The NBN, which was initiated under the previous Rudd Government, has been one of Labor’s hallmark achievements in recent years. Opinions on the effectivness of the Gillard Government in many areas has been strongly debated, and many aspects of the NBN rollout have been contentious, but none can doubt the Government’s commitment to the project.
That is largely because of the efforts of the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stepehen Conroy. Now, as a strong Gillard supporter, he has said he will resign.
But we don’t know for certain. Kevin Rudd is not even confirmed as Prime Minister, and it’s still possible he won’t get the confidence of the House of Representatives, in which case there could be an immediate election. What ever the case, Kevin Rudd will have to patch together a cabinet very quickly, even if it is over the kitchen table. [LATE NOTE: Rudd has now been sworn in as PM]
There are a number of scenarios. The most likely, I believe, remains the Coalition winning the election and Malcolm Turnbull becoming Minister. We all know what that means – NBN lite. The other two scenarios have Labor winning – one with Conroy staying on, and the other with him being replaced.
If Rudd can convince Conroy to stay on – and of course if Conroy wants to – we also know what will happen. The NBN will proceed as is, with all its problems (which are greatly exaggerated). But if Labor wins and Conroy goes, the Big Question is who takes his job.
The obvious answer is ACT Senator Kate Lundy, who was ICT spokesman when Labor was last in opposition. It disppointed many that she didn’t get the NBN gig. She too is a Gillard supporter, but politics makes strange bedfellows. She would be an inspired choice.
We live in interesting times.