Former Opposition Leader Malcom Turnbull has been appointed Shadow Communications Minister, taking over the portfolio from Tony Smith who has been demoted to parliamentary secretary. Turnbull will now face Communications Minister Stephen Conroy on the National Broadband Network (NBN) battleground.
“I can’t think of any other than Malcolm to hold the government to account,” said Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in a press conference this afternoon, going on to say that nobody would be happier than him if Turnbull succeeded in the shadow portfolio.
Abbott announced the cabinet amendments at a press conference this afternoon while Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s new front bench was being sworn in at Government House today.
When was asked why Turnbull was chosen, Abbott said the NBN was going to be the absolute focus of the political battle over next several months and he believed that the NBN would be a “white elephant on a massive scale”.
The Opposition Leader added that he chose Turnbull because he has the technical, telecommunications and business expertise to take Labor on in the area.
“I want to say that this is a stronger, hungrier cabinet that will better hold the government to account,” Abbott said when asked why he sacked Smith as Shadow Communications Minister.
Abbott said the NBN will be an “icon of waste and incompetence” and that the NBN “will be what the pink batts and school halls were” for the last term of government. He went on to say the $43 billion NBN project will be a complete waste — spending taxpayers’ hard-earned money on a information superhighway that people may or may not want.
The opposition minister said it will be a shadow ministry that will last, unlike Gillard’s front bench, which went through three minor revisions over the weekend.