He’s at it AGAIN: Minister Conroy war against the Coalition NBN stance continues.
Click to enlarge
This week, Broadband Minister Senator Stephen Conroy, gone on a brutal attack against Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey’s economic credentials, blasting the Liberal frontman’s “economic illiteracy” following his speech at National Press Club this week.
This comes in a wake of two similar attacks on Hockey’s boss, Liberal Leader Tony Abbott, accusing him of wilfully misleading Australians with his remarks on the $36bn National Broadband Network in his recent Budget reply.
Shadow Communication Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, was also subject to Conroy’s wrath, for his “cooked” claims claims the NBN has witnessed a $400m “blowout” in the 2012 Budget.
“Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has today joined his leader Tony Abbott and fellow Liberal frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull in demonstrating his economic illiteracy,” Conroy said today.
In his address to the Press Club, Hockey claimed: “one of the reasons why Government debt keeps rising while the Budget is supposedly in surplus” is spending on the NBN (and Clean Energy Finance Corporations) are “off budget” and financed through increased Government borrowings.
“The Treasurer says this is normal accounting but the $50 billion NBN and the $10 billion CEFC are not “normal””, he added.
He also said the size and asset quality of National Broadband Network are”not on a par” with the likes of Qantas floated for $2 billion or Commonwealth Bank.
“And the business case for the NBN is so poor that the government refuses to have a cost/benefit analysis,” Hockey added.
The Coaliiton has been a long standing enemy of the NBN, which it has criticised as vast waste of public money and claim high speed broadband could be achieved for far less than the $36 bn pricetag it currently carries.
Mr Hockey’s has “once again shown he is unfit to be in charge of the nation’s finances,” an annoyed Conroy added.
“The Coalition has won the trifecta for economic illiteracy in their claims that the National Broadband Network should be treated as spending in the budget.”
“Mr Hockey not only masterminded the Coalition’s pre-election costings debacle – where the firm hired by the Coalition to audit its election promises was later fined and reprimanded for unprofessional practices – but now he wants to ignore international accounting standards.
The NBN is an investment in an asset from which the Government will receive a return, the Minister insisted, and said the treatment in the budget is consistent with long-standing governmental standards.
It is classified by International Accounting Standards as an equity investment rather than a budget expense.
The irked Conroy called on his polical foes to “support Labor’s NBN, which will provide fast, reliable, and affordable broadband to all Australians, regardless of where they live.”