (ABC) channel, gently. It's preparing the ground for the next CEO to bat for "empire consolidation"... We shall see... At least Scott had the late-coming courage, after the event, of slamming the deceitfulness of Abbott.



The ABC’s managing director, Mark Scott, has used his final address to slam the Abbott government for breaking its promise to maintain funding for the public broadcaster and stripping it of $350m after the election.

He dismissed the ABC’s critics as “newspaper polemicists and shock jocks”, saying it was governments that posed the greatest threat to the ABC, which was a vital part of Australian culture.

In his final speech to the National Press Club after 10 years running the ABC, Scott said it was up to the Turnbull government to make up for the repeated cuts and show its commitment to the ABC and to “clear election promises” in the tri-funding budget outcome in May.


And please remember:

and for good measure: the theatre of the merde-och absurdists...

the end of the funny world...


Cartoonists erased by Fairfax

Fairfax Media has reserved its harshest cuts for its regional papers, which have been gutted in recent years. Under the News Now model implemented at Fairfax’s Australian Community Media, the few journalists who remain now have to write, subedit, take photos and lay out all their own stories. Now two cartoonists who have been filling spots in regional papers for years have been axed and replaced by cartoons from the metro papers to save money. One of those axed is Peter Lewis, who has been cartooning for the Newcastle Herald for well over 20 years, and the other is Peter Broelman, who won the Gold Stanley for cartoonist of the year in 2009 and was appearing in the Illawarra Mercury, Albury, Wagga, Bendigo and Warrnambool papers. Both are great cartoonists with big followings.

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see toons everywhere on this site...

fast bullshit, affordable crap, sooner in the dunny...


Malcolm Turnbull's cut-price National Broadband Network is facing mounting delays and rising costs, according to a damning internal progress report obtained by Fairfax Media.

The report, marked "commercial in confidence" and "for official use only", sets out a litany of problems in delivering the Coalition's supposedly more budget-friendly fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) model.

By the company's own assessment, the giant infrastructure project has fallen two-thirds short of its benchmark construction timetable. Connection costs to each house or business are also blowing out. The model had been marketed to voters as superior to Labor's NBN because it was "Fast. Affordable. Sooner".

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See toon at top...


malcolm's tin 'o mixed beans...

The latest leaked NBN document gives us more insight into the project which was meant to be about "nation building", but which is now turning into a politicised quagmire, writes Paddy Manning.

Yesterday's leaked internal document revealing that the NBN's rollout of fibre-to-the-node has been well behind schedule is further confirmation that Malcolm Turnbull's version of the NBN is proving to be much more expensive to deliver than was originally hoped.

Remember that the only merit of Turnbull's "multi-technology mix" (MTM) was that it would be cheaper to build, and arrive sooner. There was no question that it was technically inferior to the former Labor government's mostly fibre-to-the-premise network, which then shadow communications minister Turnbull derided as a "Rolls-Royce" option.

But if the Coalition's NBN could be delivered cheaper and sooner, there was a good argument that the earlier arrival of revenue from business and residential customers could fund subsequent upgrades to the network.

It hasn't worked out that way.

The MTM network has blown out twice in projected cost - first, from $29.5 billion to $41 billion, and then last year to "up to" $56 billion. And instead of delivering 25 Mbps by 2016, now the MTM network isn't expected to be finished until 2020 - only a year earlier than Labor expected to finish its rollout. NBN's own chairman has admitted meeting this 2020 target will require a "heroic" effort.

The NBN debate remains a giant political "he said, she said" in which neither side gives the other any credit. In a Background Briefing program late last year, I tried to cut through the thicket of NBN politics to discover the truth of where our largest, most significant infrastructure project stands.

There is a non-partisan way through the debate, in my view, but it relies on an analysis of an ever-receding counter-factual scenario: what would have happened under Labor.

The PM and communications minister Mitch Fifield are being cute when they say - as they did again yesterday - that reverting to Labor's fibre-to-the-premise NBN would take an extra 6-8 years to complete and cost an extra $30 billion. That is an estimate of the cost of going back to Labor's NBN, after having embarked upon the Coalition's version in 2013. It is not the amount that Labor's NBN would have cost if it had continued as originally planned. Obviously, it is much more inefficient to change horses mid-stream, then change back again.

