Former Optus Comms Boss,Tipped As Candidate For Communication Minister’s Job Under Turnbull
Malcolm Turnbull, who yesterday comfortably beat Tony (“I’m no Bill Gates”) Abbott for the prime minstership, by 54 votes to 44, had first to resign as Comms Minister, and from Cabinet, in order to contest the leadership.
The post – one of Australia’s most important, in the view of many, as the nation struggles interminably to get the National Broadband Network rollout moving – remains empty and probably won’t be filled before Friday, if then.
Current favourite for the post is probably Paul Fletcher, Turnbull’s offsider over the past couple of years as parliamentary secretary to the Comms Minister, and the Liberal member for upper-crust Bradfield on Sydney’s North Shore.
A former Optus executive, he is not without some knowledge of the communications industry. But it’s probably fair to say he has not struck many as alive with ideas for bringing the Down Under industry up to top world standards, or ideas on anything much for that matter.
He has twice given speeches at Phil Sims’ annual Media Connect/IT Journo events on the Gold or Sunshine Coasts that sought to bring together journos with industry execs and policy makers. Both were so mind-numbingly dull, and his answers to questions so evasive, that no-one CDN has spoken to can remember a single idea he raised.
Not so with his boss. Malcolm Turnbull at one of these events several years ago savagely lambasted all gathered reptiles, several of who had questioned his ideas for dumbing down the Labor vision of the NBN, with a special tongue lashing for ABC technology editor Nick Ross.
Fletcher who has served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications since September 2013 has had some big wins working directly with Turnbull.
He steered the mobile black spot program, eSafety program and has worked directly with Turnbull in the restructure of the NBN.
The former Communications Manager at Telstra, Fletcher has been described as having an excellent understanding of technology.
It is expected a Malcolm Turnbull-led government could see a series of changes to key ministerial posts swiftly implemented.
During his tenure as Communications Minister Turnbull has delivered reprimands to the ABC to taking on ambitious reform of the NBN, Australia Post and media regulation.
Fletcher is believed to have backed Turnbull in the dumping of Tony Abbott as sitting Prime Minister last night.