Malcolm Turnbull was Australia’s worst ever Communications Minister


opinion He might be charismatic, he might be popular, and pretty shortly he might be Prime Minister. But when it comes to technology policy, Malcolm Turnbull has been a disaster. The Member for Wentworth will be remembered as Australia’s worst ever Communications Minister — the man who singlehandedly demolished the NBN and put a polite face on draconian Data Retention and Internet piracy laws.

Right now, dozens upon dozens of political commentators are feverishly reflecting upon Malcolm Turnbull’s audacious bid to end Tony Abbott’s political career and seize the Prime Ministership which he has desperately coveted for many years.

Those commentators are reflecting upon the Member for Wentworth’s rationale for seeking to oust the existing Liberal leader. They are reflecting upon Turnbull’s chances for victory in the Liberal party room (right now, things are looking good). They are reflecting upon what a future Turnbull administration would look like. And they are even reflecting on the changed outlook for this week’s by-election in Canning.

But none of them are reflecting on Turnbull’s actual recent history as a Minister; his past two years leading the Communications portfolio in Cabinet.

So that’s what I will do in this article.

I am uniquely qualified to do so. I was present at Turnbull’s very first press conference after Abbott appointed him as the new Shadow Communications Minister five years ago in 2010. And today, I was in Parliament House in Canberra as Turnbull announced his challenge. I have borne witness to every step Turnbull has made along the way in the portfolio over the past five years.

So let me be the first to say it. And I will say it loud and very clear: Malcolm Turnbull has been an absolutely terrible Communications Minister.

The Communications portfolio is notorious in Australia’s technology sector for the Ministers who have held it over the years.

Howard-era Minister, Senator Richard Alston earned himself the dubious honour of being branded the world’s biggest Luddite for his lack of understanding of technology policy while steering national telecommunications policy. Alston famously described rolling out broadband across Australia as a “costly waste of time”.

Alston’s immediate successor Daryl Williams was barely in the role long enough to make an impact, while Senator Helen Coonan didn’t make many obvious gaffes but did appear to underestimate the demand of the electorate for high-speed broadband, leaving a gap which Labor ruthlessly exploited with its visionary National Broadband Network policy.

Labor’s longest-serving Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, earned his own notoriety for recklessly championing excessive Internet censorship, but ultimately redeemed himself through his relentless pursuit of national broadband nirvana, with some in Australia’s technology sector now viewing the bulldog Senator as Australia’s greatest ever Communications Minister.

Had Turnbull been a mild to moderate bungler like some of his Liberal predecessors, or a reformer such as Conroy, Australia’s technology sector would probably have retained a favourable impression of the man who is likely to be Australia’s next Prime Minister, due to his inherent charisma and progressive views on issues such as gay marriage and climate change.

However, the Member for Wentworth turned out to be that most dreaded of policy animals: A fervent pursuer of misguided ideas. As a Minister, Turnbull has consistently and energetically pursued appalling technology policy — the kind that will keep Australia in the digital dark ages for decades to come.

Foremost amongst Turnbull’s sins has been the shocking tragedy that has been his stewardship of the National Broadband Network project.

It’s true that Labor’s near-universal fibre vision for the NBN came with a fistfall of flaws. It tied Australia’s largest ever infrastructure project to a brand new, untested startup, it abandoned any pretence of bipartisan policy development on a long-term project that would span multiple Governments, and it chronically underestimated the complexity and effort required in actually rolling out optic fibre cables to almost every house and office in Australia.

However, the strength of the policy was always that it would have laid the foundation for the next century of world-class telecommunications infrastructure in this country, fuelling the development of a massive digital economy and better health, education, business and social outcomes. Along the way, it would also have completely broken Telstra’s stranglehold on market competition.

Turnbull’s appalling Multi-Technology Mix approach to the NBN will, in sharp contrast, set Australia significantly back.

The policy will result in massive cash windfalls to the likes of Telstra and Optus, allowing Australia’s two major telcos to offload their outdated copper and HFC cable infrastructure at a premium cost to the taxpayer. Meanwhile, that same taxpayer will face a legacy of decades of technical failures stemming from Turnbull’s insistence that copper cables and 25Mbps speeds are good enough for Australia’s broadband needs.

