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Monthly Archives: July 2013

A WHITE ELEPHANT is an idiom for a valuable but burdensome possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost (particularly cost of upkeep) is out of proportion to its usefulness or worth.

The LNP is planning to install a $29 Billion dollar White Elephant near you and every other Australian urban dweller. It’s their Fibre To The Node (FTTN) NBN and you should vote against it.

The ALP FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) NBN’s projected cost is $43 Billion but only requires installation ONCE.

The LNP FTTN NBN’s cost is $29 Billion and, as Malcolm Turnbull knows but disingenuously avoids to directly state, will in short time require a complete upgrade over the Node To Premises section of each connection. Those legs (and there would be about 100,000 nodes and 15 million premises) are the most expensive part of the network. So add roughly another $35 billion to get a gut feel for your expected capital outlay.

Here is Turnbull on Lateline answering ducking the contention that his FTTN NBN may in fact be a cumbersome pachyderm:

… now, you may say in 20 years time things will be different. Well, if they’re different in 20 years time, we’ll make some further investments in 20 years time.

Turnbull knows, but chooses to minimize the fact, that the rate of Bandwidth consumption is growing exponentially and has been for several decades. The growth rate is 50% per annum. This is why the capacity of the LNP NBN will be saturated and quickly require comprehensive upgrade.

To paraphrase Michael Wyres from the Tech site Delimiter

Once the network is saturated (and the applications needing higher speeds than the theoretical top speed of the Coalition NBN are already upon us) – the only thing we can do is spend more money doing another upgrade, after we’ve already spent $29.4 billion

Indeed, FTTN networks are already being replaced in countries which have installed them. Germany, New Zealand and the UK are now gradually replacing their networks with Fibre to the Premises.

Additionally, the Coalition’s NBN would be more costly to operate. In August last year, BIS Shrapnel calculated maintenance costs for the copper network (comprising the original node-to-premises legs) could total $700 million per year i.e. $14 Billion over 20 years. Adding that to the $29 billion in installation costs, that’s $43 billion for the Coalition’s NBN plan, the same as for the ALP’s NBN, except the ALP NBN will last 40 years longer. Plus with FTTN you would also have to buy or lease the copper from the current owners, Telstra, at a capital purchase of between $4bn and $20bn. Plus FTTN uses twice as much power as FTTP.

Bottom line: The Coalition’s FTTN NBN is at least $4bn more expensive than the ALP FTTP NBN and has one-third the lifespan. And that’s before you add the cost of a complete upgrade needed after 20 years of inferior performance.

With what technology would the Coalition’s FTTN network be replaced ? Well it would be FTTP. The ALP FTTP network has a projected lifespan of 60 years and the technology would still be current and able to accommodate bandwidth needs by the time the Coalition’s FTTN shuddered to a halt. In other words, the existing available FTTP technology used in the ALP NBN offers three times the lifespan of the Coalition’s almost-redundant-now FTTP. Why not do it right first time ?

The ALP’s NBN has a viable commercial life. The Coalition’s NBN does not.

Its a White Elephant.

But on the bright side, its much better then the farcical wireless LNP NBN that Oakeshott and Windsor saved us from in 2010.

As succinctly stated by Renai Lemay of Delimeter

The Coalition’s wireless NBN telecommunications policy was a trainwreck and contributed, according to Liberal Party research, to its loss of that election.

If the Coalition had won the last election, Australia’s telecommunications infrastructure would have inched forward at a snail’s pace for the next few years [then stalled – UTMW], and there would have been no long-term solution to separating Telstra’s operations or upgrading its copper network.


In the Macklin office they watched an unchanging wide shot of the Opposition’s body language, and they were wriggling like worms on a fork before a growing flame.
– Bob Ellis, on Rudd’s first Question Time back as leader.

I know this seems like a strange thing to say, but does Abbott already realize that he has lost the election ?

On the news he looks strangely lifeless…defeated. No more somersaults.

Consolidated polls show variation around a dead-heat with the Coalition as likely as the ALP to be microscopically in front.

