The results are in and neither side has emerged as a clear winner. With two such different broadband policies at play from both parties, what will a hung parliament do to our technology and the IT industry?
The first and most obvious result is that the Independents, Bob Katter, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, may act as a bloc to push for much more investment in rural and regional areas. These former National party members are conservatives with good records in pushing for their own seats.
But an issue on the forefront of their mind is broadband and telecommunications, with Telstra separation set to be in their sights. Even on election night the members made sure to mention broadband as a key issue.
This means concessions for extra rural investment in broadband will flow forth from both parties. It could come from the existing budget at the expense of urban and metropolitan Internet infrastructure, or new money may spring forth to give the independents extra speed in their seats.
As it stands, the Coalition is likely to win 73 seats and could well form a Government with the support of the three rural independents. If Labor wants to take power it looks likely the rural independents will also be involved.
Two other members of parliament have joined the fray and many say they’re wildcards. But Andrew Wilkie is a former intelligence analyst that got pilloried by the Coalition for speaking publicly against the Iraq War. He’s got a strong chance of backing a Labor Government in exchange for a lot more infrastructure in his electorate.
The new Greens member, Adam Bandt, beat the Labor contender and succeeded former Finance Minister, Lindsay Tanner, who stepped down. He has come out previously to say he’d side with the Government in case of a hung parliament and repeated this point after winning – even if Abbott can form Government with his help, he won’t join in.
The Federal Greens have come out in favour of the National Broadband Network and against the Coalition’s plan, and Bandt is likely to follow suit in the lower house. But regardless of what happens, the Greens are likely to use its balance of power in the Senate to make sure both parties change broadband to suit them better.
One of the biggest losers in all this will be Telstra, with structural separation more likely under any Government with independent members. At the very least, severe access reform will take place at the telco’s expense.