Opposition leader, Tony Abbott, has nominated broadband as the most important battleground and described it as a white elephant.
Abbott used a press conference to simultaneously launch an attack on the Government and announce his new-look cabinet.
He claimed the Government would "not fundamentally change its colours” as he appointed former opposition leader, Malcolm Turnbull, as Shadow Communications Minister.
“This Government will remain fundamentally incompetent at delivering services, in particular the National Broadband Network,” he said. “[It] is going to become an icon of waste and incompetence… the National Broadband Network will be to this term of Government what pink batts and school halls were to the last term of Government.
“[Broadband] is going to be the absolute focus of the political battle over the next 18 months or so. The Government is going to invest $43 billion worth of hard earned money in what I believe is going to turn out to be a white elephant on a massive scale.”
Abbott’s comments echoed statements made by Turnbull prior to the election at an anti-filter conference held at a local RSL. The former opposition leader had used the event and audience questions to talk down the need for Government funding in urban Internet.
Abbott said Turnbull’s telco and economics experience would perfectly suit him for the role of taking on the NBN. Broadband policy was nominated by key independent, Tony Windsor, as the deciding factor in his decision to back a Gillard Labor Government.
“It is a complete waste to spend $5000 per household delivering an information superhighway beside every dirt track in this country, whether people need it, want it or can afford it,” he said. “I can’t think of anyone better than Malcolm Turnbull, given his experience in telecommunications and in business, to hold the Government ferociously to account in this area.
“He has the technical expertise and the experience to entirely demolish the Government on this issue.”
Turnbull was toppled from his previous role by Abbott during a leadership spill over the introduction of an ETS.