Friday, 13th December 2013


Parliament has finished sitting for the year, and the Coalition will welcome the opportunity to regroup from an extremely rocky start to government.

But there will be no respite yet.

Today brings Abbott's first COAG meeting, with premiers Jay Weatherill (SA) and Denis Napthine (Vic) desperate to make the federal government cover the losses resulting from Holden's demise. Other premiers will arrive with their own request lists, covering infrastructure projects, NDIS trials and GST revenue splits.

The communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, will spend the best part of the coming week trying to explain that his new broadband plan doesn't represent a set of broken promises but rather a necessary strategic shift.

Turnbull says the former NBN management's plans were disastrously off course. Critics are outraged and argue that the new infrastructure won't deserve the description 'national broadband network' because around a third of the country won't even be connected to a fibre-optic network. This fact, and the reliance on the old copper network in a further 44% of the country, severely weakens the business case for the Coalition's broadband.

Meanwhile, Joe Hockey is preparing to deliver his first major economic statement (on Tuesday). It is not going to contain much good news, but Hockey and the Coalition are still banking on their ability to pin the entirety of the blame on Labor.

They should make the most of it, because it's a tactic with a limited lifespan.

Nick Feik
Politicoz Editor

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Coalition’s NBN to cost $12bn more and take four years longer

"The Coalition government has massively revised its plan for the National Broadband Network, breaking a promise to complete the first stage by 2016, after a strategic review found cost blowouts and poor management. Under the new Coalition plan, the NBN will be completed with a mix of technologies containing just 26% fibre to the home."

AlsoCoalition’s new NBN: one in three Australian premises will miss out

NBN strategy just beating around the bush

"We can pretty sure September 7 was a solid demonstration that voters had already got the 'Labor is hopeless' message, and were voting to get the problems fixed. Instead, they now find themselves with a government that is offering new reasons to blame Labor, that seems relentlessly determined to talk about the opposition but offers few clues about how it will fix said problems. Which brings us back to the NBN and the bush."

AlsoThe inconvenient truth for the Coalition's NBN (The Drum)

Holden: South Australian premier accuses government of having no plan

"The South Australian premier, Jay Weatherill, expressed deep disquiet after crisis meetings with the prime minister and treasurer over the demise of Holden, saying: “I don’t think they understand what they have done … there is no plan.”"

AlsoCash beckons Toyota to stay (The Age)

High Court throws out ACT's same-sex marriage laws

"After being married for less than a week, same-sex couples who wed in the ACT will have their unions annulled after the High Court ruled against the laws. The High Court unanimously ruled that the ACT's laws were inconsistent with the Federal Marriage Act, and were therefore unconstitutional."

Holden demise the price of a global economy

"The government's argument is interesting because it boils down to the assertion that there is nothing it could reasonably have done to prevent this; that this decision was out of its hands and was based on economic factors largely beyond its control. But in defending itself, the government has made an epic admission: that we're not really in control of our economy. And that much is the heretical truth."

Also: Kudelka: Dude, Where's My Car Industry? (cartoon)

GIVEAWAY: Australian Encounters is an animated history series based on the much loved Encounters column in the Monthly magazine. Narrated by Geoffrey Rush, Australian Encounters celebrates ten historic encounters, each between a renowned Australian and an international mover and shaker. To WIN one of 5 copies of the series on DVD email [email protected] by 5pm Monday 16 December.