More Coalition Goalpost Shifting

Certain members of our alternative government have certainly been a bit shifty with numbers related to their portfolios in the last 24 hours.

On the National Broadband Network (NBN) front, where it has been claimed that if the Coalition comes to power at the election, and it’s alternative NBN is implemented, that people may be required to pay $5000 for the ‘fibre on demand’ product if you still want a fibre connection you would get for free under the current NBN plan.

Today Shadow Communications spokesperson Malcolm Turnbull stated:

“Well we haven’t set a rate for it but I can tell you that the typical distance from one of these nodes, the average distance would be around 500 metres. And I can only give you the example from the UK the cost of getting fibre on demand is around £1500 which I think would work out at around $3000. So it is not $5000.”

Yet on the 29th of April, on his own website he stated:

“In the UK this product, known as ‘fibre on demand’ is made available for a fee. For a customer living 500 metres from a node, for example, the charge is GBP1500 or about $2,250.”

Three months ago it was going to be $2250, and now it is $3000. Even taking exchange rate variations into account doesn’t seem to explain this significant variance.

For the record, based on the exchange rate as it stands today, £1500 GBP is $2500 AUD, and labour market rates/conditions are going to be different between the UK and Australia as well, making comparisons very difficult.

Regardless, Turnbull can’t even commit to a single figure – exchange rates don’t vary that much.

Over in the manufacturing portfolio, appearing on the ABC Q&A program on July 1st, 2013, the Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry and Science, Sophie Mirabella, made the following statement:

“Under this government……we’ve seen one manufacturing job lost every 19 minutes.”

Now, I’m not going to go into an argument and/or analysis as to whether that is right or wrong – (Politifact Australia did rate the claim as “half true”) – but I will point out a tweet Mirabella posted last night:

Apparently in the space of a month the 19 minutes has become 11 minutes.

Regardless of whether either figure is right or wrong, she doesn’t seem to be able to get her story straight.

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey is also playing outside the accepted playing field, moving away from the accepted methods of costing policies before an election:

“Mr Hockey has previously said the coalition would detail costings of its policies once the PEFO was released.”

“But now he’s casting doubts on its independence.”

“”Quite clearly by flagging an economic statement the government is trying to bully the public service into a set of the numbers that clearly do not properly represent the state of the budget,” Mr Hockey said.”

Hockey says that instead, they have been using the Parliamentary Budget Office, state government colleagues and independent advisers. Let’s hope he’s not using the same independent accountants they did last time around:

“The federal Coalition’s economic credibility has been dealt a blow after a tribunal found that two accountants who costed its 2010 election policies had breached professional standards.”

“The ruling is an embarrassment to shadow treasurer Joe Hockey, who wrongly insisted during the campaign that the accountants’ policy costings had been audited.”

I’m not inspired with confidence.