Right from the start — and I was there (in fact, he faced questions on this issue in his very first media event as Shadow Minister) — Turnbull has stubbornly refused to acknowledge the obvious strengths of fibre broadband infrastructure, insisting that the alternate copper and HFC cable platforms still have life in them.

The reality is that they do — but only for the next few years. By 2020, when Turnbull’s MTM vision is scheduled to be completed, Australians will already be clamouring to upgrade these platforms, and competing countries will be many years ahead of us.

Labor’s vision would have seen Australia’s telecommunications needs provided for for the next century. Turnbull’s version will barely last ten years until 2025. In point of fact, there are actually plenty of people openly stating it is not even sufficient for the needs of today.

Several of Turnbull’s other failures have seen the Communications Minister put a charismatic face on equally bad policy.

When George Brandis appeared to be terminally fumbling the catch in legislating the draconian Data Retention policy which the Attorney-General’s Department has long promoted to a revolving door of Labor and Liberal Attorneys-General, it was Turnbull that Prime Minister Abbott turned to as the new face of the policy.

Turnbull declared in Opposition that he had “grave misgivings” about Data Retention — stating baldly that he believed the policy “seems to be heading in precisely the wrong direction”. This statement is consistently with Turnbull’s long-professed classical Liberal views that the Government should largely avoid interfering in the lives of ordinary Australians.

However, in Government the Member for Wentworth became a vocal supporter of Data Retention.

The Coalition — and Labor — faced a protracted campaign to defeat the legislation, with the left-wing Greens teaming up with ideological opposites from the Liberal Democrats and even the Institute of Public Affairs to oppose it. Virtually every major telco in Australia; scores of civil society organisations; even former law enforcement officials — criticism of the policy came from every possible side. There is absolutely no doubt that the Data Retention legislation is terrible policy which will result in huge invasions of all Australians’ privacy. As a country, we are largely against it.

And yet Turnbull directly supported the legislation’s passage through Parliament.

The same can be said for Turnbull’s support of the controversial Internet piracy legislation which passed just several months ago. In Opposition, the Member for Wentworth plainly stated his view that the Internet piracy issue could best be resolved by the private sector making all of its content available globally through convenient platforms at the same time.

At the time, Turnbull stated that the Internet had basically made territorial limitations on copyright “unworkable”.

Fast forward three years and the Liberal MP had reinvented himself as a champion for the content industry, once again teaming up with Attorney-General George Brandis to shepherd draconian laws through the Parliament. This time the legislation would see content owners able to use the courts to block websites containing pirated content. Yet again, to no avail, a broad coalition of concerned groups arose to oppose the legislation, pointing out that it would give content owners too broad powers and would ultimately be ineffective.

This new censorship power, by the way, dovetails nicely with the Section 313 power which Federal Government agencies started using under Labor’s watch to unilaterally block websites. You may recall the infamous occasion when the Australian Securities and Investments Commission used the power to accidentally take scores of innocent websites offline.

As Minister, Turnbull announced a short-lived Parliamentary inquiry into the use of the censorship power and then quietly shelved the issue when the relevant Liberal-dominated House of Representatives committee came back with a series of limp recommendations for overseeing it. The net result is that Australian Government departments and agencies are currently able to censor whatever website they like … but nobody knows which websites or how many. That’s all kept under wraps on Turnbull’s watch.

Yeap, that’s right — in Opposition, Turnbull was starkly against Internet filtering and for freedom of speech. Not so much, any more — apparently.

Are you detecting a trend?

There are other problems with Turnbull’s tenure as Communications Minister. The substantial cuts the Government has made to the ABC and SBS, directly against its promises before the 2013 Election. Turnbull’s attempt to increase the amount of advertising on SBS. The relatively innocuous but largely ineffective legislation to deliver cyber-safety online.

The least you could say about many of these policies is that they will be ineffective. The worst you could say is that they will severely retard the development of Australia’s telecommunications sector and the nation’s digital economy.

