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  • Featured, News, Telecommunications - Written by on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 20:32 - 101 Comments

    End of an era:
    Stephen Conroy quits as Comms Minister


    news Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has reportedly resigned his post in the wake of Kevin Rudd’s successful challenge for the leadership of the Federal Labor Party, after declaring earlier this week that he would not serve in a new Rudd Cabinet.

    Earlier this week, Conroy, a long-time supporter of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and a fellow key figure in the Victorian arm of the Labor Party, told Sky News’ Australian Agenda program that he continued to support Gillard and added that he did not believe he would be in a position to be in a front bench — Cabinet Minister — position.

    This evening, following Rudd’s victory in a leadership ballot called by Gillard earlier this afternoon, a number of media outlets have reported that Conroy has followed through on his promise and has signalled to the Labor caucus that he would resign his post as Communications Minister.

    “[Treasurer Wayne Swan] has resigned as deputy prime minister and the government’s senate leader Stephen Conroy, who is Communications Minister, has also quit, meaning that three out of four of the leadership group has gone,” wrote Michelle Grattan, a journalist for The Conversation. “Swan and Conroy have quit,” confirmed Sky News chief political reporter Kieran Gilbert in a separate Twitter post.

    “Wayne Swan, Stephen Conroy, Joe Ludwig and Craig Emerson have all quit Cabinet,” added ABC News 24 on Twitter. Conroy has not yet issued a formal statement on his resignation. Any statement issued by Conroy will be added to this article.

    The news marks the end of an era for Australia’s telecommunications and technology industries. Conroy has held the Communications Minister role since Rudd took power in November 2007, after several years in opposition holding the Shadow Communications Minister role against then-Coalition Communications Minister Helen Coonan.

    Conroy’s time in the portfolio was dogged in the early years by controversy over Labor’s mandatory Internet filter scheme, which Labor had only briefly disclosed during the 2007 election, but which became a major issue for the Government after it was overwhelmingly opposed by the Australian public and eventually most other sides of politics.

    However, Senator Conroy was able to largely neutralise the filter policy as an issue from July 2010, changing the policy into a more palatable system which would be voluntary for Australian ISPs and which would only see a list of ‘worst of the worst’ child pornography blocked.

    Conroy’s legacy in the portfolio will largely be seen to be Labor’s successful National Broadband Network policy, the current iteration of which has been in place since April 2009. Although the rollout of the NBN has been much slower than expected, much of the underlying framework for the network to be rolled out, in terms of contracts with suppliers and equipment suppliers and the National Broadband Network Company itself, is now in place and is expected to continue under either side of politics.

    The popular nature of the NBN policy, and the way that it deals with long-term issues in the telecommunications industry such as the vertically integrated nature of Telstra, has meant that the Coalition has been stimulated to come up with its own rival NBN policy, which shares much of its vision with Labor’s own vision, including the use of satellite and wireless technologies to support rural and regional areas and the extensive use of fibre to replace parts of Telstra’s existing copper network. The Coalition is expected to maintain much of the structure of Labor’s NBN policy and project if it wins the upcoming Federal Election.

    One other legacy which Conroy will be remember for is the historic switch of Australia’s television infrastructure to digital television and away from legacy analogue technology, freeing up wireless spectrum to be used for other purposes such as the deploying of 4G mobile broadband infrastructure.

    It is not clear who Conroy’s replacement would be likely to be, with most other likely candidates with experience in the technology portfolio — such as Senator Kate Lundy and Finance Minister Penny Wong (who is the second shareholder Minister overseeing the National Broadband Network Company) being strongly associated with Gillard.

    One potential candidate would be Rudd supporter and Labor backbencher Ed Husic, who has previously served as the National President of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union of Australia and who has a strong history inside Parliament of agitating on issues in the telecommunications sector; for example spearleading the parliamentary inquiry into IT price hikes in Australia. However, Husic is regarded as relatively junior in the Parliament, having only taken office as August 2010. The Communications portfolio was historically not regarded as a senior Cabinet post, but the importance of the NBN issue has elevated it to a senior position, with Conroy holding an additional post directly advising the Prime Minister on broadband issues.

    Opinion/analysis to follow separately.

    Image credit: Kim Davies, Creative Commons

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    1. Abel Adamski
      Posted 26/06/2013 at 9:36 pm | Permalink |

      Rupert has won , game set match
      Rudd is only there because of the relentless campaign by the media, especially the Australian.
      Quid Quo Pro
      Farewell any hope of FTTP or a good future for Australia.
      Back to the old ways and the blinkered ideology and the new autocracy under the rule of the puppet masters.Then add in the surveillence, 1984 approaches rapidly
      Sure FTTN may be better than what we have.
      This editorial nailed it

      • PeterA
        Posted 26/06/2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink |

        Good to see Gillard did what Rudd should have done.

        Lets just hope when the coalition win that Rudd quits politics too.

