Malcolm Turnbull Causes Outrage Over Twitter Question: Why Buy A House Where There’s No Broadband Available?

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By Anne Lu | March 21, 2014 5:59 PM EST

Malcolm Turnbull couldn’t understand why people buy house in an area where broadband isn’t available. The Minister for Communications caused outrage online when he questioned a woman’s priorities in buying a house.

On Thursday, Twitter user Julia Keady posted her complaint on the social media Web site, telling Mr Turnbull that there is no internet connectivity in the area of her newly bought house.

Instead of at least promising to look into the matter, Mr Turnbull questioned Ms Keady’s judgment in her house purchase.

Ms Keady replied, “You’re saying people who want their children to grow up in regional Aust don’t deserve access to modern services?”

“no I am simply asking whether given the importance of bband to you, you checked availability before buying yr new house,” the minister replied, adding, “just asking you a simple question which you refuse to answer.”

Mr Turnbull’s seemingly dismissive attitude in addressing Ms Keady’s problem has ignited a barrage of criticisms. Online commenters have come to Ms Keady’s defence, saying that Mr Turnbull is so out of touch with reality that he didn’t even stop to consider more practical factors in house buying.

“He is so out of touch with average Australians. It is so difficult to buy a house these day (sic). After I finish the title check, surveys and inspections, do I just walk away because of broadband? Why I cannot have a reasonable expectation that broadband will be available, much like water and electricity?”

trex_luke from Reddit posted. Redditor WazWaz added, “It’s how he sees the world. To him and the whole LNP, broadband connectivity is the same as beachfront living – something to be bought if you can afford it, nothing more. The concept of nation building is beyond their comprehension.”

As Ms Kready already posted before Mr Turnbull’s retort, she simply wanted to live outside the city, where they can afford to buy a house.

Even when there were other Twitter users who have joined in the discussion and sided with Ms Keady, Mr Turnbull refused to back down, still questioning why Ms Keady had to buy a house in an area where he failed to bring broadband in, as if Ms Keady herself was on trial.

“I felt I was being blamed for my circumstances because I am choosing to raise my family outside a metropolitan city,” Ms Keady told SBS.

“I was surprised by the nature of his tweets given that Ocean Grove is only 108km from Melbourne, and 25 km from Geelong, one of Australia’s largest regional cities. We are not talking about a town in the middle of the desert.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman from Mr Turnbull’s office blamed the Labor government for failing to assess areas that had limited infrastructure.

“[Ocean Grove is] one of those areas that you’d be looking to priorities in the next round of the rollout of the NBN [National Broadband Network] – and that was work that Labor didn’t do. They didn’t look at areas that were undeserved or didn’t have access,” the rep told SBS.

“That’s something that we’re doing, which you would think is pretty straightforward to anyone that’s rolling out the NBN. But that didn’t happen until the new government came in and did it.”

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