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The NBN - the next Rudd Government fiasco?

By Henry Thornton - posted Thursday, 17 June 2010

Here at Henry we try to stay ahead of the news. With no hint of false modesty, we aim to emulate the Great Gretzky.

"By obeying his father's advice - 'skate to where the puck is going, not to where it has been' - he was a star at a young age. At 6, he was skating with ten-year-olds. When he reached double figures in age, he was scoring in three figures, notching an incredible 378 goals in an 82-game season. That was a year or so after that headline hit the newsstands. An entire nation of Canadians turned its lonely eyes to this prodigy.

"He was The Great Gretzky as a kid. He was The Great Gretzky as a teenager. He was The Great Gretzky in the NHL. And, most incredibly, he always lived up to that name."


The great new tax'n'subsidy plan for the mining industry has just about reached where the puck has been. The possibility of Kevin Rudd being a one-term Prime minister is where the puck is now, but even blind Freddy can tell (from the cheering of the fans) that the puck is moving very fast.

Recently, Henry and Mrs Thornton attended a fund-raising function addressed by smokin' Joe Hockey, whose name no doubt conjured up the distant memory of the Great Gretzky.

We shared with an old friend our surprise that Tony Abbott had so quickly moved to where the puck was heading on the ETS, and the dramatic influence this had had on Australia's political debate.

We shared our astonishment at the sheer incompetence of the Rudd Government in the management of the stimulus packages involving dangerous insulation practices in the ceilings of the homes of Australian voters and the gross overpaying for new school buildings.

These are, of course, also subjects where the puck has been.

"There's more to come before the election," our old friend said in a conspiratorial whisper. "The NBN is about to blow up big-time!"


As it happened, we have had our eye on where that particular puck will go for some time.

Back in May, the splendid Barry Nosworthy responded to a call for comment on the NBN (National Broadband Network):

"Before the election Labor promised us a 100Mbps broadband nirvana, delivered through a Public Private Partnership. No one would miss out, so this network would truly have a nation-wide footprint. After the election the government set up NBN Co, and told it to get on with the ill-defined but highly aspirational job.

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First published on Henry Thornton’s blog and on The Australian’s website on June 10, 2010.

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About the Author

Henry Thornton (1760-1815) was a banker, M.P., Philanthropist, and a leading figure in the influential group of Evangelicals that was known as the Clapham set. His column is provided by the writers at

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