        • Tinman_au
          Posted 27/06/2013 at 1:27 am | Permalink |

          Rudd agreed to bow out as well if he lost the ballot.

          Personally, I’m happy to see the “father” of the NBN back…

          • scott
            Posted 27/06/2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink |

            You are referring to John Howard right?

            • Lionel
              Posted 27/06/2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink |

              No, the National Broadband Network. NBN doesn’t mean No Broadband Network.

              • scott
                Posted 27/06/2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink |

                Not sure where the delusional visions are coming from but John Howard was the first to announce an NBN policy at the 07 election followed soon after by the “me 2″ Labor policy.

                • Frankie
                  Posted 27/06/2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink |

                  Comparing the laughable efforts of earlier governments to the current NBN is disingenuous, bordering on dishonest.
                  John Howard has nothing to do with this NBN, apart from forcing it to be necessary via his unbelievably stupid sale of Telstra. To try to credit Howard with anything when his only achievement was to put australian internet and telecommunications into a decade long death spiral is unbelievable.

                  • scott
                    Posted 27/06/2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink |

                    Take a history lesson and read into it before making ridiculous statements Frankie. A lot of Howard’s policies have been taken on by the Labor party since the 2007 election. And all the policies they dismantled (cept for work choices) have been a straight up fail which has cost this nation a lot of money and many innocent people their lives.

                    • Frankie
                      Posted 27/06/2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink |

                      Are you on drugs or posting from a psychiatric ward? You are seriously trying to credit Howard, the person who singlehandedly ruined telecommunications in this country, the person who did his damndest to force us into a technological dark age – with the current iteration of the NBN?

                      You are a bald faced liar, a deluded fool and a worthless human being. Grow up and take some medication before you hurt yourself.

                      And keep your foolishness to yourself, it is insulting to anyone that you would spout your bleating nonsense in public.

                      • Deep Thinker
                        Posted 27/06/2013 at 7:25 pm | Permalink |

                        You are a bald faced liar, a deluded fool and a worthless human being.

                        Classic. Why do ALP/NBN supporters always resort to abusing their debating opponents? Because they know they lose everytime when confronted with actual facts in a cold, rational debate.

                      • Alex
                        Posted 29/06/2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink |

                        @ Deep Thinker

                        While I don’t condone Frankie’s comment I understand it (as both you and I have felt the brunt of the editors wrath, for over exuberance, haven’t we :)

                        But while I respect your right to forever come to the defence of your political masters, go back and you will see that Scott was the first one to be disrespectful, saying the previous comments/commentators are delusional, it then snow balled.

                        Considering Scott was giving everyone a ribbing, based on his completely incorrect statement, an incorrect statement you claim is factual (even after evidence was supplied proving it incorrect) is most curious howerer :/


                    • Alex
                      Posted 27/06/2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink |

                      And here is that lesson for everyone (remembering John Howard’s Coalition were governing)… especially you Scott

                      18/6/2007 – “And today – months after Labor announced its plan for a fast national broadband network – the government presented its own proposal. Labor’s $4.7 billion program would roll out a fibre to the node network (that is, fibre optic delivery close to the home or business) across the nation.”


                      More history and irony for you… you will note too, then Deputy PM Vaile referring to FttN as “fraudband”.

                • Lionel
                  Posted 27/06/2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink |

                  Howard’s plan was nothing like the NBN. It was a bloated black spot program. The current NBN plan is a complete overhaul of Australia’s telecommunications systems.

                  • Frankie
                    Posted 27/06/2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink |

                    Don’t both Lionel – you are trying to explain facts to someone who belongs in an asylum. You can’t reason with people who don’t have a shred of integrity and who hate the truth.

                • Rich
                  Posted 28/06/2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink |

                  The original Liberal FttN NBN had a major defect: It would be owned and operated by Telstra. The vast majority of people would be connected to a node that only had room for Telstra DSLAMs in it. Only a handful of subscribers would be available to connect to other ISP’s DSLAMs at the exchange.

                  Telstra Wholesale DSL would increase it’s from near-monopoly (as it was in 2007) from almost-total-monopoly. It would screw over every other ISP.

                  You can accuse the Labor party of copying, but the current NBN is better in every single way .. and the Lib’s new proposal is still technologically a big step backwards for 70% of Australians.

            • Tinman_au
              Posted 27/06/2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink |

              You are referring to John Howard right?

              No, he was the father of the (failed) OPEL venture, which wouldn’t have even covered three quarters of the Nation (with mostly Wimax).

        • Woolfe
          Posted 27/06/2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink |

          I see no problem with what Rudd did.

          I voted for him, not Gillard in ’07. She stabbed him in the back at the first opportunity. You don’t do that. As a result they lost the election and only won government with the independents.
          He challenged legitimately, and was beaten. He stated he would not challenge again. And he didn’t Crean pushed for the spill. Rudd didn’t challenge. In this case Gillard Challenged Rudd. He stepped up only when he was challenged. His hands are clean. Any dirty manoeuvres were a direct result of the original ousting that Gillard and co performed in the first place.