There is a great deal of uncertainty out there in Australia’s technology sector about Turnbull.

Some believe the Duke of Double Bay is actually a smart and tech-savvy leader who has had his policy agenda nobbled by Abbott’s conservative Government. Others believe he has been pushed around by vested interests such as Telstra and film and TV studios. There is also a vocal contingent that believes he is misguided or merely unintelligent — that he does not understand the problems with the policies he has promoted.

But my personal view — after being closely exposed to Turnbull’s daily moves for a period of five years — is very close to that of former Prime Minister Paul Keating.

Keating told Kevin Rudd when Turnbull first took leadership of the Liberal Party that Turnbull was brilliant and utterly fearless. And of course, as should be obvious at this point, it is common knowledge that Turnbull is charismatic and extremely ambitious.

But Keating’s ultimate view on Turnbull is that he has poor judgement — in short, that he is not wise.

Looking back over Turnbull’s two years as Communications Minister, it’s easy to confirm this statement as accurate.

The Member for Wentworth has had his good moments. The TV legislation which passed the Parliament last week was a solid piece of policy which will finally allow Australians to view free to air broadcast in high definition. It may have come years later than it should have, but Turnbull can take credit for it. And the Digital Transformation Office which Turnbull has set up over the past year is already looking like it will be a lasting and extremely positive institution.

But in general, across so many areas, as Communications Minister Turnbull has demonstrated poor judgement.

In its worst forms, this judgement has been catastrophic for Australia. Turnbull’s extreme politicisation of the NBN project, leading to the absurd Multi-Technology Mix, will leave Australia in a terrible situation with respect to our future broadband needs, and entrenches the major telcos in unassailable positions in the market. Data Retention has destroyed our privacy and several forms of Internet censorship are now a reality. All on Turnbull’s watch.

But even in the Member for Wentworth’s more moderate policy moments, his initiatives have hardly been striking successes — and they have certainly not demonstrated wisdom.

Little of these issues will be considered by Australia’s political commentariat when it comes to weighing Turnbull’s value as a Prime Minister. It’s all too geeky, too niche, and too esoteric for many to consider. Turnbull as Communications Minister will be all too rapidly forgotten as Turnbull as Prime Minister — or, unlikely as it appears right now — political retiree — takes its place.

But Australia’s technology sector has lived through five years of Malcolm Turnbull. And those years will never be forgotten.

Five years of Turnbull attacking respected figures such as founding NBN chief executive Mike Quigley. Five years of Turnbull backflipping on his principles to implement draconian policies. And five years of what may be politely termed poor judgement.

Two years ago, I wrote that despite his flaws, Stephen Conroy had left a big enough legacy with the National Broadband Network project that he necessarily had to be judged Australia’s greatest ever Communications Minister — an extremely ambitious reformer and a force for overwhelmingly positive change.

Thus it is today that we must recognise Turnbull as the Yin to Conroy’s Yang. If Conroy was our greatest ever Communications Minister for his NBN vision, then Turnbull was Australia’s worst — not only for tragically tearing down that vision, step by bitter step, but for the series of additional policy debacles which has left a necklace of odious millstones around digital Australia’s neck.

Turnbull will be remembered as the Communications Minister who destroyed Australia’s privacy, censored our Internet, cut the ABC and SBS and demolished the visionary broadband infrastructure project which could have vaulted us into the next century.

It won’t be hard for the next Minister to do a better job. All they will have to do is halt the trail of destructively bad policy which Malcolm Turnbull has left in his wake. Let’s hope he takes the chance to rectify these issues if he gets the chance to serve as Prime Minister. Let us pray.

Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull


  1. when it comes to technology policy, Malcolm Turnbull has been a disaster.

    Malcolm Turnbull has been an absolutely terrible Communications Minister.

    Nailed it, great analysis Renai.

    • except for the “He might be charismatic, he might be popular” and hopefully he will never become “Prime Minister” because he will destroy it like he’s done to the NBN.

