Skip to content

Carr’s Column – Abbott’s worst mistake

September 8, 2010

One cannot underestimate the impact broadband had on delivering Windsor and Oakeshott to support Labor. This could be seen as Abbott’s worst mistake. He accepted Minchin’s advice on a broadband policy, tied himself to a concept that ultimately denied him the prime ministership. It was a policy based on the proposition that Telstra shareholders could be persuaded to back the coalition. They did not and the coalition lost the support of these cross bench rural MPs because of the gap between Labor and the Coalition on broadband.

One Comment
  1. Rationalist permalink
    September 8, 2010 1:45 pm

    I personally am not convinced that broadband is a huge issue in real Australia. It is a big issue, but it is much lower priority than other critical infrastructure provision, health and education etc. I am also not not convinced that it was Abbott’s worst mistake nor that it cost him the election. Saying that broadband cost Abbott the Prime Ministership is the same as saying that Mark Vaile retiring in 2008 cost Abbott the Prime Ministership. If Vaile did not retire, the Coalition would have been on 74 and the path for Labor victory would be nigh on impossible (likely Katter + Windsor would support Abbott in this instance). It is just playing woulda, coulda, shoulda.

    Broadband is obviously a huge issue for the two independents in Northern NSW and it obviously influenced their vote. It is a big issue, but it is not the key issue. Broadband does not generate one joule of renewable electricity (or stop power prices rising 20% PA), it does not reduce congestion, it does not provision one doctor or teacher it does not build an additional train line or more rollingstock. Broadband yields productivity dividends over time and hence it should be part of the investment mix. But I personally think that there are many other, hundreds of billions of dollars even of infrastructure which should win out over broadband investment in terms of importance.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: