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Conroy departure leaves the biggest hole

Paul Smith (via AFR) | June 27, 2013
Of all the ministers to step aside from the nascent Rudd cabinet, the biggest hole appears to be left by communications minister Stephen Conroy.

It will be interesting to watch and see if the Coalition now moves its broadband policy to place a higher relevance on fibre to the home, something it could never have done with Conroy's gloating presence on the other side.

Suggestions have emerged that former Labor leader and party elder Simon Crean could win the portfolio, which would seem like an uninspired choice by those hoping for a similarly driving force to Conroy, but would at least put a senior name in the hot seat.

Unlike some other portfolios, Communications has come to require a specialist knowledge. Turnbull is all over the technical ins and outs of the telco and internet game, and can argue the merits of the Coalition's broadband plans convincingly.

Whether you prefer Labor's vision or the Coalition's, Rudd should not make the mistake of believing that Turnbull's existing plan is a lemon. It isn't.

The Turnbull plan is technically less ambitious than Labor's but it is eminently workable in the near term, and sellable to the electorate in the absence of a minister able to evangelise the future benefits of a fibre to the premises network.

Rudd needs to find that person somewhere in his depleted ranks.


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