          He was doing a good job imo when they ousted him.

          As for Conroy, I have never forgiven him for his underhanded attacks on technical people pointing out technical facts. He basically suggested that anyone opposed to the filter was a child pornographer. For that alone, I am glad he is gone. But I add to it the lack of oversight on NBNco. NBN was a prize horse in the labor stable. He should have been riding NBNco and making sure everything was kosher, and at the first hint of hoof damage(to continue the horse riding metaphor) should have been probing and cleaning it up and making sure everyone knew the race was going to be a bit slower.

          • Posted 27/06/2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink |

            Preferred PM aside, unless you are somehow resident in both the electorate of Lalor in suburban Melbourne and Griffith in suburban Brisbane, you didn’t vote for either.

            In our Westminster-system democracy, the Prime Minister is a Member of the House of Representatives and parliamentary leader of the governing party, chosen by the Party Room of that party, and appointed by the Governor-General, who must believe that the individual has the capacity to retain the confidence (that is, to pass Bills of supply into law) of the House of Representatives.

            No matter how many journalists and politicians try to gin it up and make believe the PM is “chosen by the people”, it’s simply not the case.

            • Woolfe
              Posted 27/06/2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink |

              Excellent point, well put. You are correct, I didn’t vote for him directly. What I did was vote for my Federal Labor Representative based on the Leadership that I believed Kevin Rudd would be bringing to the party.

              Just like I will not be voting for my federal Liberal representative based on the Leadership of Tony Abbott.

              So yes, I voted for him, through a proxy, that being my Federal member.

              • Posted 27/06/2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink |

                It’s an interesting way to vote – for a local member based on the potential leader they might (or are likely to) represent, rather than for the local candidate themselves based on their capacity. It shows the progress of the “presedentialisation” of Australian politics, where voting decisions are made based on leaders, rather than party policy, and at a more local level, the capacity of a candidate as local member to represent the interests of their community as a Member or Senator.

                Of course, I’m a policy nerd who gets excited about machinery of government, and someone who moans incessantly about the dire state of civics education in Australia; so I’m a definite edge case in both depth of understanding of how our political system functions, and bitching about how badly it often doesn’t function.

                • Woolfe
                  Posted 28/06/2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink |

                  “It’s an interesting way to vote – for a local member based on the potential leader they might (or are likely to) represent, rather than for the local candidate themselves based on their capacity.”

                  Bear in mind this is not the way I always vote. In the specific case of Kevin, I actually agreed with him on many aspects, and I felt that he was a new perspective in a Labor party that had been just one side of the 2 party coin.
                  In the case of Abbott, it is actually elements of the man himself, and the part of the party he represents that prevent me ever voting for “his party”.
                  In fact it was much the same feeling with Gillard, she represented the part of Labor that I didn’t approve of.
                  The reality is I voted Green at the last election for 2 reasons.
                  Primarily because I agree with many of their policies (Environmental extremism not withstanding), but secondarily because I knew that they would never get in on their own. They would always have to form a minority government with the Labor party to govern to any degree.

                  “It shows the progress of the “presedentialisation” of Australian politics, where voting decisions are made based on leaders, rather than party policy, and at a more local level, the capacity of a candidate as local member to represent the interests of their community as a Member or Senator.”

                  I disagree. I believe this aspect is actually coming about due to our 2 party preference system.
                  The individual members get lost in the Party positions. And the leader is seen as the party.

                  If there were a way to enforce allowing people to cross the floor without repercussions, then that is what I would like to see. In fact it would be interesting to have anonymous voting in parliament :-)

                  • Posted 28/06/2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink |

                    It seems we share a lot in common, politically.

                  • Tinman_au
                    Posted 28/06/2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink |

                    “If there were a way to enforce allowing people to cross the floor without repercussions, then that is what I would like to see. In fact it would be interesting to have anonymous voting in parliament :-)”


            • Woolfe
              Posted 27/06/2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink |

              Oh and if you think the choice of Leader doesn’t influence the Westminster system, then you are being just as insincere as the journo’s and pollies.

              The reality is the majority of people vote for the party. That party is exemplified by its leadership. Of course there are exceptions, there are always exceptions. Its why we get things like when Howard lost his seat Etc.

              Meh, I think our system is somewhat broken. But then most of them are in some way.

      • Michael
        Posted 26/06/2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink |

        “Then add in the surveillence, 1984 approaches rapidly”

        Good point, but interesting that you do not attribute it to the only government who has tried to implement a control over what we can see on the internet, what can be published in newspapers, and what we can say to other people for fear of offending them.

