One of the great political battles in recent years was the acrimonious fight between former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and his Opposition counterpart Malcolm Turnbull over the NBN.
Now, as Turnbull is in government and about to be sworn in as Minister, Conroy has said he wants to return to Labor’s front bench. A strong factional worrier and unstinting supporter of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, it is likely he will have is way.
Conroy has told former ALP strong man Graham ‘whatever it takes’ Richardson, now an opinionated media commentator, that he wants to return to the political fray – from which he has been so conspicuously absent since resigning over the Rudd ascendancy.
“I’ve spoken to a range of my colleagues in the last couple of days and indicated that I’ll be a candidate for the front bench,” Conroy told Richo on Sky News. “I want to be part of holding Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey to all of their promises, and more importantly to the frauds they’ve been engaged in.”
This leaves open the interesting scenario that Conroy will return to shadow his old portfolio, pitching him once again against Malcolm Turnbull and turning the whole NBN debate on iits head. Whether he has the heart to do that is debatable, and it was not mentioned in his Sky News interview.
If it were to happen, Turnbull would no doubt have a field day. He will be in possession of all the NBN Co and departmental internal documents, which would give him a massive amount of ammunition to fire at Conroy. And could we bear to go through it all again, with the red and blue corner simply changing ends?