Coalition tries to sell gas lighting to Central Victorians

In February 1879, the chairman of the Bendigo Gas Company assured his shareholders that the board had “given full consideration to the subject of the electric light” and on the basis of “trials before scientific men in London” had concluded there was no reason to believe that electricity would supersede gas for “ordinary lighting purposes.” i

Federal Labor candidate for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters, today said many Central Victorians would discover a newfound belief in reincarnation when they hear the Coalition’s 19th century gas light salesman, Malcolm Turnbull, denigrating the Gillard Government’s 21st century National Broadband Network.

“While Labor understands that access to a reliable, high-speed broadband network – like electricity – is an essential service for all Australian families, schools, hospitals and businesses, the Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband, and Liberal candidate Greg Bickley, will try this week to convince Central Victorians that the Coalition’s equivalent of gas lighting will do the job.”

“Shareholders in the Bendigo Gas Company lost a lot of money because their company didn’t invest in the right technology for the future and Central Victorians will be paying the price for years to come under the Coalition’s proposals.”

“Only Labor’s National Broadband Network is already delivering reliable, affordable high speed broadband.”

“And only Labor’s National Broadband Network guarantees the same wholesale price for the same service whether you live or work in the country or in the city, as well as offering a choice of retail service providers.”

Ms Chesters said that with the recently announced upgrade to the NBN’s fixed wireless and long term satellite services, people in many parts of Central Victoria will now have access to faster broadband than many Australians currently get in our cities – and sooner too.

“The upgrade will lead to improved education and health services for regional Australia, as well as greater opportunities for small businesses and agriculture. It will allow high-quality video conferencing, making it easier to work remotely and access health and education services.”

“For example, Central Victorians will be able see a specialist doctor, without leaving home, or a child at a remote school could take a specialist class offered at a school in the city,” Ms Chesters said.

“And does Mr Turnbull really have an alternative? Do he really have anything to contribute other than negative comments about the NBN?”

Ms Chesters said Mr Turnbull pretends he has a broadband plan, but he won’t tell the Australian people what it is.

“He won't tell us what he will actually build. He won't tell us when he will build it. And he won't tell us how much it will cost.”

But we do know what Mr Turnbull won't do.

“He won't do anything while he conducts a review. He won't cross subsidise the satellite and wireless services so people in rural areas pay the same as people in the cities. And he won't build the NBN.”

“Only Labor’s National Broadband Network is rolling out the 21st century infrastructure necessary to secure our economic future. The Coalition is trying to fob us off with 19th century gas lighting.”



i  Electric Light v Gas, Bendigo Advertiser, 13 February 1879, p2