Conroy gets new shadow: Tony Smith

Liberal member for Casey, Victoria, Tony Smith has been appointed as the Coalition's new shadow communications minister, but his views are at odds with new shadow finance minister, Nationals senator, Barnaby Joyce.

Liberal member for Casey, Victoria, Tony Smith has been appointed as the Coalition's new shadow communications minister, but his views are at odds with new shadow finance minister, Nationals senator, Barnaby Joyce.

Tony Smith, shadow communications minister

New shadow communications minister, Tony Smith: Rudd is like a "crazy architect"
(Credit: Tony Smith)

Opposition Leader Tony Abbot appointed Smith today as part of his ministry reshuffle. "I believe that Tony's considerable financial skills will increase scrutiny on the government's $43 billion broadband network which is being foisted on Australian taxpayers without even a business plan," Abbot said as he ushered in Conroy's new shadow.

Smith, like outgoing shadow communications minister, Nick Minchin, had in late November resigned from his position as shadow assistant treasurer in protest over Malcolm Turnbull's proposed support for Labor's Carbon Emissions Pollution Reduction Scheme legislation.

In October, Smith delivered a speech in parliament against the government's Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009. Smith said the government's National Broadband Network plans were bad for regional Australia because it replaced the OPEL contract — a joint venture between Optus and Elders — which he argued would have addressed regional communications earlier than the current plans.

"The Prime Minister is like the crazy architect that you see on some of those home-building programs," Smith said.

Smith's views on the NBN are at odds with the Coalition's new shadow finance minister, Barnaby Joyce, who suggested he supported both the government's plan to break up Telstra, as well as its regional backhaul blackspots program.

"We would think that when the government is spending money, it should start spending the money where the services are not, and the services are not in the bush," he told The Australian.

Former shadow communications minister, Nick Minchin, has been moved to the shadow resources and energy portfolio.