Forget Labor's numbers for a moment, Malcolm Turnbull's own strategic review in December 2013 came up with an estimate that the fibre-to-the-premise network would have cost $73 billion.

A more substantial criticism is that Labor's NBN rollout lacked any market discipline.


It is true that Labor's NBN was behind schedule and over-budget when the government lost office in 2013.

But as a matter of degree, they were only a year behind, and only a few billion over-budget, on their own figures - which, by the way, respected former NBN chief Mike Quigley stands by to this day.

Labor had very good reasons for being behind: firstly, they were negotiating a one-off deal with Telstra that would see the ageing copper network - which Telstra's own engineers thought was at five minutes to midnight - retired. Then Telstra chief David Thodey was convinced it was the right deal both for Telstra and the country.

Secondly, the NBN was not only starting from scratch, with all the inevitable teething problems - it had to build the national transit network, the "backbone" of the NBN. This was another one-off, up-front exercise that was expensive but was duly completed and is relied on by NBN today.

A more substantial criticism is that Labor's NBN rollout lacked any market discipline: there was no attempt to target those areas that were readiest to pay for fast broadband, such as business precincts. Instead, some unlikely regional areas were targeted, and while this might have been defensible for nation-building reasons, it also undoubtedly made the rollout much more expensive for taxpayers.

A huge component of the cost of the NBN is debt and the quicker you can earn revenue, the lower your borrowings need to be, and therefore the lower your ongoing interest bill. It was imperative to target suburbs with the highest likely take-up rates.

Lastly on Labor's errors, there was the rejection of fibre-to-the-basement connections to the hundreds of thousands of apartments in Australia's most densely populated cities. Even the staunchest defenders of the fibre-to-the-premise network concede this was a mistake, which would have led to a crazy rewiring of recently completed tower buildings that already had perfectly serviceable internal cabling capable of gigabit speeds. (Admittedly, it's a different story for the suburban three-story blocks of flats which were Labor's primary concern when devising the policy.)

For all that, Labor's all-fibre network would have been built, for somewhere between the NBN's contemporaneous costings of $44 billion and the Coalition's estimate of $73 billion. Once connected, it would have been a readily- and endlessly-upgradeable network with fibre servicing 93 per cent of homes and businesses, and would have been a highly-attractive proposition for institutional investors.

Thanks to the Abbott and Turnbull governments, what have we got instead? The promise that underpinned the original MTM network, that all Australians would have 25Mpbs or higher by the end of 2016, has long been broken.

Since the NBN's corporate plan was released last August we have known that costs have blown out to between $46 billion and $56 billion (and we all know that when a project proponent specifies a likely range of costs, it is wise to assume the upper estimate). Based on the upper estimate, that's a 90 per cent increase, or almost a doubling in the cost of the project.

One of the key cost increases was in IT, as the NBN's computers had to be upgraded to cope with the extra complexity of integrating the new mix of connection technologies, a direct consequence of the switch to a MTM.

The latest leak confirms the copper-based fibre-to-the-node component of the MTM - which will bring fibre through to fridge-sized cabinets on many street corners - is proving difficult. One of the well-known disadvantages of fibre-to-the-node is that the nodes require power. That there have been delays due to negotiations with electricity suppliers was predictable and can only be considered a failure of network planning.

There is no doubt Labor's NBN would have sold for more, improving the return for taxpayers.


Again, this should not be a surprise: one of NBN's own directors, Simon Hackett, said last year that fibre-to-the-node is a "dud", and NBN has already started trialling faster technologies that will rely on bringing fibre closer to the home, to what is known as the distribution point or "fibre-to the-curb", potentially replacing fibre-to-the-node altogether but increasing the rollout cost again.

Reusing and upgrading the Hybrid Fibre Coaxial network - the pay-TV cables bought from Telstra and Optus - was defensible in theory but is also proving more difficult than expected in practice, with a leak last year suggesting the Optus network was unfit for purpose and would need to be overbuilt at a cost of more than half a billion dollars. HFC trials so far have been encouraging and there is no doubt that the planned DOCSIS3.1 technology can deliver superfast internet speeds, but it will not be cheap and the major rollout will not begin until 2017-18.

