Conroy and Husic fight over NBN rollout


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 ;)

Image credit: Kim Davies, Creative Commons, Office of Ed Husic


  1. Heaven forbid I defend Conroy – (and I’m not REALLY defending him) – but Husic doesn’t really understand here.

    It gets down to the 121 Points of Interconnect, the exact location of which 111 have been chosen – (via NBN Co forum yesterday) – and how those locations relate to the definitive agreement between Telstra and NBN Co.

    One of the clauses in the deal relates to remediation works that Telstra must perform in those 111 exchanges that have been selected to house the POIs, to bring them up to the spec required by NBN Co.

    Steve Christian was quite specific about the status of these 111 locations, and that they can only start in ones that are either already suitable, or Telstra have brought up to scratch – I forget the exact number have gave for “ready”, but it’s not 111…

    Some locations just are not ready – and early on at least, this will dictate “where to build next”…

  2. Can’t help noticing the breathless tone of the Daily Telegraph “EXCLUSIVE”. For exclusive, read beat-up.

    Sure, Conroy and Husic undoubtedly had a lively conversation, with, yes, “an expletive-laden exchange”. Well I never! Expletives, in the ALP caucus room? Quick, while I find a sailor who can blush!

  3. Conroy would probably have an argument without under standing the reasons of why. All it takes is someone to disagree with him on anything and instantly they are child molestation ogres, anarchist and terrorist. I would want to know if it was an intelligent argument first. But, then again, it is Politicians talking and that would rule out intelligence.

  4. Ah yes, but Husic is a child of the NSW right, and if there is anything a Victorian right wing headkicker despises more than a left faction member (or a child pornography loving, anti filterist scumbag) it is a NSW right member…

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