Turnbull to defy Senate order to produce NBN report

Turnbull to defy Senate order to produce NBN report

Summary: Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has indicated he will not release the NBN Co strategic review on Monday, despite an order from the Senate to do so.


The Coalition government has indicated it will release the NBN Co strategic review before the end of the year, but will defy a motion from the Senate for Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to table the review by Monday December 9.

A spokesperson for Turnbull confirmed that the government yesterday received the strategic review put together by NBN Co under new executive chair Ziggy Switkowski over the past 60 days. Turnbull has said the review would reveal the true state of the company and the rollout and advise on the best direction forward.

Following calls from Labor for the Coalition to release the document, Greens Communications spokesperson Scott Ludlam will today put forward a motion in the Senate calling for Turnbull to table the document before Monday December 9, but Turnbull's office has already indicated it will not be released by that date.

"The report still needs to be approved by the NBN Co board next week. The government expects that the report will be released by the end of the year," the spokesperson said.

As had been flagged by Switkowski last week, the document will likely be heavily censored.

"NBN Co has many sensitive commercial relationships and negotiations ahead of it, not least of which with Telstra, Optus and the various construction partners," the spokesperson said.

"Accordingly the Strategic Review of necessity contains material which is commercial in confidence and which NBN Co would earnestly request not be published."

The government will seek advice on what parts of the report should be redacted before releasing the report to the public, the spokesperson said.

In Question Time today, Turnbull argued that NBN Co was becoming much more transparent under his oversight, with the company now publishing weekly reports on the progress of the rollout, including a previously undisclosed figure of the number of premises that have been passed by the network but cannot yet order a service, such as apartment blocks, and shopping centres.

Topics: NBN, Government, Government AU, Australia


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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  • More transparency is less transparency

    We have a true 1984 Government, with Turnbull telling us like Brandis that more secrecy is more transparency. The double speak of this government is becoming more incoherent as the days progress.
    Kevin Cobley
  • Those who were so easily fooled by Turnbull and his zoo crew chums must be happy. I mean they got a government that is doing all the crappy things they whined about before the election. Hopefully Turnbulls lack of transparency wont impede the "blazing" fast copper node rollout, with only 1123 days to go if everyone doesn't have that magical 25mbps they will be very disappointed...
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • This could get ugly

    What would happen, for instance, if the Senate decided not to pass any bill funding the Communications Ministry unless/until Mr. Turnbull complies (money bills do require Senate approval even if it can't amend them)? After the Kerr/Whitlam affair, I really don't think the current Government wants to go there.
    John L. Ries
    • Put it this way

      It's one thing to plead "executive privilege" against legislative demands in a presidential system, but its' a much more serious matter to do it in a parliamentary one. Convention doesn't require the Government to have majority support in the Senate, but the latter's ability to "cause an election" is undoubted.
      John L. Ries
  • What the Report Reveals...

    Leaked pic of one of their planned "Nodes" :)

  • Possible Reasons

    Well ONE only.
    It makes liars of M.T and the LNP and News Ltd. and the biased media commentators. Got to look after their media cheer squad
    Abel Adamski
  • Funny...

    how Turnbull and the Liberals demanded "more transparency" during Labour's time in parliament, but are now delaying their own reports now they're in charge.