        • Now? Now he lumps the whole last 5 years worth of disaster on the previous “leadership” and tries to slip out of the impending disaster without a single sh*t stain on his $3000 suit

        • Hopefully he acts like a CEO, blames all the bad stuff on the former one and gets on with fixing things.

          • No, he won’t do that because he is utterly useless and is tied, lock, stock and barrel to the useless damned bastards running the so called UN Council – a pack of rorters that ought to be in gaol. Amen Indeed.

        • Who would have believed, 2 years ago when the labor party was self destructing, and Australia was on the road to ruin, that the liberals would be a single term government government.

          • Blind Freddy could see this coming, the hash tag #onetermtony appeared the day after the election and any observer with half a brain could see that Tony was a/ a one trick pony (crash or crash thru) and b/ that he and his gov were so far to the right of ordinary Australians that he was going to piss everyone off without even trying.

          • IMO Abbott basically did, or worsened, everything he criticised the last mob for – debt/deficit/bad economic management, lies, waste, etc and finally a good old PM knifing.

            I believe it’s known as karma.

          • Were we really on the road to ruin? Government debt was (and is) the lowest in the world, we were the only nation to not go into recession during the GFC. Australia has really high levels of immigration which Howard implemented and both sides of politics still agree on. The only group we weirdly don’t culturally allow are the 2% of immigration that come from Asylum Seekers (most come by plane), who according to all current ABS stats are the one type of immigrant that has the highest likely hood of starting local businesses and being job creators. They integrate better as they scarified more to be here and can’t go back.

            So the narrative that we are on the road to ruin does not hold up to any level of scrutiny.

  2. #LibLabLast

    So, now that he’s resigned, how do we go about starting the royal inquiry, or do we have to wait for Labor/preferably elseone to boot them out completely?

    • Good point, he should be hung, drawn and quartered for what he’s done to the NBN. I think his pension should be cancelled as part payment for the cost over runs, and time delays, and feature reductions of the NBN.

      lets see some ACCOUNTABILITY for politicians decisions!

      • I will vote for ANY party that has a policy of enacting accountability to politicians claims.

        I will vote for Malcolm Turnbull if HE initiates the royal enquiry into the state of the NBN.

      • While ever you have LNP there will be no “accountability” as ONLY THEY can call Royal Commissions and no one ever has done this as the LNP are Teflon coated because you all believe their lies it is always LABOR’s fault even if blind Freddy’s know/sees it is theirs. this government is a joke built on lies. But we the people pay the price.

  3. Turnbull could have instead, actually made the original nbn cheaper, faster and sooner. He would have been hugely admired for such an achievement. But no, he had to politicize it no matter the consequences and the nation will be paying for it forever.

    • Yep, he could have so easily made a 93% FTTP NBN a “sooner and cheaper” proposition. Just enforcing better management structures @NBNCo would have done that. However, he did his political master’s bidding to demolish the NBN, and he’s succeeded. Long live the Dunce, the Dunce is dead…but his mongrel MTM will be a millstone about the country’s neck for decades to come.

    • The true motivation has always been that labor policy must never be allowed to be seen as successful and must always be decried a failure and a waste. If the original NBN had stayed in any form then it would serve as a reminder of what the labor party can achieve if given the chance, because it would have finished one day and people would have been unable to ignore the benefits.

    • How?

      This piece is a joke. Conroy’s NBN policy blew out from $4.7b to $74-84b, delivered next to nothing in there 6 years, walked around abusing everyone (“red undies”), prepared legislation to shutdown critical media. His only win was wasting taxpayers money on policy follies and public sector broadcasters that agreed with him.

      People squak “build the damn thing”, well in business talk gets you no-where. Conroy thought he could start and run a telco, he couldn’t. Zero business experience the outcome was predicted from the beginning, obvious failures pointed out and still the fanboys cheered.

      Quigley respected? By who and for what? NBNCo by its own metrics an monumental failure.

      If Conroy was the best comms minister then by that distorted metric Turnbull should be happy with the title of the worst. Incorrect in the article Thurnbull has long acknowledged the superiority of fibre but questioned the cost and time to deliver. Supporters of the alternative wont talk about either, believing squeaking and/or Twitter hashtags are enough to get things done.