That CO2 is harmless and invisible nonsense came out of the blue. Was he trying to shore up his Party base with a Climate Change-Denialist dog-whistle. Was it just a gaffe ? Or a whiff of panic ? Bad news in the private polling ?

So what of the bravura of the Opposition demanding an election immediately ? If they know they’ve lost why call for an election straight away? Fair point, logical, you may be right. I cannot gainsay you. But perhaps that bravura is merely…bravura. Maybe election NOW was merely required by their three year long insistence on the same demand. Maybe they were trying to push Rudd into the campaign before he had his personal strategies bedded down.

The body language of the LNP members in Parliament on the day of Kev’s re-ascension was uneasy. I just thought it was passing disappointment with the evaporation of their guaranteed victory. The thing is, that unease is still palpable.

Joe Hockey may deride Rudd as Kevin Kardashian, but to my mind that’s a Freudian slip. Rudd is popular. Abbott is not. No-one is crowding shopping malls and screaming with delirium because Abbott is there. Especially not in states with nine marginal seats under 5%. But they are with Rudd. Hockey’s insult reveals the soft nature of voter support for Abbott, and it makes Hockey worried.

I can’t help thinking…
Is Bob Ellis right ?

Such a policy would constitute a unilateral type of measure that we do not support.
– Marty Netalagawa, Indonesian Foreign Minister 15 July 2013

Rudd got precisely what he wanted from his recent trip to Indonesia, namely an official communique from the Indonesians stating that the Coalition policy of Towback is unacceptable to them.

This comminique was signed by the Indonesian President.

The rejection of Towback is no more than what the Indonesians told Morrison and Abbott back in October last year when Morrison, soundly chastised, admitted as much and then said that the Coalition would commit to prevent refugees entering the entire region of South-East Asia (thus not coming to Indonesia); a policy which could be summarized as Visualising World Peace.

So the Coalition Towback policy has been explicitly rejected at the highest levels of Indonesian government: by President Yudhoyono himself and by Foreign Minister Natelagawa.

But while Rudd has succeeded in outing Indonesia’s rejection of the Coalition’s Towback policy and correctly stated the inevitability of conflict with Indonesia at the diplomatic level (which of course could have ramifications for Cattle Exports or other trade matters), I do not believe that this will transfer votes to Rudd.

Australians could not care less about Indonesia’s preferences, could not care less if Indonesia carries 100% of the refugee burden for our region, could not care less if refugees drown in the Timor Sea, could not care less if all so drowned were women and children and would indeed support a policy of mandatory drowning for asylum seekers.

For a long time I thought that the utter brutality of the Coalition policy would disgust a certain percentage of the swinging voter cohort such that they would abandon the Coalition in revulsion. Even 0.5% would be helpful. But it seems there is no lower limit to the contempt and fear that the electorate will self-justify toward asylum seekers when encouraged to do so by their leaders.

And on reflection, that is the obvious lesson of history in all cultures at all times.
Its what causes sectarian violence and genocide. Its as natural and as palatable as mothers milk.

The Coalition’s belief that it has certainty of a winner on this Indonesia-conflict issue is again confirmed by Scott Morrison in today’s UnAustralian whose headline states Jakarta won’t dictate on boats: Coalition.

Right-thinking people immediately recognize that of course Indonesia will not dictate to us. We, Australia, will dictate to them. Because as our glorious departed Ayatollah former Prime Minister John Howard has famously dictated: we decide who and under what circumstances who comes to Australia – International Law and regional co-operation notwithstanding.

This enunciates a one-way relationship very acceptable to Australians who are not accustomed to co-operating with yellow-skinned persons, particularly in receipt of additional brown-skinned persons to their neighbourhood. Rejection of any request of our Anglospheric ally, the United States is a foolish, security-demeaning and borderline traitorous act. But Indonesia ? Who gives a stuff ? Bomb them if necessary.

Meanwhile Julie Bishop is running the parallel contradictory line that Towback will only be done with agreement of the Indonesians who in any case have privately assured her they are sweet with the idea. Thus the thinking redneck is satisfied by Bishop, while the core constituency and fearful are emboldened by Morrison.

