Turnbull calls Conroy out on "bullying" behaviour

The Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband said Conroy adopts an “arrogant and bullying attitude” and tries to intimidate people into not criticising government policy

Malcolm Turnbull has accused Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, of bullying the telecommunications industry, during an interview with ABC Radio on Friday morning.

The Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband said Conroy adopts an “arrogant and bullying attitude” and tries to intimidate people into not criticising government policy, saying there were no excuses for nasty and arrogant language.

“This is the Minister who said in New York not so long ago that he was so powerful that if he told telecom executives that they had to wear red underpants on their heads when they next came to meet him, they would do so because he was so awesome in his magnificent power,” Turnbull told ABC Radio's AM program.

“And so a minister that flaunts his power and seeks to bully the industry is really doing a lot of damage both to the credibility of the government, the standing of Australia, the perception investors have of Australia.”

The remarks followed Conroy’s attack against Vodafone Hutchison Australia's CEO, accusing him of acting like former Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo, according to the Australian Financial Review.

“They lost 750,000 customers due to poor service and they want to lecture to everybody, they want to cut those people off. They are doing a good enough job of that themselves,” Conroy reportedly told an industry event.

Conroy's comments were in response to an opinion piece in the AFR by Vodafone’s CEO, Bill Morrow, stating that the “policy playbook” needs to be reworked to meet changing consumer needs and expectations.

“Industry must re-evaluate how we deliver mobile services, build infrastructure and fund coverage expansions in a unique market, while governments must review the out-dated policy constructs that inhibit growth and stifle innovation,” Morrow wrote.

Morrow called for a revision of universal service agreements, which provide subsidies to Telstra for its fixed line phone network, as mobile use becomes more prevalent and fixed lines are used less.

“In the past, governments have funded individual mobile carriers to increase their mobile coverage. This has restricted consumers of other networks benefiting from taxpayer-funded projects. Industry and government need to find new ways to work together to deliver better mobile services and facilitate the growth of the economy,” Morrow wrote.

Turnbull declined to comment on whether the Coalition might revisit universal service agreements if it wins the next election.

“Making changes to it is not particularly straightforward and it’s something that I’d reserve a view on until, probably until if and when we were in government when we could have access to all of the financial information,” he said.

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Comments

Clayton

1

Stephen Conroy is nothing but a loud mouthed and bullying type of idiot. God help those in the Senate when he takes over as leader. Does this man realise that he will be unemployed on or before September 14 2013.

George Michaelson

2

Conroy said what the industry knows: the Minister has awesome power. Would you prefer a minister who pretended they didn't have yes-or-no signing rights?

If you can't read the red underpants comment for what it is, and want to conflate it with a real request, please, by all means, go get some cerise jocks and flaunt them skullwards.

As to the Voda comments: good on him for calling the elephant in the room: if a telco drops the service on the customers and they are in an open market, what do Voda think is going to happen? Like, we should pretend there is nothing to see here?

Borges

3

George - where does Conroy's attempt at internet censorship rank in your praise of him? He has proven a pattern in his behaviour of arrogance, rudeness, and ill-considered ideas. I'd prefer a minister who actually understood the technology of the industry he's a minister for and, furthermore, conducted himself with some humility.

Mira

4

Conroy is absolutely right on this one. Vodafone have no intention of doing anything outside of the major cities and Morrow could care less about rural Australia and thats why he questions the obligation. What would you expect Conroy to do, agree and let services degrade ofr anyone in the country?? Frankly Morrow needs to halt the decline in his own company before he worries about what others are doing.

Horace Knight

5

Takes one to know one. Turnbull is the biggest bully there is.

gnome

6

It seems to be easier for the Coalition to point fingers at everybody else than for them to actually come up with a plan to meet our needs for the next fifty years.

But of course that would mean supporting NBN, instead of inanely chanting "faster and cheaper" without any substance or credibility at all.

StanleyLSWidenerLLC

7

Turnbull is a disaster waiting to happen. He's not honest, his wife is a histrionic and worst of all---he speaks out of both sides of his mouth. Say what you want about Conroy but the devil you know...........and so on.

dvioDad

8

Malcolm Turnbull is a douchebag.

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