      I’m not a Turnbull fan, NBN remains a massive waste of taxpayers money. But those demanding FTTH fantasy start putting figures and actionable ideas. ‘Just do it’ a line for sports wear, an inane blurb.

      • ‘Just do it’

        Hey, great idea Richard, NBNCo should get on that straight away!!

      • If Conroy was the best comms minister then by that distorted metric Turnbull should be happy with the title of the worst.

        I have no doubt he would be. Celebrating mediocrity is a way of life for the coalition clowns. Bad defeatist attitudes like this is exactly how we end up with poorly thought out broadband policies in 2015 that rely on decaying copper.

      • “Conroy’s NBN policy blew out from $4.7b to $74-84b”

        FFS, anyone who handpicks a minimum figure from one set of figures (i.e. the first RFP where none of the requests complied, thus forcing a change to plans) and then handpicks a maximum from a completely different and hostile source, is either being disingenuous or a complete fucking wanker.

        Sorry… but that’s my take on such disgraceful deviousness.

        Picking and choosing lowest and highest figures from a number of different sources to suit one’s BS, is just fucking lame…

        So feel free to sob to Renai, ‘again’, if my truthful comments regarding your obvious and intentional deceitfulness, hits a nerve.

        • Sorry Richard…

          I see now the complete lack of empathy I demonstrated in my previous comment. Please forgive me.

          After all, with you having said (when Mal first tabled his FttN plan) that you could have written his plan yourself… I can now see why you are taking the claim, that Mal (and his broadband plan) are, well completely fucked up and Aust’s worst ever, so personally…

          My commiserations.

      • And Turnbulls gone from $9B to $56b before the election it was to cost 1/3rd of FTTP there claim now it cost 2/3rds.

        • …And he hasn’t even started building it yet ;o)

          I expect Richard will still be here in 202something exclaiming that even though FttN ended up costing 105b it was money well spent as it was perfectly good copper when they started!!1

  4. He was indeed a joke…..but ultimately….the joke was on all of us!
    We have to deal with the trainwreck he has turned the NBN into.

    Malcolm is all about Malcolm….don’t ever forget that.

  5. This is somewhat out of the remit of Delimiter, but the Communications portfolio also includes Australia Post, which has quite obviously blown up in Turnbull’s face (although most of the problems with Australia Post started with mismanagement on the part of previous ministers).

  6. So you disagree with the Privacy Commissioner, Human Rights Commission and Law Council that data retention has small privacy implications and can be justified on law enforcement and security grounds? Tell me more.

    • Mind you, we have a Human Rights Commissioner that thinks we should dump the whole human rights framework, and that the freedom to be a bigot trumps all other rights.

  7. Have to agree he seems very smart but poor judgement when he was environment minister under Howard era spending millions on a cloud seeding venture which was a front for the Russian marfia

  8. Excellent article, Renai, thanks! I don’t know how Turnbull can sleep at night, knowing as he must the incalculable damage he has done to Australia’s digital future. If it is poor judgement, I can forgive him, but if what he has done is deliberate, for whatever reason, then his actions have been nothing short of criminal.

  9. Oh how soon we forget Stephen Conroy… He wasn’t the model Comms minister either.

    • How many billions did Conroy spend on a technology that will need to be replaced by the oppositions original plan almost immediately?

  10. ” Malcolm Turnbull has been a disaster. the man who singlehandedly demolished the NBN and put a polite face on draconian Data Retention and Internet piracy laws. ”

    +1 – Agreed
    Could the Liberal Party really be so stupid to put this idiot in charge ? Unfortunately for them , at the next election Liberals will be voted out of parliament , the Australian Tax Payer will not forget how much money TurnBullShit has wasted & how he has ruined Australia’s largest Infrastructure Project with his Fraud Band Policy .
    Enjoy your short stay , cya Mal …….