Now Julia Gillard was correctly criticised for her East Timor mega-gaffe , prematurely stating that she would gain approval for an asylum seeker detention centre in that country without having first cleared that policy through the Timorese executive. She relied instead on a single personal phone call with Jose Ramos Horta , the East Timorese president, in which Gillard raised the matter but nothing was discussed or agreed.

For this Gillard was derided as an immature dilletante in foreign affairs, a rather embarrassing school girl out of her depth in the top job.

Unlike Gillard, Abbott does not even have a zero level of acceptance for Towback in Indonesia. Towback has been specifically rejected by Indonesia’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. Plainly Abbott’s attitude toward Indonesia is reckless and threatens to disrupt any and all agreements we have with them including Cattle Export.

Abbott coolly destroys whatever is in the way of his ambitions. Being so personally unpopular he can only succeed by dragging opponents down to his level of opprobium as he did with Gillard and Thompson, or by destroying them through legal machinery as he did to Pauline Hanson, Thompson and Slipper (and tried to engineer with Gillard).

Disrupting the successful bilateral relationship with Indonesia (ironically well cultivated by his idol, mentor and predecessor in John Howard) is merely another transient impediment to Abbott’s own success.

A Contrary View

Professor Greg Fealy of the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific School of International, Political and Strategic Studies says that Abbott’s Towback will not imperil the bilateral relationship, indeed that it is absolutely outlandish to think so:

“I don’t think any serious observer would regard that as a likely prospect,” he said, because the Opposition’s policy had two caveats – one being that boats would only be turned back if it were safe to do so; the other being that Indonesia agreed to take boats back

Great. Can someone please quickly tell Scott Morrison that he is not accurately disseminating Opposition policy ? In the meantime Morrison can be judged on his words and so can Abbott who does not correct Morrison, but rather endorses him.

Morrison, Thatcher and Hadley

Just on Scott Morrison, I have been struck (though not smitten) by the similarity in vocal expression between Morrisson and Ray Hadley the Alpha shock-jock of 2GB. Both exhibit the same snarling persona, contemptuous tone and self-righteous manner.

I wonder if Morrison, marketing professional , has Thatcher-like, modelled his presentation on Hadley for better acceptance amongst his target audience of self-identified hard-done-by Western Suburbs decent Australians, decency having the understood connotations of xenophobia and specifically targeted misogyny within the shock-jock mental universe.

Why Morrison, apparently a born-again Christian would choose to project himself as a shock-jock is mysterious to me. I suspect Morrison is concerned about what he perceives as the creeping Islamisation of Australia by strategy of refugee asylum and so feels justified to raise community alarm. Morrison himself denies this motive but I find it otherwise impossible to reconcile his noxious utterances on asylum seekers – for example his citizen-informer policy that asylum seekers are so dangerous they require extra policing and conformity to Mandatory Behavioural Protocols to be supported by the vigilance of decent citizens – with his confession of faith as a Christian and follower of Jesus Christ.

And just on Hadley, I was amazed to learn on Australian Story that Hadley is the dominant figure in Sydney (and therefore we can probably say Australian ) broadcasting, having won his morning rush-hour timeslot continuously for years on end.

I naively though that such a distasteful persona could have only limited appeal and that Hadley was a fringe dweller of acceptance only to those suffering from ravaging hatreds.

Horribly, it appears Hadley is the face and voice of much of Western Sydney and therefore many typical swinging voters.

Mike Carlton, a rival broadcaster and by no means a paragon of nicety himself, describes Hadley’s program as a temple of hatred.

I think he’s nailed it.

From Still Life With Cat:

1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behaviour.

2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone.

3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them.

4. Never open an unlocked door or window uninvited.

5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, don’t assault them.

6. Use the buddy system. If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

7. Always be honest with people. Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them that you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.

8. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake. If they are asleep or unconscious consent may be difficult to obtain.

9. Carry a whistle. If you’re worried you might assault someone accidentally, you can hand the whistle to the person you’re with so that they can blow it if you do.