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Conroy dials up deception in his disdain for consumers.

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Sat, 28th June 2008


The Hon Bruce Billson MP Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

As pressure mounts on Communications Minister Stephen Conroy in relation to his inept handling of Labor's broadband promises, he has resorted to pure deception in a desperate bid to discredit serious questions posed by the Opposition on behalf of consumers.

In an act of total deceit, Senator Conroy has pounced on a supposed letter to the editor in a regional newspaper from one of my staff, which was in fact a 22 June media release from me to the newspaper, which was incorrectly presented as a letter (Narrandera Argus 24/6/08).

Senator Conroy then selectively quoted from this 'letter' regarding consumer interests, in order to give the totally false and ridiculous impression that the Opposition is somehow advocating dial-up over broadband.

The Opposition had rightly asked what options will exist under Labor's vague, one-size fits all broadband proposal, for those consumers who currently choose to pay a modest price, for a modest service.

The full quote from me was: ''What will the impact be on consumers seeking the right speed at the right price? For example what will the choices be for the millions of consumers who currently are happy with the basic dial-up Internet service they have now, or simple voice service, or base ADSL broadband service delivered over the old copper network for say $ 29.95 per month?''

In his bid to mount a spurious attack Senator Conroy instead selectively quoted: ''What will the choices be for the millions of consumers who are currently happy with the basic dial-up Internet service they have now ...?''

What this appalling behaviour demonstrates is Senator Conroy's total disdain for consumer interests, including any Internet user who currently chooses not to use the highest speeds at the highest prices.

One of the reasons they may choose not to do so Senator Conroy is because they simply cannot afford to.

So regardless of Senator Conroy's blatant misrepresentations, which are consistent with his track record as a political apparatchik and his lack of interest in public policy development, the key question put remains unanswered.

Senator Conroy, under your fibre to the node sound bite, what will the options be for those consumers simply wanting the right service for them, at the right price?