Libs demand overhaul of broadband panel

Sparks fly over panel links to embattled mobile dealer Allphones

The opposition has demanded a restructure of the government's broadband expert panel following Federal Court charges against a mobile phone retailer, previously run by the panel's chair Tony Mitchell.

Allphones, chaired by Mitchell, was charged with misleading conduct and deceit by a Federal Court hearing into allegations that the company owed millions in commissions to franchisees, which it covered-up in financial documents.

The company is also under investigations by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Shadow communications minister Bruce Billson said the government should review the membership of the broadband panel.

"The controversy surrounding a company with embarrassing links to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's hand-picked panel of experts should spark a complete overhaul of the panel," Billson said in a statement.

"The negative publicity about Allphones has greatly tarnished Senator Conroy's panel. He should turn this into a positive by restructuring the panel to ensure it has the necessary expertise and freedom to vigorously assess broadband proposals and to provide frank and open advice regardless of how politically inconvenient."

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