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Libs, Labor silent as Morrow spins his web

If the National Broadband Network really is Australia's biggest ever infrastructure project and vitally important to the nation's future, one would expect the minister in charge and his opposition counterpart to react when a furore of the sort caused by NBN Co chief Bill Morrow erupts.

But both Communications Minister Mitch Fifield and Labor shadow communications spokesman Michelle Rowland have conspicuously kept quiet after Morrow opened his mouth and opined that nobody in Australia wanted super-fast broadband and they wouldn't even accept free 1Gbps connections if they were offered one.

After that, Morrow tried to spout a different narrative, a highly illogical one, to bolster his claims.

The last time that Fifield spoke up about Morrow appears to have been during a party meeting recently when he defended the NBN Co chief after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said that consumers were being confused by the speeds that the NBN was advertising and the reality.

Apart from that, the last time Fifield issued a press release it was on 14 February to announce the appointment of a new chairman to the SBS board. Rowland's last media release was on 31 January and dealt with the Telstra Business Awards.

On Facebook, Rowland's last post is about Opposition Leader Bill Shorten talking about tax hikes. That was on 14 February. For Fifield, the Lego Batman Movie was of great importance.

Neither Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull nor Shorten have uttered so much as a word either though Morrow is paid $3.3 million out of the public purse to administer a project that he says will end up costing $49 billion.

Politicians from both major parties have nobbled the progress of the NBN by politicising the issue to the extent that its construction has dragged on for much longer than it should have. In the end we are guaranteed to have fraudband, not super-fast broadband.

Both Fifield and Rowland have been contacted to ask them why they have kept silent on an issue that appears to be important, at least to some part of the citizenry.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.