Malcolm Turnbull came out firing at today’s Media Club lunch in Brisbane, attacking the Gillard government’s NBN roll-out, and casting doubt over key budget forecasts.

The former Coalition leader also denied any suggestion of a rift with Tony Abbott over climate change, despite reiterating his belief in an emissions trading scheme.

Paul Smeaton reports.


No plan B was the theme today as Malcolm Turnbull stepped up the attack on Labor’s budget forecasts and economic credentials.

The former investment banker quoted Treasury figures to highlight the differences between the economic records of the Labor and Coalition governments.

Malcolm Turnbull MP, Shadow Communications Minister: “There was nothing to compare with the orgy of frenzied spending and borrowing we’ve seen under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.”

He continued his attack on government policies suggesting Labor lacked the political nouse to govern.

Malcolm Turnbull, Shadow Communications Minister: “A plan B would require more intellectual and fiscal discipline than has so far been shown by this cynical and incompetent government.”

He slammed the government’s NBN plan as financially irresponsible.

Malcolm Turnbull MP, Shadow Communications Minister: “The decision that 93 per cent of Australia will receive fibre to the premises is an ideological choice, it is not an engineering or economic necessity.”

Mr Turnbull also rejected claims he was on a collision course with leader Tony Abbott describing their relationship as cordial.

Malcolm Turnbull MP, Shadow Communications Minister: “I’d challenge you to identify anything in those remarks I made last night which were inaccurate or unbalanced.”

He did little though to support his leader on the subject of climate change.

Malcolm Turnbull MP, Shadow Communications Minister: “The liberal party does not support at present at least an emissions trading scheme.”

Despite an ETS costing Turnbull the party leadership before the last election, his lukewarm support for the Coalition’s current position will continue to worry party power-brokers.

Paul Smeaton, QUT News.