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I know you planned it…

News Limited editors did not argue any of these points during our meeting, but by the end of the discussion it was clear that none of these facts was convincing for them. News Limited’s position regarding the NBN seemed to be one of principle. Never mind that the private sector would never build an NBN, or that the current market structure was flawed, or that government had a successful history of fixed-line infrastructure building. The view from News Limited’s side of the table was that the government just shouldn’t be building this sort of public infrastructure.

News Limited was not alone in its position. One of the most frequent comments I heard during the dozens of public speeches and presentations that I gave on the NBN was “Why are you building this? No commercial company would undertake this project. The returns are too low and the risks are too high.” That was precisely the reason the government was doing it, I would reply – because no purely commercial entity would undertake a project like the NBN.

Michael Quigley on infrastructure.

Quigley is, of course, the first and former head of NBN Co, the government-owned corporation established to deploy high-speed broadband throughout Australia. Particularly, as pointed out above, to regional and rural areas under-served by existing private sector telcos because, not to put too fine a point on it, there’s not enough profit in rolling out broadband internet across the desert.

To say that the NBN was sabotaged by right-wing and corporate interests would be putting it mildly. Again, as mentioned in the quote, News Limited (i.e. Rupert “Fox News” Murdoch’s media empire) was one of the prime saboteurs, aided by the existing commercial telcos, basically because, again, having to compete against nationalized infrastructure would cut into profits.

Tl;dr, what happened to the NBN—what was allowed to happen to the NBN—was nothing less than wholesale theft against the Australian public for the enrichment of a handful of millionaire CEOs and their boot-licking cronies.

2019-03-05T13:21:20+11:0031st August, 2019|Tags: australia, politics, tech|

(Un)settled.

On Australia’s founding lie. Spoiler alert: It’s that Aboriginal Australians were exclusively hunter-gatherers, and didn’t perform activities like farming, irrigation, or the building of permanent structures.

There’ve been rumbles about this for years, but the viciousness of the right-wing culture warriors has meant it’s never really gained ground. It’s good to see that changing, both from the perspective of recognising Indigenous achievement (something white Australia is… historically awful at), as well as the gains it can bring to land management and agricultural outcomes in the future.

2019-01-05T15:31:49+11:005th January, 2019|Tags: australia, culture|

We’ve always been at war with east Asia.

And by “east Asia” I mean “anywhere brown people come from” and by “been at war” I mean “have implemented racist immigration policies” dressed up in various politically correct (in the term’s original sense) lipstick.

2018-06-26T13:50:09+10:003rd June, 2018|Tags: australia, culture, politics|

The Red Rooster Line.

Mapping wealth in Sydney by tracking fast food chains.

Mum grew up in Sylvania–a.k.a. “The Shire”, a.k.a. the white working class part of the city, nowadays most famous for hosting race riots–while Dad is from Lidcombe, which Back In the Day was very much Migrant Country. The fact that an Anglo girl from the Shire decided to marry a “Westie” was, back in the 70s, still A Big Deal for both of their families (although ironically, I think since then Sylvania has gotten more “ethnic” and Lidcombe more gentrified). Their first house, meanwhile, was in Chatswood, and nowadays would be worth a fortune (back then it was a termite-infested dump)…

2017-10-04T10:28:38+11:0010th March, 2018|Tags: australia, culture|

A modest proposal.

However, the right keeps telling me that I’m not respecting DIVERSITY OF THOUGHT and that the test of freedom of speech is not how we tolerate ideas we approve of but how we tolerate ideas we find obnoxious or reprehensible. I’m also told that we need to respect “both sides” of a debate even when one of those sides if offering violence, advocating genocide or treating the humanity of others as some kind of special favour.

So here’s an idea. Why not put the issue of whether headbutting Tony Abbott is OK to the Australian people? Naturally, I’d vote no – we shouldn’t headbutt Tony Abbott. The government could spend several millions of dollars on a shonky survey and put the question of whether Tony Abbott should get the same basic rights as everybody to a vote – because apparently, that’s how rights work in Australia.

Camestros Felapton on the Australian way.

Given Australia has already had a “respectful debate” on whether or not it’s offensive to call Tony Abbott “A C∀N’T” (a judge ruled it is not), I think it’s only fair that we have another one on whether it’s okay to headbutt Tony Abbott every time he appears in public.

I mean, obviously I will vote no–people could seriously injure themselves headbutting Tony Abbott, which would cause unnecessary strain on our healthcare system–but as we all know it’s important to let all sides of a debate have their say. On television, for example, and in parliament, and in our national broadsheet papers. We wouldn’t want anyone’s freedom of speech impacted, for example, by legally mandating that it’s not appropriate to headbutt Tony Abbott. And I may be an atheist, but I think it’s important for religious organisations who hold sacred beliefs regarding headbutting Tony Abbott to express their concerns about a world in which they could not exercise their religious freedom to headbutt Tony Abbott. I mean, what if someone who supports headbutting Tony Abbott is forced to bake a cake for an anti-Tony-Abbott-headbutting ceremony? What then? Does Tony Abbott’s so-called “right” not to be subjected to violence every time he appears in public outweigh the concerns of headbutting traditionalist cake makers the country over?

Truly this is a question that only a national postal survey could decide.

(Also see.)

2018-04-27T14:02:12+10:0026th September, 2017|Tags: australia, culture, politics, xp|