Libs: Conroy on NBN-hater witch hunt

Libs: Conroy on NBN-hater witch hunt

Summary: 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).


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).

Smith NBN witch hunt

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.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Browser, Government, Government AU, IT Employment

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Well, if OPEL were still kicking, I, living in a regional Tasmanian city, may have by now had access to ADSL2+ speeds over one of their DSLAMs. At the distance I live from my exchange, this would have consigned me to a stunning 7Mbps down. Instead, I can get access via a TW or soon, Netspace/iiNet DSLAM, while I wait for FTTH, with its ability to deliver 100Mbps regardless of distance.

    Hmmm, let me see, which of those two options would regional users prefer?
  • Clearly having a working connection now is preferable to a promise of maybe a better connection sometimes in the future - if you're lucky.