The green light has been turned back on for the NBN, perhaps because the Independents were told the cost to the taxpayer was considerably less than $43 billion.
There are no certainties for a minority government, particularly this one. Can we really expect Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott to spend the next three years siding with Labor, particularly if it means supporting decisions unpopular with their electorate?
In the New South Wales seats of Lyne and New England the local press is rife with criticism for what is seen by many as backing the wrong horse. It’s understandable. In New England the Labor Party attracted just 8 per cent of the vote. Could the Independents be forced to shift their allegiances and drive us back to the ballot box?
If that happens the whole NBN project could still be wound up, says Ovum research director David Kennedy. CEO of the Communications Alliance John Stanton is more optimistic, but sees a need for an education process to sell the benefits to the public and the politicians.
Fortunately for the NBN it appears to have more support than the mining tax, but the debate continues to rage about whether it’s worth $43 billion. Associate editor of Business Spectator Robert Gottliebsen, however, says the need to argue that case is likely to disappear. He explains how the real cost to the taxpayer will be considerably less, which will remove the big question about whether it’s worth the investment.
You’ll also hear from David Ellery, editor of the Northern Daily Leader, and Janine Graham, editor of the Port Macquarie News, who reflect on public opinion in Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott’s electorates.
Senator Scott Ludlam, the Greens spokesperson on telecommunications, is also on the program with his read on how the NBN will progress from here.