        • Abel Adamski
          Posted 26/06/2013 at 10:48 pm | Permalink |

          The oppostion did not oppose in that regard

      • Kevin Davies
        Posted 26/06/2013 at 10:31 pm | Permalink |

        Actually Abel.. for the first time in recorded history… I agree with you. The media created this tension from the ground up and some newspapers should be taken to task for de-stabilising a government just so they can make a story out of nothing. Again this would not have happened if it wasn’t a directed effort. Nothing lasts that long unless there is something driving it forward and that would have to be a direction from the top. Government’s take note, curb the powers of your press to spread lies and deceit or you will suffer the same fate…. (cue Darth Vader Star Wars sound bite) Honesty in publishing needs to be enshrined in law.

        • Abel Adamski
          Posted 26/06/2013 at 10:55 pm | Permalink |

          “Government’s take note, curb the powers of your press to spread lies and deceit or you will suffer the same fate…. (cue Darth Vader Star Wars sound bite) Honesty in publishing needs to be enshrined in law.”

          Michael take note
          Fully agree Kevin, unfortunately deals over the years allowed too much power to a certain media organisation, Labor tried to implement laws to that effect, of course the worst offenders kicked up the biggest fuss claiming innocence and freedom of the press.
          The very press that insists that with freedom comes responsibility for everyone else apart from themselves

      • Fibroid
        Posted 27/06/2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink |

        @Abel Adamski

        ‘Rupert has won , game set match
        Rudd is only there because of the relentless campaign by the media, especially the Australian.
        Quid Quo Pro’

        The old Murdoch conspiracy theory gets a airing once again I see from you, which doesn’t really explain why the Fairfax Press stated that Gillard should resign last weekend, nor does it explain Gillards and Labors consistent poor polling across all media and independent polling outlets for the last three years.

        Keep that tin foil hat firmly in place Abel.

        • Alex
          Posted 27/06/2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink |

          Abel is entitled to his opinion and to state it, whether you or I agree or not…

          What I find more interesting is that you will attack him for his views, which I think says a lot more about you than him.

          Perhaps in the future when we are talking about the NBN, you can swap… Abel’s tin foil hat (to keep you safe from that nasty sky is falling FttP) for your FttN (and all associated players) rose coloured glasses.

      • clownface
        Posted 27/06/2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink |

        Imagine being a liberal voter in a nursing home trying to con your kids into coming to see you by saying:”Remember, sonny, we voted for your copper internet so you could compete in the marketplace with the Chinese!” Like just so lol–>> Don’t forget the propaganda of us being the clever country btw lolololol!!

    2. Oh Yes!
      Posted 26/06/2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink |

      Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.

    3. Kevin Davies
      Posted 26/06/2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink |


      Didn’t see this coming. Well this is going to be interesting now…. will Rudd win? will the NBN survive the fallout? Will this site have a meltdown from an alien running the place waving an anal probe while Renai sits in the corner, eyes shut, blocking his ears repeated over and over “doesn’t bother me…… nom nom nom”.

      Oops sorry wrong article!


    4. Guest
      Posted 26/06/2013 at 10:46 pm | Permalink |

      labor believe rudd has a better chance of defeating abbot, which is what all nbn fans want. yet everyone is now bitching about Julia being beaten.
      there is seriously no pleasing you people.

      good on rudd. and good riddance to conroy and Gillard

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 26/06/2013 at 11:14 pm | Permalink |

        It may take some years for you to recognise the degree to which you have been indoctrinated and programmed over the years, you may even recognise the degree to which you have been misled and deceived and who by.

    5. xerophitus
      Posted 26/06/2013 at 10:52 pm | Permalink |

      Thank goodness Conroy has gone, He will be remembered as the Minister who had the opportunity to deliver the FTTH NBN to the Australian people, but blew it by not properly managing his portfolio or the contractors who were so well paid to deliver the fibre,

      Well done Stephen, and enjoy your taxpayer funded super while those who are paying for it miss out on fibre due to you incompetence.

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 26/06/2013 at 11:07 pm | Permalink |

        Actually he achieved much, ideally the NBN should have built up their own install organisation, but that would take a decade in itself. So do what even Telstra does, use major contractors and it is reasonable to trust them to deliver what they contracted to , some actually are.
        In fact much of the delays are due to Telstra, especially their failure to attend to the well known asbestos problem.
        Conroy is the Father of Australia’s Broadband infrastructure, regardless we end up with the LNP’s limited dogsbreakfast which will realistically never really be upgraded in any but small isolated areas. That would not have happened without him, warts and all, we have much to thank him for, his guts determination and tenacity
        Thank You Stephen

        • Deep Thinker
          Posted 27/06/2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink |

          In fact much of the delays are due to Telstra, especially their failure to attend to the well known asbestos problem.

          Oh, so there were delays by Telstra in building the core transit ring? And I didn’t know Silcar was a subsidiary of Telstra?

          Conroy is the Father of Australia’s Broadband infrastructure

          LAUGH MY A– OFF

          Abel, you post some of the downright most ridiculous things…. and you wonder why your comments get rejected on MSM websites and Malcolm’s blog!!!

