Conroy resigns as Rudd returns

Stephen Conroy has gone ahead with his threat to resign should former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd return to the top job.

(Credit: Josh Taylor/ZDNet)

Following a caucus ballot for the leadership of the Labor Party on Wednesday night, Kevin Rudd has defeated sitting Prime Minister Julia Gillard 57 votes to 45. Conroy had threatened to resign as communications minister and leader of the Senate should Rudd be returned, and, according to Conroy's media office Twitter account, he last night said that he will step down from both roles.

No replacement for Conroy has yet been announced, but Finance Minister Penny Wong will reportedly replace Conroy as the leader of the government in the Senate.

Conroy was the shadow minister for communications for Labor from 2004, and has been the minister for communications for the entire life of the Labor government under both Rudd from 2007 to mid-2010 and Gillard from 2010 until today. Conroy's biggest legacy will remain his role in delivering structural separation of Telstra and a massive shake-up of the telecommunications industry with the advent of the National Broadband Network (NBN). Conroy oversaw the development and subsequent roll-out of the ambitious AU$37.4 billion fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) National Broadband Network, which he announced with Rudd in April 2009.

The NBN was seen as a vote winner for Labor in 2010, and the Independent MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor both said that the NBN was a key factor in their decision to back Labor in a minority government, with the Coalition at the time vowing to end the project and instead opt for ADSL upgrades and wireless networks.

Both Oakeshott and Windsor announced today that they would not recontest the election in September.

This story originally appeared on CNET's sister site ZDNet. Read the full story.


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