Coalition broadband expert, Paul Fletcher, retains key advisory role

Coalition broadband expert, Paul Fletcher, retains key advisory role

Blame game plays out with some claiming Smith was responsible for the late release of the Coalition’s broadband policy

Former Optus executive and Liberal MP, Paul Fletcher, remains a key advisor to the Coalition on broadband, despite his role in helping craft its controversial policy during the election campaign.

This is in contrast to the previous Shadow Communications Minister, Tony Smith, who was demoted to the role of Parliamentary Secretary and replaced by former Opposition leader, Malcolm Turnbull.

Broadband played a key role in the Federal Election, with Opposition finance spokesperson, Andrew Robb, admitting the Coalition failed to properly explain its policy before the election.

Industry representatives were directly critical of the policy, with Australian Computer Society CEO, Bruce Lakin, describing it as “undercooked”.

“They were leading with what they thought was a lower cost model which would help their focus on getting back to surplus earlier,” he said. “They probably thought 12Mbps versus 100Mbps would be acceptable to the electorate.

“I think when it all summed up, the equation didn’t quite work.”

Key independent, Tony Windsor, also labelled broadband as the single biggest consideration when he sided with Labor in forming Government.

“My advisers in relation to the broadband technology suggest that you do it once, you do it right and you do it with fibre,” Windsor said during his explanation of his decision.

Senior sources in the Coalition have told ARN the move to delay the broadband policy until very late in the election campaign was suggested by the then Shadow Communications Minister, Tony Smith.

But other sources claimed this was not the case and that the decision as to when the policy was released ultimately lay with the senior leadership team.

The rival claims point to a blame game being played out with some Coalition members defending the former Shadow Minister’s performance as others criticise his actions during the campaign.

Fortunately for the Coalition, industry sources are understood to regard Paul Fletcher as a knowledgeable MP who is communicative and open to input. Many are also enthusiastic about Turnbull's appointment to the front bench role.

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Tags broadbandnational broadband networkoptusaustralian computer societypaul fletcherBruce Lakintony smithandrew robbTony Windsor


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