Stop the boat talk, NBN's operations matter more: Turnbull

Stop the boat talk, NBN's operations matter more: Turnbull

Summary: Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has defended his links to NBN Co's head of strategy JB Rousselot, stating that the executive is well suited to work for the network company.


Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has rejected suggestions that his personal relationship — including the co-ownership of a boat — with a senior NBN Co executive, will influence the organisation's operations.

Turnbull is due to release a National Broadband Network (NBN) strategic review on Thursday, a document that has been compiled under the company's head of strategy and transformation, JB Rousselot.

Federal Labor on Wednesday highlighted the minister's co-ownership of a yacht with Rousselot.

"Given this fact, how can we believe anything that this report says?" Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare asked.

Turnbull was flattered to hear his "ancient couta boat" referred to as a yacht, before defending Rousselot's credentials.

"JB Rousselot has done an outstanding job in heading the transformation and review at the NBN Co, and I would have thought that the honourable members opposite had a little more class than to sink to the character assassination," Turnbull told parliament.

The minister said Rousselot, an engineer, is well qualified for his role with NBN Co, having worked in the telecommunications sector for more than a decade.

Rousselot was absent from a hearing of the Senate Select committee on the NBN due to the company working to finalise the strategic review ahead of its release tomorrow.

In the hearing on Wednesday morning, former Labor Communications Minister Stephen Conroy took to task a "smart-arse" NBN Co chief marketing officer Kieren Cooney, who questioned whether there was a quorum for the hearing at Parliament House.

"Anytime you want to wander down and be a smart arse in the chamber of the Senate or the parliament ... you will discover that they don't operate with 19 senators in the chamber at all times," he said.

When Cooney moved to close down the hearing, he was told that only senators, not those fronting the committee, were entitled to make the quorum call.

"So much for NBN Co wanting to participate and have scrutiny," Conroy said, adding that its executives had a responsibility to answer all of his questions because they are paid by the taxpayers.

Conroy's initial frustration stemmed from the executives' refusal to acknowledge documents that had been leaked from NBN Co.

Turnbull said in Question Time that all would be revealed tomorrow.

"Tomorrow, we will hear the truth about the NBN. The Labor party does not want to hear it," Turnbull said.

The Register of Members' Interests today revealed that Turnbull has invested in at least three overseas telecommunications companies: Telefonica in Spain, as well as Clearwire and Sprint in the United States.

Topics: NBN, Government, Government AU, Telcos


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • A Decade??

    A decade is nothing in this industry, hell it's basically a beginners amount of experience. Quigley had 30 years and Turnbullshit claimed he was too inexperienced.

    Back to the boat though, that shows a completely inappropriate relationship - obviously they are mates, so how is JBR ever going to release a report that significantly disagrees with MT??

    What a joke this political party is, they are just a bunch of crooks.
    • There is a reason though...

      There is a reason though... by definition, half the country has an IQ below average. They are easily duped by false promises and hypnotised by warm and comforting lies. It takes years sometimes - such as the time it took the Libs in Parliament to lie, lie, lie lie, for three long years and the idiots were easily induced to believe the mad monk - what a cabinet he has, an abbott and two bishops. We have nothing more than lawyers and debaters and most with partners who have shares and commercial interests in the organisations their poly partners are now serving and will continue to serve now that they have the power. Shakespeare was right about the lawyers. Look at Henry VI part two when one revolting peasant says to another, "The first thing we do, lets kill all the lawyers." Revolting peasants can be so wise! At least we can vote them out of our lives at the very next opportunity - we peasants have very long memories.
      Why don't the politicians of this country face legal proceedings for their false promises made at election time? The ACCC should nail the *%$#'s for misleading conduct and false advertising.
      Tragedy is that the Liberal party alone could never come to power alone. But Truss and his tribe of tragics are completely without honour and will always sell their souls for influence at the table.
      Dr. Ghostly
  • Another day and another NBN article

    I'm over this bombardment of NBN articles. Every some tidbit of information seems to headline news when it comes to the NBN. I want to read something new. I just unsubscribed from ZDNet Au newsletter. I'm over it.
    • Yeah well...

      ...I hear that the Australian and the Daily Telegraph provide fair and balanced information for readers who want something new...
    • So ...

      Have you tried not clicking on the link? The NBN situation is relevant tech news for us Aussies. I, for one, am glad it's being covered so thoroughly.
    • Thanks for the space

      Thanks for the space - much appreciated. Been looking forward to my subscription with the brilliant ZNet. They report the cats and they act in the interests of truth and fair play and to illuminate and uncover information that is foremost in the minds of their subscribers. They certainly dig behind the obfuscation, lies and self interest of the crookedest political party I can remember for the last 72 years of my life.
      Dr. Ghostly
  • They report the cats

    Duhh, Mea Culpa. They report the FACTS.
    Dr. Ghostly