Sunday, 9 December 2012

NBN: Public Perception of Coalition Policy and Rewinding to 2001

In the 5th year of the Howard Government, a confidential internal Party memo was leaked after a poor Queensland Election result. From the Australian piece on the memo:
"The recurring theme was that government is out of touch, dysfunctional and hurting our own," ... [Shane Stone wrote in Februrary 2001, leaked by Laurie Oakes in May 2001].
But the hunt for the rat has not been enough to obscure the substance of the note which described the Government as 'mean, tricky and dysfunctional and out to get its own supporters'.
 The inability or reluctance of Malcolm Turnbull and Paul Fletcher to do more than tease the electorate and commentariat with content-free assertions of "Better Broadband: Cheaper, Sooner, More Affordable" will start to wear thin very soon, if not already to those paying attention.

Public Perceptions can quickly turn against even well regarded Parties and politicians: and the Libs have a history that will catch up with them.

If people start asking, "What have the Coalition got to hide?", the next step is that uneasy feeling of distrust from the early Howard years: they'll be tarred with the "mean and tricky" brush, deserved or not.

Are Turnbull et all master practitioners, able to "tickle the tail of the tiger" and get away with it, or will they misjudge?

In Peter Reith's report on the Coalitions' 2010 Election Campaign (it wasn't a "loss", but it wasn't a "win" either for Tony Abbott), one of the few positive acknowledgements of their opponents was: They had a better Broadband Policy.

That situation still stands and the teasing, with its Perception "Fail" downside, will mar the Coalition chances in the 2013 Election, early or late. The only question is: By a little or a lot?

The roll-out of Fibre to the Home in Australia well ahead of the major Western countries (USA, UK, Germany, ...) is something the electorate may consider a real benefit, considering our laggardly performance with Cable TV (only ever 35%), FM Radio (20 years late), Colour TV (15 years late) and B&W TV (10 years late).

As ever, the electors that are rusted on either side, ideologically opposed to or supportive of Fibre-to-the-Home, aren't a factor: only the folks who can be persuaded.

Will the swinging voters see Full-Fibre as Affordable and Desirable or take on-board the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) that the Coalition has been so successfully spreading? It's Interesting Times.

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