Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott has confirmed Malcolm Turnbull will be the government's new Communications Minister, taking on responsibility for the country’s technology strategy as well as its biggest ever infrastructure project, the national broadband network.
Turnbull was named today as Minister for Communications in a new Abbott ministry, with Mathias Cormann named Finance Minister, Special Minister of State Michael Ronaldson, Attorney-General George Brandis, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, and new parliamentary secretary for Communications Paul Fletcher.
During his three-year tenure as Shadow Communications Minister, Turnbull has taken on the NBN as his pet subject and managed to turn the Coalition, and most notably Abbott, from a ‘rip out the NBN' approach to one more closely aligned with the Labor Party.
Tony Abbott famously ordered Turnbull to “destroy” the NBN when he brought Turnbull back onto his frontbench as shadow communications minister in 2010.
Over the past three years, under Turnbull’s guidance, the Coalition has reverted to advocating a lower-cost fibre-to-the-node NBN.
Turnbull’s NBN would run fibre to around 60,000 street-level cabinets and use copper wires or wireless connections from the street to the home.
Around 70 percent of Australians, or nine million premises, would receive a connection under the Coalition's FTTN plan. Some 20 percent would be served by FTTP, to be delivered by 2019, and around seven percent of Australians will be served by satellite and fixed wireless.
Turnbull looks unlikely to be moved on his party's policy, despite a 200,000 strong online petition launched two weeks ago attempting to persuade the minister to retain the FTTP model. He said late last week the Australian public had voted for the Coalition and with that its NBN policy.
Fletcher joins Communications Department
Despite a quietly released and rapidly withdrawn policy revealed in the dying days of the election campaign, Turnbull has promised not introduce a default filter on internet and smartphone networks.
The filtering policy was released by Liberal MP Paul Fletcher, without the approval of the Shadow Communications Minister, and was pulled just hours later, with Turnbull announcing it was a mistake.
Abbott today announced Fletcher had been appointed the new parliamentary secretary for the Communications portfolio.
Read on for details on Australia's other new IT leaders.