NBN Debacle. Wherefore art thou, minister?

By LAURIE PATTON | 30 June 2020

Today we have finally reached the much-vaunted date on which the Government said it would have completed the rollout of the trouble-plagued National Broadband Network. Despite widespread industry expectations a media blitz by communications minister Paul Fletcher has so far not materialised. No ribbon cuttings and no skywriter plane spelling out “Mission Accomplished” as some jokingly predicted (see postscript).

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COVIDFail. The IT debacle that could cost lives

The Mandarin

By LAURIE PATTON | 19 June 2020

Another spate of COVID-19 cases being reported in Victoria. China re-instating restrictions as it sees infections return. Our chief medical officer says his greatest fear is a second wave, and there’s the likelihood the coronavirus will linger around forever like the flu. Another IT debacle from the federal government. But this one is different. In this case we could see people die. We need a tracing app that actually works.

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The Opposition Leader is correct. We need a decentralisation plan

One day a rooster, the next day a feather duster!

By LAURIE PATTON | 11 May 2020

Australia’s Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese is right. In his latest vision speech he pointed to the benefits of decentralisation. It’s time we stopped cramming more and more people into already overcrowded cities. It’s predicted that pretty soon 90 percent of all Australians will live in our sprawling capitals. But does that really make sense?

The current health crisis has seen people forced to work from home. We’ve discovered that with modern technology we don’t all need to gather in CBD offices. It’s likely home working will continue when we emerge from the threat of the coronavirus.

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Passing the buck. Why is there no accountability in public administration these days?

One day a rooster, the next day a feather duster

By LAURIE PATTON | 10 April 2020

PREFACE.  Since publication federal Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy has ‘taken full responsibility‘ for a $60 billion over-estimation of the JobKeeper wage subsidy program. Yet he has not resigned. Nor has anyone else. Where does the buck stop these days? What should taking responsbility actually mean?

The Victorian Government has appointed a judge to inquire into the COVID-19 hotel quarantine program. They should just find out who made the decision. If they don’t have a decent explanation, then demote them. That way other public servants might start to take their responsibilities more seriously.

Blame shifting between state and federal government agencies over how a cruise ship carrying people suspected to have been infected with the Coronavirus was allowed into the port of Sydney demonstrates, yet again, the parlous state of public administration in this country.

We’ve had to establish a royal commission into the bushfires that caused death and massive destruction earlier in the year – having ignored recommnendations from several similar inquiries.

And decades of regulatory neglect were exposed by the Aged Care Royal Commission.

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Telstra bells the broadband cat and spays NBN Co

By LAURIE PATTON | 27 February 2020

Telstra’s decision to only offer a maximum 50Mbps plan to more than half its NBN customers is another setback in the quest for #BetterBroadband and further vindication of Labor’s plan to make Australia what Malcolm Turnbull subsequently dubbed an “innovation nation”. It’s the latest fulfilment of a highly political decision by Tony Abbott to instruct Turnbull to demolish NBN Co.

If anyone knows about good and bad broadband it’s Telstra. And they know that anything other than fibre is second best.

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NBN latest: Oh dear, what can the matter be?

By LAURIE PATTON | 12 February 2020

You know the tune, so let’s all sing along: Oh dear, what can the matter be?

Or, if you prefer AC/DC, “Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap”. As we approach the NBN’s nominal completion date of June this year the decision to dump 21st Century fibre and cobble something together using old copper wires and run-down Pay TV cables has left too many Australians humming a very sad tune.

The release this week of the latest financial report from NBN Co underscores what a debacle we have on our hands.

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Unintended consequences. How NSW planning laws have stolen democracy from ratepayers

By LAURIE PATTON | 11 December 2019

One of the fundamental principles of the democratic system enjoyed in Australia for more than 200 years is the right to make representations to your local MP, or in the case of local government to your elected councillors. Changes made last year to NSW planning laws have denied ratepayers this avenue and effectively handed unbridled power to unelected council bureaucrats.

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Miscommunication. Paul Fletcher spins his top like turvey

By LAURIE PATTON | 9 October 2019

Communications minister Paul Fletcher today spoke at an industry conference and outdid his Coalition predecessors in an extraordinary attempt to defend the beleaguered National Broadband Network. These are just some of the comments he made to an incredulous audience of IT professionals who know so much more than he does.

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Time to stop digging our way out of trouble. A lesson from the past?

One day a rooster, the next day a feather duster!

By LAURIE PATTON | 6 October 2019

For a mixture of political and economic reasons Australia will continue to rely on mining in the foreseeable future, at least to some extent. Yet unresolved debates over a number of proposed coal mines have exposed a politcial rift that may well determine the outcome of the next federal election, just as the issue had a major impact on this year’s poll.

While the risk is arguably greater on Labor’s side the turning tide of public opinion spurred by concerns about Global Warming suggests both the major parties would be well-advised to start thinking about their future responses to the demands of the mining lobby.

One solution is to create jobs in other sectors for the people displaced when mines close or new mining licences are rejected.

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Barbarians at the gate – don’t let them destroy Murray Valley National Park

By Laurie Patton | 12 July 2019

The New South Wales deputy premier wants to allow logging in a national park in the state’s Riverina. John Barilaro says he intends removing statutory protection of the 42,000 hectare Murray Valley National Park – either by de-gazetting the entire area or reducing its size.

Forty years ago we fought to stop the logging of a rainforest at Terania Creek in northern NSW. I cannot believe this issue is back on the political agenda.

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