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Turnbull & Fletcher To Call Comms Shots For Abbott

Turnbull & Fletcher To Call Comms Shots For Abbott

Unlike Labor’s Stephen Conroy, who gloried in the title of Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, he’ll simply be Comms Minister.

This reflects Abbott’s distaste for the multiple titles carried by ministers in the Labor Government, with the putative PM yesterday describing it as a “sometimes grandiose” arrangement where “it sometimes seemed that ministers needed an extra-large business card to contain all of their various titles”.

Paul Fletcher, the ambitious former Optus executive, who would have dearly loved Turnbull’s job, becomes his parliamentary secretary, despite the recent cock-up which saw him announcing a policy for compulsory Internet filtering –  swiftly repudiated by both Turnbull and Abbott as a “mistake”. The cock-up may not have been Fletcher’s fault.

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Paul Fletcher

New Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane will get the additional Science portfolio, though it won’t show up in his title. There doesn’t seem to be an innovation minister.

Bruce Billson, who was a not-very-memorable comms shadow minister during Malcolm Turnbull’s brief leadership of the Coalition, becomes Small Business Minister.

A shakeup is ahead for departmental arrangements with some heads likely to roll. IT is in for a particular shakeup, with ultimate decisions on government procurement to move from the Finance Department to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), while still officially part of Finance, will become mainly an advisory body to the PM’s Department.

Advice will also come from the private sector, via a new Australian Government ICT Advisory Board., with its makeup at this stage a mystery.