    • +1000 Deejkay

      I had to re-read your post 3 times, to confirm the author, because I didn’t remember writing it, and it sounded EXACTLY like what I would have written myself :)

    • Unfortunately I don’t share your enthusiasm for the Australian public having any kind of worthwhile memory span and Shorten has done nothing for his or his partys’ image in 2 years. They may as well not exist at this point. It’s dire days where I’m sitting. :(


  11. Considering the political landscape in which Turnbull operates I’m not sure how the NBN could have turned out any better. There are powerful influences that are dead set against it for their own vested interest.

    I’m not sure if we should actually credit him with saving it from being totally shredded. The proportions in the mix going forward can be adjusted depending on shifts in policy without such a great upheaval.

    And its not as though Labor were effective in delivering what was on paper. So you can’t say that was in practice any good either.

    Australia knew what was on offer in 2013 re the NBN. So why blame Turnbull?

    • Because Turnbull was/is in charge of the derailment. Both he and Tony Abbot are to blame. (Also Australia was deliberately misled by the liberals about what could have been on offer in 2013).

      The whole ‘Tony made me do it’ or ‘People voted for us/this’ just doesn’t wash any blame away.

      • Agreed, “I was just following orders” didn’t work for the Nazi’s* at Nuremberg and it shouldn’t work here either!

        *debate over folks, WWII rules have now been enacted!

      • “The whole ‘Tony made me do it’ or ‘People voted for us/this’ just doesn’t wash any blame away”

        They set their stall out in plain view. Australia knowingly elected them. When is anyone going to put the ultimate responsibility with the people?

        This denial only means more c rap to come.

        • Why blame the great unwashed masses when they were misled and deliberately so.

          They were told faster cheaper and sooner. They probably should have realised that it sounded like it was too good to be true. This and I doubt there was a majority voting based on telecoms policies as well.

        • “They set their stall out in plain view.”
          A minimum of 25Mbps to 100% of Australia by the end of 2016.

          This is what you call a plain view stall? Unfortunately the masses are stupid and ill informed enough to believe what anyone with a hint of knowledge on the topic knew to be outright bullshit.

          • Well, that’s not much of a promise, as the existing ADSL2 service pretty much provides that.

            Only a fool like Turnbull would advocate spending $50b to duplicate the existing ADSL2 network.

          • @Simon and @Hotcakes

            The coalition made clear that they would shift fixed line away from FTTP to MTM which would be predominantly FTTN.

            I’d say that was pretty clear.

            If we want better outcomes we need better voting. Thats the way forward and it means wider democratic involvement.

            If on the other hand you think that Australia is at the limit of its voting ability then I’d have to say that its all over. We might as well move to China where they know how to make plans without involving the wider population too much. China is moving ahead quicker than Australia after all.

          • @peter “Well, that’s not much of a promise, as the existing ADSL2 service pretty much provides that.”
            I’d say ‘minimum 25Mbps’ is a bit hefty given that ADSL2+s’ *maximum* is 24Mbps.

        • They set their stall out in plain view. Australia knowingly elected them. When is anyone going to put the ultimate responsibility with the people?

          Would that be the “plain view stall” where Tony broke 90% of his promises? It’s hugely ironic that even that was actually a “plain view stall”, considering none of those promises were written or signed by him (which Tony said we should make him do if we actually expected him to stand by them).

      • Well seeing what has occurred, one can… as one did prior, surmise that Turnbull knew that the Coalition’s version of the NBN was fucked, but it was just one of the many pieces of the puzzle he used, in now having toppled Tones.

        But in saying that (which is simply my opinion) I guess the proof of the pudding will be in weeks/months to come.

        If PM Turnbull finds a way to reintroduce more FttP, we will know. And if he doesn’t well, we “will” know.

        • I suspect Malcolm did a lot of what he did just to keep “skin in the game” so he could bide his time.

          As you say, the proof of the pudding though…

    • “its not as though Labor were effective in delivering what was on paper.”
      Every NBN connected premise (give or take less than 20) today is thanks entirely to Labor initiated FttP contracts. Every non-FttP MTM connected premises (roughly zero, give or take 20) is thanks to 2 years of Turnbull and his given mandate to destroy the NBN.

  12. I’m sure i said this many years ago on this very website and the author vigorously disagreed with me many times… How things have changed….

