NBN becomes lynchpin in Labor win

Independent MP Katter sings high praise for Labor's NBN, but sides with Coalition

The National Broadband Network (NBN) has once again emerged as a deciding factor in the future make up of the Australian Government with Independent MP Bob Katter, strongly praising Labor for the national infrastructure project, despite siding with the Coalition.

The remaining independent MPs, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, have backed Gillard’s Labor Government, a result that will cements the future of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Speaking on ABC television overnight, Katter said he had to pay the former Rudd Government a “very great tribute” for its pursual of the NBN as example of a government not buying votes.

“I have watched for 20 years the corruption of government in the sense that all they spend money on is buying votes. There is no infrastructure, there is no development, there is nothing.

“I have to pay a very great tribute to the Rudd Government as for the first time in 20 years I saw a government – the broadband rollout, the national energy grid—there is no votes in either of those things.

“They are a good thing for this country, a great thing for this country and they undertook both those things knowing there were no votes in it for them.”

The comments follow similar remarks from Independent MP, Tony Windsor, at the weekend that he had been convinced of the veracity of Labor's $43 billion NBN plan, following briefings from Peter Harris, the secretary Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, as well as Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy.

In an interview on Sky News, available as a podcast through the Australian Agenda link, Conroy said Windsor and the other independents understood that the NBN would drive better healthcare, education and small business benefits in regional Australia, as well as enabling other technologies such as smart electricity grids.

In late August, the third ‘gang of three’ Independent MP, Rob Oakeshott also expressed support for better telecommunications in regional areas along with suggesting an Emissions Trading Scheme would be an important goal; indicating closer alignment with the Labor party.

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