Turnbull to hold Government "ferociously to account" on NBN

Tony Smith punted to parliamentary secretary for tax reform

Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has used the appointment of Malcolm Turnbull as Shadow communications minister to rubbish the National Broadband Network (NBN) as an “icon of waste and incompetence".

“In particular the National Broadband Network, or nationalised broadband network, is going to become an icon of waste and incompetence,” Abbott said at press conference on the new Shadow Cabinet.

“I have already described it as school halls on steroids and we can be certain that the National Broadband Network will be to this term of government what pink bats and school halls will be to the last term of government.”

“It is a complete waste to spend $5000 per household delivering an information superhighway beside every dirt track in this country whether or not people want it or can afford it.”

Abbott said Turnbull would have the business and technical expertise to “entirely demolish” the Government on the issue of the National Broadband Network.

“This is going to be the absolute focus of the battle over the next 18 months or so,” he said. “The Government is going to invest $43 billion worth of hard earned money in what I believe will turn out to be a White Elephant on a massive scale and I can’t think of anyone better than Malcolm Turnbull given his experience in telecommunications and in business to hold the Government ferociously account in this area.”

Abbott would not address the sacking of Tony Smith as Shadow Communications minister directly, instead arguing that having Turnbull in the role would lead to a “stronger, hungrier team” which would better hold the Government to account and “better present as a credible alternative".

“Tony still has a strong contribution to make and he is the Shadow parliamentary secretary for tax reform and deputy chair of the Coalition policy development committee,” Abbot said. “I think he has a big contribution to make in the Coalition’s future.”

The change, widely rumoured for a number of days has been welcomed by the ICT industry.

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Well now we have an opposition that is shaping up as being more than potent!

Conroy and his weasel words will have to be on the ball from now on.........We have a "business man" on his tail.

Game on!

Syd Walker


"Holding to account" does not mean, and should not mean, attempting to sabotage the entire NBN project.

It should mean that Malcolm Turnbull uses his skills to ensure the NBN rollout is truly in the public interest.

That means ensuring:

1/ no mandatory censorship (aka Great Australian Firewall aka 'Conroy's filter')

2/ legislated net neutrality

3/ world best practise privacy standards (eg. no broadscale data retention)

4/ affordable and euqitable univeral access

5/ no rorts, waste and jobs for the boys (eg. Maike Kaiser's unadvertised $450K pa job)

6/ excellent value for money as the rollout ensues.

If Turbull works with cross benchers and progressives in the ALP to achieve that, he will gain the nation's thanks.

He should resist directives from Abbott to perform solely as a wrecking ball. If that's Tony's game, let him play it. Australia needs better.

We're fed up with our telecoms mismanaged and used as a chess piece in political games. We want real progress on telecoms infrastructure as well as an appropriately progressive regulatory regime.

We certainly need genuine liberalism to outweigh the spooky control-freakery of Conroy and his backers.



And... a republican businessman!



About time they sat up to take notice about the NBN. The Liberals have been pathetic so far on this waste of money and blackmail of Telstra. The government "spin" on costs etc go unchalledged. Wholesale is FREE so far! We will have to pay hugh costs as either users or taxpayers.



Leaving all the politics out of it, @4Mike, wasn't it the Coalition that produced many of the recent problems by selling off Telstra with it's fixed line monopoly intact, while failing to do anything effective about competition or end-user choice.

And it was Kim Beazeley as comms minister who created the monster by leaving the carriage service and network functions together when it was corporatised.

And @RS - surely Republican and Business are far from being mutually exclusive? ;-)



which will it be 'hold to account' or 'entirely demolist'?

it does not coincide with our national interests to have a shadow communications minister acting as an exclusive proponent of the interest of a single telco's shareholders - or other broader sectional interests (ie, wireless and other telco's who would prefer the liberal corporate-handout based scheme). i sincerely hope this is not the case.

given the liberals contribution to communications in australia has been overseeing the degradation of much of our communications infrastructure and the perpetuation of a failed regulatory environment in which sectional interests (ie, telstra shareholders) have often taken precedence over national ones, they should stick to what they do best - overseeing the fiscal side of the NBN project.

they do not have the mandate to go about trying to sabotage the NBN.



@5 indeed gnome...

Just having a dig at the irony of those close minded fools, who believe Republicans are scum, but herald a Lib businessman (who is not only a, but "the" Republican)...LOL!

P Sanderson


To me Malcolm Turbull is the one person in the current leadership team in the opposition that I felt showed he could put aside partisan politics to pursue matters in the genuine public interest.

Hopefully, as Syd Walker wrote above, he resists the push by Abbott to go about this in destructive manner. Instead it would be better if he sought to hold the government to account in the public interest rather than the interest of an indigent monopoly that's left our communications sector trailing far behind many of our competitors.

I hope he doesn't disappoint us and forgo his intelligent style of politics for the more emotive and much less helpful approach taken by Abbot.



@ 5 Gnome, the ONLY point I was making, is that with Turnbull, a tremendously successful business man in his own right! A person more than well versed with the internet and in particular broadband, all of a sudden gives this whole debate a new and vibrant feel!

Should this beast NBN go ahead full steam! I would much rather Turnbull and his scholarship on these matters be the counter balance, who knows god forbid some bi party agreements may even break out, who knows, we even see a financial model and a business plan! now that would be going forward!



I believe M Turnbull has stated that any destruction of the NBN at this point would be foolish as there is already a 20 to 50% capital investment into NBN.co, and thus would be a massive waste of taxpayers cash.
This is slightly at odds with T.Abbotts stop the NBN, either way should be good either way, Turnbull gets clarity on the NBN or forces some minor tweaks I believe FTTN to be quite an acceptable step down, which leaves the work already done intact.



A retraction of the above statement FTTN will do, someone has just in great detail explained to me why they didnt go FTTN but FTTH instead and I concurr with his view.......FTTH is the only viable solution other than to wireless everything, which is highly unlikely to work, and doesnt cover everyone ones type of use.

I didnt know that no matter who succeeded in building a NBN it was going to have to replace all the copper lines anyway, something that was not openly discussed in anyones plans, never knew all the exsisting copper is tagged out of life.

Why wasnt this talked about when the subject of justifying cost for any NBN plan, why wasnt the reasons for this situation explained to the public, this stuff was tagged over 15 years ago as past use by date.

The more I read up on this subject from all the different views the more I can see that we have all been lied to or at the very least not told all the reasons for these projects.

I now understand the NBN in its present form, I now understand that if just the backhaul was done, investment would be in wireless only as no one would want to relay all that copper to people, I now understand the wireless push by Telstra and others, it was a con, a trick to avoid copper replacement.

I am open to a counter arguement, but I think I'm done here, thank you for all advice over the last few months, and great articles, learnt alot.



You would think there was enough hard on's as is on forums without selling Vigrix.
I take it this site is not moderated then, that would also explain alot.



By all means destroy and dismember the previously proposed internet filter (though looks like that is pretty much dead anyway!).

But if Abott / Turnbull go after NBN as suggested they only serve to demonstrate why the Libs should never again be allowed to Govern...they're fundamentally opposed to investment in key infrastructure that will help build and define this country. In short they're out of touch and do not represent the people they want to Govern.

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