Labor falters in defence of the indefensible – Conroy’s NBN legacy

Labor’s attempt to whitewash its appalling record with the National Broadband Network through a Senate committee has only exposed the stunning incompetence of its former communications minister, Senator Conroy.

Senator for South Australia Anne Ruston, a member of the Senate Select Committee on the NBN, said the interim report of the Labor-dominated committee tabled in the Senate today was a transparent attempt to mislead the Australian public.

“The enormous scope of Senator Conroy’s failure of the Australian people simply can’t be whitewashed through what has been a select committee process blatantly orchestrated by Labor to exonerate their former minister and scare Australians who want fast, reliable and affordable broadband,” Senator Ruston said.

“The former minister oversaw the expenditure of around $7 billion for a network that had passed only 3% of Australian premises by September last year. He oversaw the expenditure of $351 million on an interim satellite service that promised much but now delivers speeds worse than dial-up.

“The conduct of Labor’s Senators on the committee has been deplorable, and their interim report is not worth the paper it’s written on. They have heavily politicised what is supposed to be a bipartisan and objective process. They have actually bullied witnesses.

“The Australian people are already familiar with Senator Conroy’s approach to witnesses appearing before Senate committee hearings from when he insulted a highly respected senior military officer earlier this year. He has ignored Australia’s disapproval of this approach and just continued on his merry way with the NBN.”

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