Turnbull nabs communications portfolio

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Turnbull nabs communications portfolio

Tony Smith shown the door.

Former opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull was today promoted to shadow communications minister at the expense of Tony Smith who was dropped from the portfolio.

Read Turnbull's first public statements on the communications portfolio here.

The announcement by Opposition leader Tony Abbott in Sydney capped off weeks of speculation on Smith's future in the shadow ministry.

Abbott said Turnbull (pictured) had the "technical and business expertise to demolish the Government" on communications issues.

"[Communications] is going to be the absolute focus of the political debate over the next 18 months or so," Abbott said.

"The Government is going to invest $43 billion on what I believe will turn out to be a white elephant on a massive scale.

"I can't think of anyone better than Malcolm Turnbull to hold the Government ferociously to account in this area.

"No one will be happier than I am if he succeeds in this shadow portfolio."

Abbott said Smith still had "a strong contribution to make" to the Coalition. Smith was given two roles including the shadow parliamentary secretary for tax reform.

Smith was in the shadow communications role for nine months.

He was largely invisible from the communications industry and remained out of public view during an election campaign waged on broadband policy.

The Coalition only announced its policy on August 11, a week before the election.

Smith was silent on the policy in the months preceding the announcement.

It was roundly criticised by IT industry and business groups and did not win over key independents, whose votes the Coalition needed to form a minority government.

The Coalition frontbench announcement came minutes after the swearing in of Labor's cabinet at Government House in Canberra.

Labor senator Stephen Conroy maintained his role as Communications Minister and was given an expanded set of responsibilities.

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