          • Rohan
            Posted 27/06/2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink |

            @DeepThinker Like most Coalition types, Turnbull can’t cope with anything that shows the Turnbull Bullshit Network (TBN) as inferior, especially when he’s presented with facts that are impossible to refute.

            Turnbull would win over more people if he engaged in sensible debate, but he insists on name calling and insults.

            He started this, and the IT industry in Australia rose to the challenge. Turnbull is incapable of holding a technical debate, so resorts to dirty pool and tea party style politics.

            What little respect that was held for Turnbull is gone.

          • Alex
            Posted 27/06/2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink |

            Conversely Deep Thinker, one can clearly see why your sycophantic comments are never rejected.

          • Tinman_au
            Posted 28/06/2013 at 9:42 pm | Permalink |

            Oh, so there were delays by Telstra in building the core transit ring? And I didn’t know Silcar was a subsidiary of Telstra?

            The delays Abel means were the initial negotiations with Telstra (dragged out over 18 months) and the current hold up (ongoing) in remediation due to Telstras poorly trained staff/contractors doing the work.

            you may think deep, but you have a short memory…

      • clownface
        Posted 27/06/2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink |

        wow: now you have to put up some evidence don’t you?

    6. Glenn
      Posted 27/06/2013 at 12:18 am | Permalink |

      Labor is dead now, root and branch.

      Rudd might win the election for Labor, but either way, the price is the soul of the party.

      Rudd and his team undermined their own party, engineering the dire situation Labor found itself in, then in this last gasp effort for the most cowardly in the party to hold onto their jobs, they betray the principles of the party and reward the traitorous orchestrator of their problems.

      Rudd is popular with people who know stuff all about politics, he is good at hand waving and sound bytes, but that wont last, in a month or two the followers who jumped on his bandwagon will of found something else shiny to follow, many of the true believers will be alienated and only half-heartedly involve themselves in the campaign, and Labor will be in a worse situation than its in now.

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 27/06/2013 at 1:49 am | Permalink |

        Actually, I now have a reason to vote Labor again.

        At the end of the day this (the leadership fight) was about Unions verses “grass roots” control of Labor, and grass roots won (I say that as a proud NTEU member).

        Unions should stick to workers, conditions and influencing the parties, and not trying to directly run the country.

        • mark
          Posted 27/06/2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink |

          Your obviously young and don’t understand anything but your internet speed. You want the NBN. So do I, but i’m not prepared to stuff the entire county to get it. There is a lot more to a country than FTTH.

          • Lionel
            Posted 27/06/2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink |

            I’d normally vote Liberal, but you don’t think Abbott is the bigger danger to this country? Really?

          • Tinman_au
            Posted 27/06/2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink |

            wow, wrong on three of four counts, you’re not doing too well there Mark!

      • jasmcd
        Posted 27/06/2013 at 8:37 am | Permalink |

        Its actually kind of poetic, almost Shakespearean. Betrayed himself he comes back from outside to reclaim his role as captain of the ship steers out of the blue squall…. just in time to smash into the looming cliff face.

        The problem is that a dialogue has been created where Labor can do no right. Regardless of the decisions made, they are criticised for the option they take. If Julia had won, it would of been heralded that they blew their last chance of winning the election. If the contest never took place, it would have been shouted that Labour don’t listen to the people.

        This is without doubt the culmination of the media whipping up a storm in a teacup into an actual cylcone and the Liberals sitting back and barely having to work to have the election handed to them on a silver platter. Minus the spoon of course.

        • SMEMatt
          Posted 27/06/2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink |

          There was a solution but neither won’t to take it.
          Both Rudd and Gillard should have announced retirement and the labor party should find someone else to lead the labor party until the next election.
          That way you lose the baggage of both Rudd and Gillard.

      • Deep Thinker
        Posted 27/06/2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink |

        Apparently the logic is Julia Guillard is more popular amongst Labor voters, but they reinstalled Kevin Rudd because he is more popular as Labor leader amongst Liberal voters who would never vote ALP.

        So, um, yeah……

      • SimonB15
        Posted 27/06/2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink |

        It’s for this reason I think the election will be brought forward; try and get the bandwagon voters before people remember how unpopular Rudd was before he was ousted.

      • clownface
        Posted 27/06/2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink |

        Someone has a vested interest in keeping copper…lol

    7. Graeme
      Posted 27/06/2013 at 12:51 am | Permalink |

      Digital TV preceded Senator Conroy by more than 5 years.

      • clownface
        Posted 27/06/2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink |

        ‘UPLOAD SPEED’ never passed Malcolm Turnbulls lips until the Murdoch press caved in and made him fess up to the ugly truth! “Wow- is that sonny bill?!!?” lolololololol- i wish i was a liberal voter so I could impress my grandkids with stories of how I voted for inferior infrastructure whilst trying to instill the value of accounting for the depreciation of assets…

    8. Sathias
      Posted 27/06/2013 at 1:12 am | Permalink |

      There goes the best damn Communications Minister we ever had.

      Not that this is saying much.