The upshot is that we have a NBN which gives some lucky home and business owners a fibre-optic connection courtesy of Labor's abandoned rollout, while the rest of us wait for our HFC cable to be upgraded or make do with a much slower copper-based connection that will probably need to be replaced.

The whole hotchpotch will be worth $27 billion - less than half its likely construction cost - when it is finished and put up for sale, according to a recent estimate by PwC. There is no doubt Labor's NBN would have sold for more, improving the return for taxpayers.

If really pressed on his NBN role, the PM resorts to a rhetorical defence, blaming Labor for starting the project - his preferred wheeze is the Irish joke, "If you wanted to get there, I wouldn't start from here" - and mounting an elegant-sounding attack on the very idea that anything can ever be "future-proofed", a theme he hammered home when he took over the leadership. This is unassailable high ground for Malcolm Turnbull, but it is completely wrong-headed.

NBNCo is leaking and, if what I'm hearing from former staff is right, morale inside the organisation is abysmal, management is hostage to every expensive consultancy in town, and senior staff are leaving, disillusioned, as what they thought was a nation-building project is turning into a politicised quagmire. As one former employee told me: "I'll be amazed if it ever gets built."

This is an unforgiveable state of affairs for such a vital project and, whoever wins the next election, the NBN will need to be redesigned again. Hopefully it will be done with the national interest, not politics, uppermost in mind.

Paddy Manning is a journalist and author of the recently published Born To Rule: The Unauthorised Biography Of Malcolm Turnbull (MUP).

malcolm, as a business plan, yours sucks...


Read article above and see toon at top....

IMPORTANT NOTE: By 2100, scholars fossicking through the debris of our present civilisation, will turn to the importance of this site for recording history ACCURATELY. Politicians will fudge and talk crap, but we cartoonists and satirical raconteurs have had the connectivity of events right down the barrel. The unfortunate side of this, of course, is that no one listen to us at this present moment of political fudge.

starting to rubbish the NBN mishmash...

Another leaked document shows the NBN has been trialling a thinner and cheaper fibre cable, which has cut the cost of fibre from $1,200 to $600 per connection.

Mr Patton said it was time for the Coalition to consider an about-face, and embrace fibre to the home.

"If we are going to be an innovation nation, how are we going to compete against countries that have already got internet speeds 100 times faster than ours?" he said.

"In 10 to 15 years from now, that copper wire will be well and truly out of date and unusable."

But Dr Switkowski said some of the media reporting of the NBN's progress had been unduly pessimistic.

"Since those newspaper reports appeared two, three, four weeks ago, the progress in terms of copper has been fabulously fast. So I stand very confident that we are going to hit the milestones that we have had approved," he said.

Telecommunications analysts are also warning the Coalition's multi-technology mix might leave the Government with a white elephant when it comes time to privatise NBN Co.

A recent report by PwC estimates that while the NBN may cost $56 billion to build, it might only be worth $27 billion on privatisation because of its use of outdated technology.


Those OLD copper wires are not up to the task now, how are they going to be when connected to the fibres? A large percentage of these OLD copper wires to homes are "leaking" electricity into the ground due to poor deteriorated insulation...

malcom's education policy is like his dreadful NBN...

Put fibre on menu

Cable is a great way to send the same data to everybody and works well for one-way pay TV. ("The NBN is already out of date: we need fibre", March 30). The system is as clunky as 1980s shoulder pads, but it is the system most Sydneysiders will get. By comparison, the standard telephone line and small ADSL modems are minimalist tailoring. Fibre has at least a thousand times the capacity of the other systems, uses far less energy, costs less, is not disrupted by water, and so slim it's hard to see.

Peter Egan Artarmon

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Here again, we are reminded why Malcolm has delegated others in the Cayman Islands to invest his money. He knows he is not smart enough. Imagine his "new" education policy now turning into his NBN nightmare.
I must say here that we, the Australian people, we did not deserve this. We might have deserved the idiocy of Tony Abbott because most of the idiotic populace voted for him, but now this is serious crap. 
Turnbull is shitting on us from sky high, with a smile on his face. Really.