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Updated: It's Turnbull versus Conroy as Smith dumped from Shadow Communications portfolio

Updated: It's Turnbull versus Conroy as Smith dumped from Shadow Communications portfolio

Move comes after pundits criticise Smith’s performance in the role

Shadow Communications Minister, Tony Smith, has been dumped from his role and replaced by former opposition leader, Malcolm Turnbull.

Smith had been criticised for his performance in the portfolio, which was assigned to him after the previous shadow minister, Nick Minchin, announced his retirement from politics.

Opposition leader, Tony Abbott, told media at a press conference that the Government would be fundamentally incompetent at delivering the National Broadband Network.

"The National Broadband Network will be to this term of Government what pink batts and school halls were to the last term of Government," Abbott said. "Who better to hold the Government to account here than Malcolm Turnbull, who is restored to the Opposition front bench as Shadow Minister for Communications.

"He has the technical expertise and the experience to entirely demolish the Government on this issue."

Much of the heavy lifting in the key policy area of broadband was done by former Optus executive and Liberal MP, Paul Fletcher, with Smith fronting only a handful of media opportunities until the election.

Turnbull hosted an anti-filter forum in the lead up to the election and was vocal on a wide range of technology issues. He slammed the ALP’s NBN as a “colossal white elephant” and promoted a privately-funded approach to urban Internet.

Key independent, Tony Windsor, nominated broadband policy as the deciding factor that led him to support the Labor Party for Government. This came after detailed meetings with both Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, and Smith in Canberra.

Smith’s dumping is contrasted by Conroy’s promotion with more responsibilities and a whole-of-government brief over broadband issues.

A spokesperson for Shadow Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said a statement on the appointment would be released.


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Tags broadbandNBNMalcolm Turnbullnick minchinStephen Conroypaul fletcherShadow Communications Ministertony smithTony Windsor

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