Minchin demands secret NBN docs

Summary:Shadow Communications Minister Nick Minchin has demanded his opposite Stephen Conroy release reports from the National Broadband Network expert panel and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission as the Senate ordered in February.

Shadow Communications Minister Nick Minchin has demanded his opposite Stephen Conroy release reports from the National Broadband Network expert panel and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission as the Senate ordered in February.

I remind Senator Conroy of his obligation to comply with the order and will of the Senate.

Nick Minchin

Conroy's decision not to release the reports on the network was "a display of utter contempt and arrogance", according to Minchin.

"I remind Senator Conroy of his obligation to comply with the order and will of the Senate, which passed a clear and concise motion to release these reports in full the day after the conclusion of the tender process," Minchin said.

In February, Minchin submitted a motion to the Senate which would have had that report and the regulatory report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released the next day. A compromise led to the motion being amended so that the documents would be tabled "the day after the winning bid is announced", or today.

"In fact, Senator Conroy actually welcomed this motion and now the Australian public would welcome some transparency from this embattled minister," Minchin said.

Senator Conroy obviously has things to hide, he says he followed the advice of his expert's panel, it is now time for him to prove it.

Nick Minchin

Yet the minister won't be releasing the documents in question, as a spokesperson for Conroy told ZDNet.com.au this morning.

"Senator Conroy obviously has things to hide, he says he followed the advice of his expert's panel, it is now time for him to prove it," Minchin said.

The government had spent $20 million on the running of the tender, and taxpayers had the right to see what they had paid for, he believed.

"This is a further abuse of his position and is symbolic of the appalling way he has handled this process from the very beginning."

When asked if the Senate order was no longer valid, Conroy's spokesperson told ZDNet.com.au to examine the wording on the motion and said again that the NBN process had been terminated. This appeared to echo earlier speculation that the phrase "the day after the winning bid is announced" could be used as a loophole to sidestep the motion as no winning bid was announced.

The opposition believed the fact that the process was actually terminated provided a greater obligation to Conroy to make the reports public.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Government : AU

About

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for t... Full Bio

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