    9. Tinman_au
      Posted 27/06/2013 at 1:42 am | Permalink |

      Stephen Conroy made some great advances in Australian telecommunications, but at the end of the day, he’d started to overreach. Its a shame that some politicians always feel the need to keep on reforming beyond what most Australians are comfortable with. Stephen had gotten to that point I think.

      Congratulations to Kevin and Anthony, hopefully the new Coms minister just sticks to consolidating the gains already made and doesn’t try to keep streaching things to justify their position…

    10. John
      Posted 27/06/2013 at 5:39 am | Permalink |

      Conroy was the worst and the most incompetent communication minister of all times! It is great he has finally gone.

      • Non Puto
        Posted 27/06/2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink |

        “Conroy was the worst and the most incompetent communication minister of all times! It is great he has finally gone.”

        Helen Coonan would disagree with you on that statement; this is the role that she wants to have as it’s the highest accolade she will ever get.

        • Sathias
          Posted 27/06/2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink |

          Don’t forget Ruddock. He was simply DIRE.

          A comms minister who dismissed the internet as just being for games and porn. Unbelievable.

          • Tinman_au
            Posted 28/06/2013 at 9:47 pm | Permalink |

            And who can forget Richard Alston…

            God, it’s amazing we even ended up with the internet in Australia considering the Comms ministers we’ve had :/

    11. Jason
      Posted 27/06/2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink |

      Now that he’s gone, maybe there’s some hope of reversing the dumb NBN investment in geo-stationary satellite (with its painful latency/ping times)

      Much better would be http://phys.org/news/2013-06-satellites-fast-cheap-internet-under-connected.html

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 28/06/2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink |

        The problem with MEO is you’d need a constellation of satellites (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_constellation) as they actually orbit the earth. This means you’d actually have to build a lot more than we’d need to cover Australia consistently, and while they are over other countries they’d be useless to us.

        You would also need more expensive antennas as they’d need to be either wide beam, or tracking (to follow the orbit of the moving satellite). http://www.suparco.gov.pk/pages/orbit-type.asp

    12. Woolfe
      Posted 27/06/2013 at 8:37 am | Permalink |

      Wonder how long till Abbot is ousted?

      Who would YOU prefer, the slightly dorky bookish guy who has actually been in the position, set up the process that brought us through the GFC pretty well placed(despite comments to the contrary), pushed for a real NBN, and who in diplomatic cables was shown to actually stand up to the yanks.

      Or the guy in the red speedos who everyone thinks is a bit of a misogynist, who didn’t do a particularly good job in the health portfolio under a previous government, “isn’t a techhead”, and basically acts like a muppet.

      Any bets on how long before Turnbull comes in?

      • Jeremy
        Posted 27/06/2013 at 8:52 am | Permalink |

        Have you been watching the opinion polls for the last couple of years? Regardless of your personal opinion of the man, the Liberal party would be mad to replace Abbott. He’s certainly performed a whole lot better than Turnbull ever did as leader.

        • Woolfe
          Posted 27/06/2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink |


          Abbott at his best was barely beating Julia, and she nearly lost it for Labor at the last election (technically she did lose it).

          Rudd on the other hand was always popular with the people. I’m not saying Abbott can’t win, I am saying someone else(Turnbull) would be a virtual sure thing.

        • Frankie
          Posted 27/06/2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink |

          Have you been watching the polls yourself? Abbott’s popularity is woeful. He is almost universally despised.
          The polls have been very clear – the Coalition were headed to victory despite Abbott and not because of him. The public loathed and reviled him almost as much as they did Gillard.

          • Sean
            Posted 27/06/2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink |

            Abbott is the worst possible choice leading into this election. People will say you need to look beyond the man and at the parties policies but for the majority of the Australian public who are mostly ignorant of politics they will not look beyond the man. Regardless of what the media says or the political experts Rudd has grassroots support among the common man. What other politician in recent memory gets mobbed for autographs wherever he goes.

            Even Shorten realised this hence what happened last night.

          • Jeremy
            Posted 27/06/2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink |

            Look you guys, Labor’s primary vote has been hovering around 30% for quite a while now. What part of that do you think the Liberals want to change? Abbott’s personal popularity means SFA in a country without presidential elections.

            No matter which way you slice it the Liberals have been far more successful than anyone expected since Abbott took the leadership. They went from electoral no-mans-land to neck-and-neck in Labor’s first term, and continued to improve considerably from there. I can’t imagine how anyone in the Liberal party could be less than thrilled by that, especially when every political commentator in 2007 was predicting a decade in the wilderness.

            But somehow you lot look at all that and think he needs to be replaced? It’s a strange point of view to say the least.

            • Woolfe
              Posted 27/06/2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink |

              Well in all fairness I thought he needed to be replaced from day 1. And before any suggestion that I am a labor supporter, I did vote for Howard back in the day, and lately have been voting Green. I usually vote based on Policy more than anything.

              Generally I am a swing voter.

