blog Oh dear. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and fellow Labor parliamentarian Ed Husic appear to have gotten into what the Daily Telegraph is describing as “an expletive-laden” “behind the scenes slanging match” in the Labor party room over NBN Co’s rollout schedule.
You might remember that Husic came out swinging at the project several weeks ago, arguing NBN Co was unfairly ignoring broadband-starved areas in his Sydney electorate of Chifley. The Telegraph reports today:
“The dispute boiled over last week during a caucus meeting in which Mr Conroy and MP Ed Husic were reported to have moved to the side of the room and engaged in an expletive-laden exchange overheard by several colleagues.”
Apparently Conroy told Husic that those criticising the NBN were also criticising him personally … not exactly the ideal situation for a Labor MP to find himself in.
Now, when Husic issued his statement criticising the NBN a few weeks back, we wrote it was an unusual step, but politically savvy in many ways. However, judging from today’s report, it looks like we were wrong about Husic’s political motivations. It appears now that he was just strongly advocating for his constituents — a worthy approach for any MP. Either way, one thing is now clear: Conroy wasn’t a huge fan.
One thing needs to be made clear, however. In this case, Conroy is also absolutely objectively correct to passionately defend NBN Co, in our view. The company needs to be able to independently decide where to deploy its infrastructure first, without political interference. Husic’s support for his constituents is admirable and he’s right to advocate on behalf of their needs. But Conroy is also right to defend NBN Co’s independence.
So what do two rights make? A heated Labor caucus room, apparently ;)