Minister for Communications Stephen Conroy has hit back at Liberal communications spokesperson Tony Smith who yesterday claimed Conroy would "burn at the stake" anyone who doubted the National Broadband Network (NBN).
Tony Smith thinks Conroy would burn NBN-haters at the stake
(Credit: Liam Tung )
"In the world of Conroy, anyone that questions Labor's chaotic and reckless NBN or refuses to join them on their ill conceived adventure must be a broadband non-believer who should presumably be burnt at the stake," Smith, the Liberal member for Casey in Victoria said in a statement yesterday.
Conroy today hit back at Smith, and claimed that the Coalition would put a stop to the NBN.
"Tony Smith has signalled that a Coalition government would stop the NBN roll-out and revert to the failed broadband policies of the Howard Government," Conroy said in a statement.
If a Coalition Government did win the next election, it became clearer yesterday that it would indeed put a torch to the NBN Co, which currently employs over 160 people and commenced rolling out the network in Tasmania and five sites on the mainland.
The recently appointed shadow spokesperson for communications yesterday told News Limited publication The Australian that he agreed Australia needed faster broadband, but that there were better ways to reach regional Australia.
Smith yesterday said on his website that the Coalition had hatched a broadband plan. "The Coalition believes there are better ways to drive a comprehensive upgrade of Australia's broadband infrastructure both nationally and in under-served areas," Smith said in a separate statement.
"The Coalition will be looking to implement a very different, responsible and targeted approach that will be designed to deliver better, affordable, reliable broadband services where they are needed without a reckless waste of taxpayer's funds, as well as encouraging the private sector to upgrade broadband infrastructure," Smith said.
However Conroy said today that it was not a new plan. "Now after more than two years in Opposition, the Coalition has no new alternative policy. They claim to be for high speed broadband, but every single position they take, including their obstructionist tactics in the Senate, aims to block its delivery."
At a recent the Australian Telecommunications User Group conference in Sydney, Smith would not outline the Coalition's communications policy, however he said it had one in development and that all would be revealed once it had finalised it.
Like former Shadow Communications Minister, Nick Minchin, Smith told the conference that if OPEL were not killed off by the Rudd Government, it would have already delivered better broadband to regional Australia.