Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 00:51 | SYDNEY
Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 00:51 | SYDNEY

Broadband nation


Sam Roggeveen


20 August 2010 10:14

Many of my colleagues have pointed out that foreign affairs, defence and foreign aid have barely figured in this election campaign. That is true, and it is regrettable.

But Graeme Dobell made the slightly broader point yesterday that the world has barely intruded on the campaign. It has been an intensely local affair. And not just on the issues, but in the tactics adopted by the two parties, which have been fixated on a handful of marginal seats. The BBC's man in Australia, Nick Bryant, calls it 'the narrowing of Australian politics'.

It's also true, as Graeme pointed out, that where the world has intruded into the election — immigration, border protection — it has been not been in ways that reinforce our self-image as an open and outward-looking nation.

But there's one possible exception that might lift slightly this sense that Australia is turning inward: the debate over the National Broadband Network. After all, high speed internet is already one of the major ways that Australians interact with the world, and its influence is only going to grow. My sense is that Australians get this and are genuinely interested in what the two parties are offering. If the NBN debate is a surrogate for a broader discussion about globalisation, maybe Australians are showing that they want more of it.

Photo by Flickr user transCam, used under a Creative Commons license.