  13. Turnbull has been an instrument of his former master, Abbott.

    The policy direction was always going to take a bend towards doing whatever the big players in the industry wanted. However, I’d argue that Turnbull wasn’t actually the first to try and stamp their hand on the situation.

    The ACCC opened the door, by accepting the 120+ POI lobbying. This, imho, spelled the end of the original NBN ideal of a level competition field.

    It opened the door to far more lobbying. Telstra sniffed the breeze and realised there was indeed money to be made. What followed, instead of the network being built, is every single vendor on the planet spruiking their wares to the new Minister.

    Suddenly everything was back on the table. When you suddenly lose a budget, all sorts of options start to look palatable. Hardly surprising. We all knew what was going to happen post election. Whether you admitted it, or not.

    I don’t think you can claim Turnbull was the worst, when he’s the successor to the likes of Coonan and Alston. The two truly visionless and totally hapless communications ministers outshine Turnbull in this regard, in every conceivable way.

  14. I think that we are giving to much credit and or blame to single Government Ministers. The simple fact is that they can only do what their Party will allow them to do. If Turnbull has sold the Liberal Party a dud (or series of them) then there are 100+ politicians who are to blame as well as him.

    How much of the Communications Policy has been driven by the right wing Liberal section I don’t know and it will be interesting to see if there is a moderation and change of course with the more moderate centralist Liberals now exerting influence.

    As to Turnbull being the worst Communications Minister; If he was it was because the Liberal party were the worst exponents of Communications Policy. I wouldn’t hang Turnbull for his crimes just yet but if we decide he is guilty then the whole of the Liberal Party should also be treated as being guilty and banished from politics for not being fit for purpose.

    • Hooray someone with intelligence and who calls it like it is.
      It is not just the MAN it is the WHOLE PARTY that stinks Turnbull had better watch his now deputy as she will soon have aspirations of her own and then we will have the sixth in six years, this woman is crafty and very devious, so all should be watching their backs.

  15. I’m also keen to see if their is a direction change regarding NBN. While Turnbull was the minister, it was pretty obvious to me policies were being driven by the conservative far right. The MTM may have been the compromise solution he had to settle for. However now he is leader, you’d think he has more say in policies and one hopes the NBN gets a look at. For a party that is meant to look after business in general, the NBN MTM policy was very backward looking and anti business. A FTTP NBN means it easier to create new business and for businesses to offer new and better services.

  16. It will take Turnbull a little time to reveal just what he is going to do as PM so we can actually see what his own ideas are and whether or not he was nobbled by Abbott against his own beliefs. We all know they have to bite the bullet and toe the Party line. I don’t like Turnbull, I think he is an arrogant pig but given the number of 180s in media statements you pointed out in your article I guess we can only hope and wait and see. My thinking is he will have to change quite a few things if he has any hope of winning next year.
    In the mean time I think I will just sit back and massively celebrate the departure of the worst PM in our history. Hopefully that will also mean the departure of at least some of the other incompetants like Hockey, Abetz, Brandis, Dutton, Hunt, etc. They could have not even replaced Abbott, ie left the chair empty, and the country would have been run better.

  17. I have been living in several countries, but I’d never seen any other developed countries suffering such terrible internet service. I don’t know about the policy here, but is there any thing wrong with building faster internet?

    • According to the intelligentsia…

      Governmental fixed, fast broadband (FttP) is a waste, because their taxes shouldn’t be used to build a “gold plated, Rolls Royce network” simply for others to download porn… And because even though they never did beforehand in relation to fixed infrastructure, private companies would have invested if not for governmental broadband interference… and, they don’t need such speeds at their place now or anytime in the future, anyway.

      No sadly, I’m not joking :(

      • From the moment the NBN was a concept, it has been railed against by both vested and ideological interests. Its destruction has been one of the greatest disgraces leveled in Aussie politics and it barely gets a mention anywhere. That just goes to show that as annoying as Abbott’s 3 word slogans were, they worked on the great unwashed, because that is all they’re interested in now.

        • +1 Daniel G…

          As such I suppose its too late to add the slogan “bring back FTTP”?

