Fletcher to assist Turnbull with NBN

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news As expected, Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott has named Malcolm Turnbull as incoming Communications Minister in his new cabinet, additionally appointing Liberal MP and former Optus executive Paul Fletcher as a parliamentary secretary to assist the Member for Wentworth in dealing with the communications portfolio.

In a statement released this afternoon, Abbott said: “The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP as Minister for Communications will deliver a new business plan for the NBN so that we can deliver fast broadband sooner and at less cost. Mr Paul Fletcher MP will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications.”

Other notable appointments included the appointment of George Brandis as Attorney-General, and Mathias Cormann as Finance Minister. Both positions deal extensively with the technology sector; the Attorney-General having responsibility for overseeing the surveillance operations of law enforcement agencies and dealing with copyright issues, and the Finance Minister having oversight of the Government’s centralised IT decision-making public servants, as well as fulfilling a role as the second shareholder minister to NBN Co. Michael Ronaldson will also have some oversight over the split operations of the Australian Government Information Management Office, as Special Minister of State.

Abbot has abolished a number of technology-related ministries created under the previous Rudd and Gillard Labor administrations. For example, no minister dealing with rural telecommunications will be appointed, although Luke Hartsuyker had held the role as Shadow Minister when Abbott was Opposition Leader. Senator Kate Lundy’s role of Minister Assisting for the Digital Economy has been axed, and the innovation portfolio moved under the remit of Industry, led by Ian Macfarlane.

“The simplification of ministerial and departmental titles reflects my determination to run a “back to basics” government,” said Abbott. “The Australian people expect a government that is upfront, speaks plainly and does the essentials well. The Cabinet will be assisted by a strong team of ministers with proven capacity to implement the Government’s policies. Parliamentary secretaries will assist senior ministers and be under their direction.”

“This is an experienced and talented team. It will deliver results for the Australian people from day one.” The new Abbott ministry is expected to be sworn in on Wednesday.

opinion/analysis
Everything pretty much as expected, although the appointment of Fletcher to the Parliamentary Secretary role will be controversial, given the Member for Bradfield’s gaffe regarding the Coalition’s Internet filter policy during the campaign.

Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull

15 COMMENTS

  1. Oh, crap…

    Still, looking on the bright side, Paul might forget they are doing FTTN and put FTTP on all the documents…

  2. Back to basics?

    So we really are going back to the 1980s (or earlier), then, when boys were boys, men were men, and this pesky internet thing was only something used by geeky uni students to share Star Trek jokes…

    • That “back to basics”line make me want to puke. He’s abolished some of the most important portfolios we had in his quest to minimise government. There’s not even a minister for science (but of course there’s one for sport!) That truly is just a ‘basic government’.

    • well, at least we won’t need to complain about someone like Kate Lundy being under utilised in tech areas… there is only one tech area now, and there are no women in the coalition who know how to access the internet… actually there are no women in the coalition who know what the internet is, just ask Tony, who is no Bill Gates…

  3. “For example, no minister dealing with rural telecommunications will be appointed”

    Since when has anything in rural areas been of the slightest interest to the coalition.

    The National Party exists as a cynical sop to country folk who can pat themselves on the back for voting conservative regardless of the fact that the N in LNP hasn’t stood up for a single rural issue in decades now. If they had, their wouldn’t have been that pool of ex-National Party independents there after the last election to support Labor.

    • Since when has anything in rural areas been of the slightest interest to the coalition.

      True that. Some of the biggest gains by the Greens in recent years has been in the bush, and I guess it makes some sense when you see farmers and environmentalists getting together to stop CSG.

  4. That pic is annoying… throw a tie on ’em and regress ’em a few years and you would have the classic assistant head prefect (bit of a bully and headmasters yes man) and the assistant senior (not good enough for prefect but expert at toadying up to the asst. head prefect and dobbing in smaller boys)… annoying but actually rather apt, actually…

  5. Isn’t this the same Paul Fletcher who is ex-optus, wrote “Wired Brown Land”, hates the way Telstra has been setup (private monopoly provider) and also worked under Richard Alston. Talk about mixed messages.

  6. I’m waiting for Abbott to announce that the budgetary position is far worse than expected, blah blah blah, so that he can just cut things like the NBN and blame it on Labor’s economic waste and other bullshit.

  7. In some ways it’d be better they did scrap it, as long as they left everything in tact that’s already established. Then in a few years or so when Labor gets back in the true NBN can be continued. Lets face it if they get their grubby hands on it they’ll botch it so bad it’ll probably end up in the scrap heap.

  8. Mr Turnbull, as telco execs Ziggy Switkowski and Paul Fletcher receive a taxpayer leg-up from you, we can kiss goodbye to any hope of maintaining the restoration of customer-focussed comms infrastructure.

    We return to boardroom-focussed rewards, which was of course your primary focus since investing in Ozemail.

    Meanwhile, we learn that the seats of Indi, much of western Sydney and Queensland, which were in the bag for the Liberals, failed to materialise, along with a Senate majority, and that broadband policy was a key factor. That is democracy, Mr Turnbull.

    Now to economics. Having adopted a self-funding model (after protesting it for three years), you have proposed low-revenue copper instead of high-revenue fibre. Even before considering the opportunity cost of not providing high two-way bandwidth fibre to regional towns now, your FTTN project cannot pay for itself. Adding the cost of copper acquisition and remediation, it will be an albatross around Treasury’s neck, as will the overbuild with fibre in a few years. FTTN cannot self-fund. But at $38 ARPU, FTTP is already self-funding faster than forecast.

    How do you wish to go down in history, Mr Turnbull?

    • Meanwhile, we learn that the seats of Indi, much of western Sydney and Queensland, which were in the bag for the Liberals, failed to materialise, along with a Senate majority, and that broadband policy was a key factor. That is democracy, Mr Turnbull.

      Indeed. I think if they had been bi-partisan on the FTTP NBN, they may have even had the landslide that they were hoping for…

  9. ‘Fletcher to assist Turnbull with NBN’

    You show a nice sense of double irony with that headline, Renai.

    Bugger it!!

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