              As has already been stated, despite the Westminster system, the party and the leader of the party do have major influences in the choice of the voters. (Just look at QLD and Campbell Newman)

              Thus if Rudd proves again to be popular with voters, then it WILL have an influence on the numbers. Will the influence be enough? We’ll see, but you’ll note most of the defecters in the last election didn’t go to the Libs/Nats they went minor and independant. Why do you think that was. In my case it was because the thought of Abbott as Liberal leader and PM was simply terribly. He represents all that is wrong with the Liberal party imo. But of course that IS just my opinion, and others will have different opinions. But don’t say the leader doesn’t influence it, because it is simply not true.

            • Alex
              Posted 29/06/2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink |

              I tend to agree Jeremy.

              I always thought Tony was brought in by the Libs as a sacrificial lamb (to protect the guys they thought were the actual leaders, like Mal or Joe). Remember when Tony was elected opposition leader, Rudd was (iirc) the most popular PM ever (or up there anyway)…so the Libs didn’t want to go to the next election with Mal or Joe as leader, have them beaten to a pulp by a rampaging Rudd and thus probably lose through resignation following electoral defeat, a possible future PM.

              So in came Tony… and like or loathe him TA has IMO, done remarkably well, to, as you say, drag the Coalition out of the wilderness (unfortunately however, it took absolute negativity and fear mongering to do so).

              TA has been a very cunning opposition leader. But can he revert from complete negativity of opposition to complete positivity needed to govern/become PM? Looking at the leaders popularity, it would appear that most Aussies are concerned about this too, even staunch Lib voters (and maybe Lib pollies)…

              Thing is as happens on both sides of politics (although it does seem a little more distasteful when in government and the leaders are PM’s) when Rudd’s popularity started to wane he was deposed and now when it’s clear that he was again needed, they reinstated him…

              Was it the right thing to do politically…? Well just this morning I heard on the radio (no you can’t believe everything you hear, but…) there’s a number of Labor ministers who looked certain to lose their seats, who now under Rudd, already appear safe according to the latest polls. Rudd also came out as way more popular than TA.

              If this trend continues, the pressure will then fall back on the Coalition to stick with TA or replace him (if it’s not too late)…

              But at the very worst, I guess they can always revert to plan A… sacrificial lamb.

        • Tinman_au
          Posted 27/06/2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink |

          Have you been watching the opinion polls for the last couple of years? Regardless of your personal opinion of the man, the Liberal party would be mad to replace Abbott. He’s certainly performed a whole lot better than Turnbull ever did as leader.

          if they do replace Abbott, it’ll be with Hockey, not Turnbull.

        • SMEMatt
          Posted 27/06/2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink |

          Wonder how many 18-25 year-olds those polls are reaching, on the weekend, on land line phones.

      • bern
        Posted 27/06/2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink |

        If the Coalition fail to win government, I give Abbott a week, tops.

        They won’t get rid of him before then, lest they show themselves to be as fractured as the Labor party.

        • Rohan
          Posted 27/06/2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink |

          @bern, If Abbott loses this election, then he’ll be John Hewson v2.0

    13. Sean
      Posted 27/06/2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink |

      Ed Husic would’ve a great choice for commas minister and the NBN. He has a deep understanding of broadband and championed the cause for Blacktown to get access to the NBN early and also pushed Telstra to fix the bandwidth congestion in Woodcroft. Having met him in person he is an honourable person.

    14. Jason
      Posted 27/06/2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink |

      I see it as a cop out actually, a way out for Conroy, regardless of his personal opinion on leaders he’s in a position of authority and should remain there doing his job as best as he can. I am sure Rudd would have preferred things to remain on track for the NBN and for the time being at least he would remain in the position.

      As for the election, Rudd was unpopular due to the mining tax, all I have to say about that is I haven’t seen another PM stick to his guns regardless of the relentless media campaign against him funded by non other than mining companies. Julia caved in on the issue and instead we all copped increases in taxes as they need to obtain the money from somewhere.

      I also believe Turnbull is a better leader than Abbott, and if he didn’t have to tow the liberal line I think he’s thoughts on the NBN would be a little different, more aligned with labors vision.

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 27/06/2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink |

        Julia caved in on the issue and instead we all copped increases in taxes as they need to obtain the money from somewhere.

        Actually, they cut tax when the first got in, and just recently raised the tax free threshold, so were paying less tax now than when JH was PM…

    15. Brendan
      Posted 27/06/2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink |

      Honestly, Conroy did a better job than most all of his predecessors.

      Look, I’m the first to line the guy up against the wall, when the revolution comes, with respect to the tireless effort to crank out filter options — but — he has been cracking the whip over the NBN.

      It wouldn’t even be an election issue (one of significant enough importance that the LNP actually had to toss up policy, for once) without that frustratingly dogged determination.

      That tenacity, though at times misdirected (watching Mark Newton and Conroy spar has to be a bit of a highlight) I think came from a desire to “do something”.

