Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Send complainers to the end of the queue, says NBN director

A typically bureaucratic response.  NBN is clearly not a business

People who complain about not being able to get connected to the national broadband network should be sent to the back of the connection queue, according to NBN Co non-executive director Michael Malone.

Mr Malone  —  founder of internet service provider iiNet, which was acquired by TPG in 2015 — was referring to "NBN Service Class 0" customers. Thousands of them are stuck in broadband limbo because of an arbitrary decision set in law that prevents Telstra from connecting customers who should have already been connected to the NBN but haven't been.

"If I was running NBN and they [complaining Service Class 0 customers] went to the media, I would put them to the back of the queue. Personally, that's what I would do," Malone said in an exclusive interview, adding that Service Class 0 issues would all get resolved and that people should be patient.

"iiNet used to get 20,000 support calls a day and very few ended up on the front page," Mr Malone said.

"NBN is installing 45,000 customers per week and that will double in the next 12 months," he added, noting that the NBN was always going to suffer from "faults along the way".

"Think about how you would roll out the network if you needed to hit 10 million households," he said. "What are you going to do first? You do all the easy ones first and then the others."

According to Labor MP Stephen Jones, there are 318,089 premises in NBN service areas that don't have functional service.


Australians would rather have cheaper power bills than meet international climate change targets

More Australians would rather have cheaper power bills than meet international targets to reduce carbon emissions.

Almost one in two people surveyed by Newspoll agree with the idea of dumping global climate change agreements for less expensive electricity, with 45 per cent in favour compared to 40 per cent who oppose to the move.

The results, published in The Australian, come as U.S. President Donald Trump pulls out of the Paris accord on global warming which Australia continues to support.

One Nation voters, who support Pauline Hanson, were the most in favour of pulling out of international climate change agreements, with an overwhelming 70 per cent in favour of quitting the Paris accord.

A majority, or 54 per cent of Liberal and National party voters, also want Australia to relinquish global warming commitments.

However, voters on the left of politics want Australia to keep its commitment to climate change deals, with 50 per cent of Labor supporters opposed to pulling out, compared with 71 per cent of Greens voters.

Last year, Australia joined 174 other nations in formally signing up to the Paris accord, which commits our country to a 28 per cent reduction on 2005 emissions during the next 13 years.


Dream turns into degree-factory nightmare

The Rudd and Gillard governments’ habit of meddling in places it had no right to be was driven not so much by socialism as solutionism; the impulse to solve problems yet to be defined. It accelerated the expansion of what the Productivity Commission delicately refers to as the non-market sector in its landmark review of national economic ­efficiency released last week.

The non-market sector — health, welfare and education for the most part — accounts for more than 20 per cent of economic activity and is powered by government investment.

Are our degree factories delivering value for money? One suspects not, in the light of the commission’s recommendation that higher education providers should be included in consumer law, giving unhappy students the right to seek compensation if the service they received was “not fit for purpose” or was “supplied without due care and skill”.

The commission charts the extra­ordinary growth of universities in which more than a million Australians are enrolled today, twice as many as there were when the century began.

The federal government’s direct contribution increased from $19 billion in 2007 to $31bn last year, not counting the amount it lends to students, a substantial slice of which it will never recoup. Outstanding government loans to students have tripled across the same period from $16bn to $49bn.

Those who received the most benefit, if benefit it is, are the millennials, a generation that may well become known as the education boomers, the most well-credentialed generation in history. Four out of 10 women aged between 25 and 35 have a bachelor degree, or higher qualification, as do three out of 10 men in the same cohort.

Ten years ago the figures were 24 and 22 per cent respectively.

For those who regard human beings as inputs that increase production, this investment in education should be an unqualified good. Yet human beings, it turns out, are not machines, and the demand for the services of graduates has its limits. Full-time employment for graduates has fallen from 85 per cent in 2008 to 71 per cent last year.

More than a quarter of graduates work in jobs unrelated to their studies, to which their degree may add little value. In fields such as the humanities, languages, arts and social sciences, the figure could be as high as half. Graduate wages as a proportion of the average minimum wage have been falling since 2008.

Students’ return on investment is shrinking, and they know it.

A survey last year found high levels of dissatisfaction: almost half thought they had received inadequate services.

The higher education revolution engineered by Julia Gillard as education minister and then prime minister has been a force for destruction, as revolutions usually are. The ideal of excellence has been usurped by the dogma of inclusion. A place at a university is a right, and in some circles is seen as a requirement, a four-year transition from youth to adulthood without which no life is complete.

The average Australian Tertiary Admission Rank of univer­sity entrants, a proxy measure for academic preparedness, fell from 79.9 per cent in 2010 before the glorious Gillard revolution to 76.4 per cent last year.

Meanwhile, the proportion of students abandoning university courses rose, from 12.5 per cent in 2009 to 15.2 per cent in 2014. More than a quarter of students are failing to complete their degrees in nine years. In the commission’s view, this represents a waste of the student’s time and money, and squandered taxpayer funding.

Gillard’s changes to higher education are one more example of the costly but avoidable public policy mistakes about which the commission expresses concern.

In part, the blame falls on the public service for its failure to conduct standard due diligence and its excessive aversion to risk which makes it slow to acknowledge mistakes and quick to centralise decision-making.

The commission is understandably muted, however, in its references to the poor performance of elected governments. The rushed delivery of rash promises, bypassing of normal cabinet process, reliance on verbal rather than written advice, failure to stress-test proposals and reckless disregard for future costs were highlighted two years ago in an important report by Peter Shergold that, disconcertingly, appears to have been little read.

One suspects the author foresaw as much and so cunningly decided to include the guts of it in the title. Learning from Failure: Why Large Government Policy Initiatives Have Gone So Badly Wrong in the Past and How the Chances of Success in the Future Can be Improved, together with a well-thumbed copy of last week’s magnum opus from the Productivity Commission, should be placed in a prominent position on every would-be revolutionary’s bookcase


Senate president Stephen Parry has revealed he believes he holds dual citizenship and may need to resign

Senator Parry, who reportedly believes he is a British citizen, would become the first Liberal to be forced out of Parliament in the ongoing citizenship fiasco.

Fairfax Media has confirmed that Senator Parry, from Tasmania, sought confirmation on his citizenship status from British authorities on Monday, several days after the High Court dramatically ruled that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, and four senators, were invalidly elected because they were dual citizens.

If Senator Parry is forced to vacate the Senate, it will be another embarrassing blow to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's government and it will see the Coalition's numbers in the Senate temporarily reduced by one.

He was born in Burnie, Tasmania, but his father migrated from Britain as a child.

Senator Parry was a funeral director and police officer before entering Parliament in 2004. He became Senate President in July 2014.

Former Tasmanian senator Richard Colbeck, a former junior minister in the Coalition government, would take over the Senate position occupied by Mr Parry if it is found that he was invalidly elected.

Mr Colbeck is still active in Liberal politics in Tasmania and is a close political ally of Mr Turnbull.

Mr Parry's office are expected to release a statement about the Senate President's citizenship status shortly.

On Sunday, Attorney-General George Brandis said he had "absolutely no reason to believe" there were more MPs caught up by section 44 of the constitution, which prohibits them from holding dual citizenship.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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