Sunday, September 19, 2010

Australia - Former opposition leader is now the telecoms shadow minister, to savage the NBN

[abc] Former leader Malcolm Turnbull returns to the frontbench as Communications spokesman, as Opposition Leader Tony Abbott attempts to target Labor's National Broadband Network.

The NBN was a major factor in the decision of independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakshott to back a minority Labor government.

The former Communications spokesman, Tony Smith, has been demoted and is now a parliamentary secretary.

Mr Abbott says Mr Turnbull will expose the NBN as a waste of money.

"Who better to hold the Government to account here than Malcolm Turnbull, who is restored to the Opposition frontbench as Shadow Minister for Communications, and who has the technical expertise and the business experience to entirely demolish the Goverment on this issue?"

Mr Abbott has also appointed a spokesman for Regional Communications, NSW Nationals MP Luke Hartsuyker, to help take the fight up to Labor's Stephen Conroy.

There is little change in the major portfolios relevant to rural Australia.

Nationals Leader Warren Truss has responsibility for Infrastructure and Transport, while Barnaby Joyce will deal with Regional Development, Water and Local Government.

Julie Bishop is the Shadow Trade Minister, while Greg Hunt keeps charge of Environment, as well as Climate Action.

Bob Baldwin has the Tourism portfolio, and will assist Senator Joyce with Regional Development.

As expected, Ian Macfarlane keeps Resources and Energy, and John Cobb is Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security.

While Mr Abbott hasn't matched Labor in appointed a frontbencher to Indigenous Health, Dr Andrew Laming will be shadow parliamentary secretary for Regional Health Services and Indigenous Health. Senator Birmingham will be a shadow parliamentary secretary with oversight of the Murray Darling Basin.

Abbott targets broadband in Coalition frontbench changes

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