      A very very rare trait in politicians, of today. I may not like the chap overly, but I respect the actions and the way in which he has carried out his portfolio.

      As for Rudd rolling Gillard, that is very much a case of revenge. Kevin will do anything for the top job. Including destabilizing the party to get it. I’m sure there will be a cost for the power struggle. Always is.

      It’s that bastard approach that, sadly, is the only thing that will topple Abbott. Gillard did a lot to ensure the policies survived. She may not have been liked overly, but she has (frankly) more balls than most of the parliament put together.

      I have hope Rudd will place Husic or someone else with some actual vision in the role.

      • Kevin Davies
        Posted 27/06/2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink |

        It is quite amazing how many people hate Conroy for the filter. If he did not mention a filter pretty much most people would be singing his praises. What astounds me is the people who think he did a bad job with the NBN. Excuse me?!?!? Do you have a clue how hard it is to run a project of that magnitude with an opposition government, actively supported by major newspapers, printing anything they can find to run you down.

        You should all take a step back, ignore MT as he has a clear agenda and will say anything and everything to trash Labour. The NBN project has been run pretty damn well if you remove external factors. You tell me you could plan for those external factors and I will call you out on it. This goes for you too Renai Lemay. You have bought into MT’s hyperbole as much as the rest of you fence sitters.

        The delays as you so blissfully blame Conroy for are completely out of his control. But you have all ignored that. The reality is you can’t. Long contract negotiations, local council stoushes, absestos, planning law issues all of them are things you will face whoever deploys such a network. Calling Conroy incompetent for the delays is just complete bullshit. In a large project, this shit happens.

        But don’t denigrate Senator Conroy over his tireless efforts to get this network deployed within budget. He has done a great job. The NBN is now rolling out across the country and I think many people forget is he created it and launched it. Give the man some credit.

        • Brendan
          Posted 27/06/2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink |

          Yeah, mate I don’t know if you realised before going all glassy eyed and started foaming, but I was actually complimenting the chap.

          There’s a lot of misdirected hate, true. Some of it is earned (the man is pig-headed to the extreme) but most is however more from frustration at a process (filtering) that was taken out of public debate before it’d even started.

          Conroy’s legacy is the NBN. For all it’s flaws, it rights wrongs and ensures Australia has an actual future broadband solution. Turnbull’s may we be the destruction of it.

    16. Mike
      Posted 27/06/2013 at 11:42 am | Permalink |

      Sadly, when Conroy took on the role of communications minister the only measure he could be judged by was whether he turned up or not.

      Fortunately for us he did that and more. I might not have gotten the best impression of him early in the piece but he certainly earned my respect.

      At least now any incoming communication minister has a yard stick to measure up against.

      The Labor party is stronger with Conroy so one can only hope he stays on irrespective of what happens with the federal election.

    17. Harimau
      Posted 27/06/2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink |

      Kevin Rudd was popular for his policies as much as (if not more so than) his personality. It was only a campaign by the mining industry, that would have had to pay more tax, that led to his fall. While the Liberals will no doubt run a smear campaign and try to turn this into an election over personality, they’ve lost their greatest ally in this campaign – Julia Gillard herself. So this election will (finally) be about policy – and on that front, the Liberals will lose, hands down.

    18. graeme
      Posted 27/06/2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink |

      cant believe how many quit.i think there wrong for quitting letting there party down.weres the loyalty.

      • Frankie
        Posted 27/06/2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink |

        I agree. It would be nice to see people dedicated to serving Australia, and putting that as a priority. What we got instead is people dedicated to a faction, and commiting seppeku when their faction was temporarily defeated.
        They all seem so lost in the game of politics that they forget what politicians are actually meant to do.

    19. michael
      Posted 28/06/2013 at 5:36 am | Permalink |

      No big loss never liked him anyway

    20. Posted 06/07/2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink |

      Isn’t it good to see the ‘REAL’ side of Conroy and his fellow Gillard front benchers ??? To think these people were elected by their respective electorates and took on roles within government which ‘Supposedly’ require dedication, determination, honesty, knowledge and of course a willingness to follow the old phrase ‘ When the going gets tough, the tough get going’….. Well it seems Conroy did not really have a strong enough desire to fulfill his obligations and duties as Communications Minister, the moment Gillard got dumped Conroy showed he was only in the position for the extra cash and more events, functions and trips with his mates.

      So Conroy will enjoy his tax payer funded benefits for the rest of his life, while many of us continue to work the same job for the same company regardless of who is the supervisor and irrespective of whether we like the team we are forced to work with.

    21. wotever
      Posted 14/08/2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink |

      nothing of value lost , and that’s for every one of them that went when Gillard did

      • jasmcd
        Posted 14/08/2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink |

        Hi, I see you too enjoy leaving pointless remarks on ancient articles.

        Conroy…. Labor…. NBN good…. Filter Bad….. Get a real job…..

        There, two pointless comments on one day.

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