Top 20 Stephen Conroy memories and milestones

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Top 20 Stephen Conroy memories and milestones
Stephen Conroy and Kevin Rudd in happier times.

Analysis: From gaffes to greatness.

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Rumours of Stephen Conroy's departure from the Communications portfolio began soon after word filtered through of last night's change in Prime Minister.

The grave-dancing started almost immediately and escalated when Conroy's office confirmed the Minister had stepped aside.

While he undoubtedly drove some deeply unpopular policies in the portfolio, Conroy also hit a number of high notes that get few complaints from the industry — the $250 million backhaul blackspots program springs to mind.

He's also had his fair share of gaffes, gutsy moves and outrageous statements. Here's the top 20 defining moments of his Communications tenure - feel free to add your own.

20. #Spill? Can't, the soccer's on

It seems only fitting to cast our minds back to the heady days of June 2010 when Julia Gillard rolled Kevin Rudd for the Labor leadership. "Everyone said: 'Were you up all night making phone calls, on the phone lobbying for the leadership?'" Conroy told an SBS TV program. "I said, 'No, I was watching the soccer'." He saw World Cup matches with England and the Socceroos, nabbed a scant few hours sleep and headed into the caucus meeting that would end up dumping Rudd. Priorities.

19. Sitting with the United Nations

The Communications Minister had the honour of being made a founding member of the United Nation's Broadband Commission for Digital Development. The commission was charged with defining strategies for accelerating broadband rollout worldwide — and recognised Conroy's role in driving broadband access as a key policy platform throughout his tenure.

18. Shout-outs

There aren't too many Communications Ministers iTnews can recall that have committed the online handles of policy advocates to the public record. Many of these are words and spellings which one may never have previously thought possible to end up in Hansard.

Senator Conroy: I would like to send a thank you to UTC, anniepink, Tailgater, ungulate; and particularly Frood, The Lost and Axman6, who have come out on a very cold Canberra night to listen to what—
CHAIR: Are you still speaking English?
Senator Conroy: Yes. These are names online: aarq-vark, Megalfar, jwbam, Texmex, Cadibas, Mud Guts, FatPat, Murdoch, The Monsta, Seven Tech, Mr Creosote and Glass Snowy. Also a hello to miah. I thank all of them for playing Whack-A-Mole with all the trolls online.

17. A proper send-off for Sol?

A mini-furore erupted after Telstra's former chief Sol Trujillo parted ways with the telco. Trujillo alleged to the BBC that Kevin Rudd had summed up Trujillo's exit with 'Adios', which led to accusations that the Prime Minister was racist. (Rudd denied this).

Conroy won praise for his assessment of Trujillo's contribution to the telecommunications industry, though he perhaps undid this work when he compared current Vodafone Australia boss Bill Morrow with Trujillo earlier this year.

16. Free physics lessons

Conroy liked to roll out the "laws of physics" one-liner whenever a proposal arose that challenged the national broadband network. He invoked the "the laws of physics" to dispute assertions about the life and cost of fibre networks in November 2010, to highlight the constraints of wireless technologies in March 2011, and the potential for interference at cell boundaries. Critics could often be found "defying" or "reinventing" those laws.

Read on for the remaining 15 memories and milestones.

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