          Although, I guess it’d simply be too long for the TA crusaders to comprehend, when actually enunciating… “bring back fibre to the premises”.

  18. Turnbull won’t look so bad if the leak about Hockey being offered the communications portfolio is accurate!

  19. I wonder if we will see NBNco finally employ its own workforce so the job can get done.
    *bursts into laughter*

  20. I wouldn’t call Conroy great at all. Another Luddite obsessed with snooping on the nation. Labor really cocked up by not giving Kate Lundy the role; she’s one of the few politicians who actually understands technology. Turnbull doesn’t. And he only got rich thanks to timing and investing in Ozemail, he knew the right opportunity was there, but not due to tech know how, he has very little of that.

    Australia’s IT community and technology continues to be fucked thanks to morons in power.

    • You can call Conroy a lot of things, but Luddite isn’t one of them.

      Lud·dite – noun – a person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology.

  21. How can some of you people be so unashamedly ignorant of why Turnbull didn’t advance the NBN? He was handed a poisoned chalice and told to destroy the NBN. You whining little idiots can thank Turnbull for not actually doing any real damage, and that Abbott was too stupid to realise that Turnbull actually wasn’t destroying it.

      • Nina doesn’t know if she is attacking those who invented the idea of FTTH for all Australians or defending them: she must vote independant or something way over everyones heads like that!

  22. One major issue that has been a significant issue for the past 2 years is the dispute between Commercial Radio Australia and the PPCA.

    In July 2013, the all party Senate Standing Committee made a number a recommendations that the Federal Government make a number of recommendations that the ambiguity relating to online radio simulcasts be removed.

    In February 2014, when the dispute escalated between the PPCA and Commercial Radio Australia, I personally wrote to the then Minister Turnbull and tried to plead with him to take this issue seriously. I received a response from Turnbull. In his response, he stated that no ifs, no buts that he would ‘monitor the situation’ and that ‘he would encourage the disputing parties to act in good faith negotiations’.

    Which begs the question, just where has this taken us after 20 months?

    And why is it that its taken the Copyright Tribunal to expose the incompetence of Malcolm Turnbull in its interim ruling on August 28 and I strong recommend that people have a close look at the Interim Ruling of the Copyright Tribunal from August 28 and specifically Paragraph 332. sub paragraph 4 in its Interim Ruling.

  23. Malcombe Turnbull is the best gift that the Liberals can give to labour. He will loose the upcoming election for the liberal Party.

    I could go on about him all day, instead just to say I have flushed better things down the toilet. In other words the guy is an Ar***pe.

    Cheers Ian

  24. PM Malcolm Turnbull is the best gift the labour party could have in winning the next Fredral election, or should I say Fedral Erection after all the guy is a Dickhead.

    And so say all of us.

    PS. just to note I vote for who I think will do the best for Australians as a whole. I can assure you I will NOT be voting for Malcumm Turncoat

  25. I am an older Australian Citizen and have supported the Liberal Party for many years. However I will never vote for any government that has Malcolm Turnbull as Leader.

    He may appear to be Green but in fact is a conman or what they call in the US a snake oil salesman. He is the guy who pushed CFL light bulbs, containing mercury that can not only damage the environment when crushed down by the millions in landfill but also affect human health. In the US if one broke in the home you had to hire a legal cleanup team at the cost of several thousand dollars. Where they pushed by him to save the planet or does the conman have shares in the overseas company that produces them. Suppose you would have to go to the Cayman Islands to find out.

    By the time the next Federal Election comes up the case will be Malcolm Turnbull will be the best gift the Labour party could have ever received from the Liberals as Malcolm should win the election for the LABOUR PARTY.

    So with Turnbull as leader, the Liberals will never have my vote, this also will be the case with thousands of other Australians who used to vote Liberal.

    Cheers Ernie

  26. Richard Alston is by far the worst we’ve seen. The man was named Luddite of the year he was that ignorant of technology. Turnbull was hobbled by Phony Tony being a lapdog of Murdoch and also being an imbecile. Turdbull is bad, but a lightweight compared to Alston.

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