The Federal election has been sitting on the edge of a knife since we went to the polls on August 21, with neither party having enough seats to form government. But the real tragedy has been that with the deadlock, we’ve had no idea whether or not we’d be getting a nationwide broadband network built or not. Fortunately all that ended today, with independent MPs Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott joining with the Labor party to form a minority government, giving them the numbers to keep rolling out the NBN.
Earlier today, Bob Katter, the rambling man from North Queensland with a love of Brazil and cowboy hats, broke ranks from the other indies to announce he’d side with the coalition, bringing the numbers to 74-74 each for Labor and Liberal. But the fact that he gave his own conference an hour and a half prior to the other two was a good indication that Katter was singing to his own tune. Shortly afterwards, Windsor and Oakeshott held their own conference confirming that they’d throw their weight behind the Gillard government, giving Labor the 76 seats it needed to take power.
Tony Windsor confirmed that one of the major deciding policies in his decision was broadband: “Do it once, do it right and do it with fibre.” Oakeshott agreed that broadband was a key issue as well.
So what now? With Labor now having enough seats to form a minority government, NBNCo should be able to confidently continue its plans to roll out a national fibre broadband network. Well, at least until the next election, when we’ll almost certainly have to go through all this again…