Is my local member in this incarnation. Prior to Rudd's
election as PM in 2007 I noticed Malcolm in the news for
three things. These were his successful defense of an English
participation in the startup company ozemail and his
leadership of the Republican debate in a referendum on that
issue. He took over as leader of the opposition from Brendan
Nelson in September 2008 and was displaced by the present Opposition
leader Tony Abbott in December 2009. The proximate cause of this
displacement was his attitude to the carbon tax.
Malcolm Turnbull is currently the shadow minister for communications
I would like to give a bit of
feedback on how I think he is doing his job, what I think of his
policies and opinions.
NBN is a central part of Malcolm's
shadow ministry for communications and broadband. In his
derogation of the NBN he is spot on. His
profession is lawyer, so I suppose he looked after the IPO part of
Regardless, he seems to have picked up considerable technical knowhow,
probably from his associates.
The NBN is a waste of money. For instance, it promises a
transfer rate of one gigabit (~ 10^9) per second. Problem is, if you
want to communicate with somebody
in a place other than Australia at that rate you will probably not be
Because the transpacific pipe from Australia is around six terabits
(that is ~ 10^12 = 1,000,000,000,000). That means that we
6,000 connections each at that top speed of 1 Gbit/s (10^9 =
1,000,000,000) between Australia and the US. Or if people everybody
opted for the "slow" 100 Megabit connection, then we could squeeze in
60,000 user connections.
But we have more than 60,000 users in Australia. Let's check with
Wikipedia. Circa June 2012 there are about eight million
internet connections in Australia. That means each
connection's share of that six terabits is about one megabit. So
we want to have the benefit of all that NBN speed of 1000 Megabits,
(that's one Gigabit) then we would have to expand our pacific pipe by
about 1,000 times!! At about $130 million per terabit, that would
cost about $800 billion. Allowing for scale effects, it would
still cost around $500 billion.
At the moment, according to NBNmyths we have an average connection
around 2 Megabits. Hate to say it, but when everybody gets
connected to the NBN, downloads from the USA will not speed up
significantly unless we add more bandwidth to that pipe.
course in reality it is not quite that bad. We can use things
like squid to store often downloaded (non-pirated) stuff, and it
is unlikely that many people in the USA have gigabit connections
Let me try to explain in terms of a travel simile. It is
like having airlinks all over Australia, but having to rely on a
sailing ship to get to the USA. So if you leave your home in
Broken Hill for New York. You can fly to Sydney in a few
hours. Then it takes six weeks by sailboat to San
Francisco, where you can hire a fast car and travel across the
USA in a few days. That is a metaphor for what is going to
happen to our internet when we have the NBN. All that extra
speed is great if your doctor wants to talk to you across Australia in
HDTV, but that is the extent of the benefit. If your doctor is in
New York, you better call him off peak on a webcam.
Another problem is cost. If we divide $50 billion by eight
million connexions, that gives over $6,000 cost per connection. I am
not so naive that I believe that I am not going to have to pay for that
outlay. Even at 8% interest rate, the service cost (without
repaying the principal) of that loan would be around $40/month.
and remember, that is before we pay all the maintenance people, and the
downstream provider gets his cut. I know they promise all sorts
of stuff, but even now my 12 gigabit connection is better value than
their entry level service.
COMMENTS ON NBN. For most efficient debunking of the NBN I
have copied a page from "NBN
myths" and show how (on what appears to be an astroturfed site) the
authors (allegedly "Jamie") have selectively planted "facts" about the
am a constituent of Wentworth. I get Malcolm's
newsletter. He actually asks us what we think. I
assume that (within the strictures of "party line" voting) he would
actually vote how a majority of his constituents requested. I
also assume that he would make known in the party room how his
constituents felt about issues.
REPUBLIC Malcolm appears to be a dyed in the wool
Republican. I have issues with that.
The powers given by our
constitution to the Governor General of Australia probably exceed those
of the US President. He can sack Parliament and rule by
decree. As I understand it, he can do everything that an absolute
monarch can do. He cannot originate taxation
bills. And incidentally, I believe the oath of fealty by our
armed forces is to the Governor General as the Queen's
representative, not the parliament. So you might begin to
understand why no
to allow we the people to elect a Governor General. If we did, he
would become a de facto president. With even greater powers than
the US president. And our parliament might well be limited to a
All well and good. But that is where my issues begin. If
Parliament appoints the Governor General (aka President) and rewrites
the constitution as threatened, then THE QUEEN
CANNOT SACK HIM. And we could have a situation where a rogue
parliament could legally declare a dictatorship (with the connivance of
a disempowered Governor General. And frankly, I
prefer to trust that a Queen on the throne of the UK would maintain a
more balanced approach to Democracy in Australia. We have all
seen how we can elect a parliamentary leader who gets overthrown by
parliamentarians who represent only (at most) only 15% of the
electorate. (If you do not know what I am talking about, you are
probably a union boss.)
believe that a carbon tax is a good idea, not because I
would expect it to stop "global warming" (about which I have written on
many occasions) but because a tax would help
to make the use of energy resources more efficient. However
Australia should not attempt to lead the world.
Carbon Dioxide is not
Pollutants should be taxed at their
Unfortunately (like the immigration question) the unions and
corporations can see that a carbon tax will cost them jobs.
Of course "Fair Work" also costs jobs, but mostly not union jobs, at
least for a few years anyhow.