Turnbull to probe Conroy's NBN advice

Turnbull to probe Conroy's NBN advice

Summary: Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that there will be an independent audit into the advice the former Labor government received when it decided to create the National Broadband Network.


The Coalition government has announced it will review the advice given to the former Labor government when it established the National Broadband Network in 2009.

The independent audit will be conducted by former Telstra corporate affairs head and Swinburne University chancellor Bill Scales.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced today that the review will examine the public policy process between April 2008 when the former Labor government issued a request for proposals for the NBN up to May 2010 when the NBN implementation study was released.

The audit is aiming to determine the advice given to the Labor government and the process that led to "NBN Co's mandate to run fibre to the premises (FttP) to 90-93 percent of Australian premises".

The establishment of the NBN has been one that the Coalition had persistently questioned since 2008. Since the 2010 election, Turnbull has consistently criticised the former Labor government for embarking on the NBN project without conducting a cost-benefit analysis. One of the major myths around the establishment of the then-AU$43 billion National Broadband Network was that the whole project was conceived on the back of a napkin between former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on a plane trip.

According to the terms of reference, the government is seeking recommendations on what future actions can be taken by the government in relation to major projects such as the NBN.

The audit will consult people both inside and outside of government, and will access "legally available information". A spokesperson for the minister's office confirmed to ZDNet that the audit will not have access to sensitive Cabinet documents from the former Labor government.

The report is due back to government in July.

Turnbull also announced a review of NBN Co's internal governance to be conducted by KordaMentha. In addition to these reviews, the government has launched the NBN Co strategic review, the broadband cost-benefit analysis, and the broadband quality review.

Topics: Government, NBN, 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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  • Conroy's immortal words,

    "$4.7 billion and not a cent more!"
    • About Right

      @ OLF
      Sounds to be fairly a accurate estimate of the costs to date of Turnbull's endless creation of jobs for the boys in his quest to Demolish The NBN with a never ending supply of bogus reports rather than getting on with his job description.

      Perhaps we would be much better served with an audit into
      the LNP's/News LTD/Foxtel relationship & it's motives in switching us over to their Fraudband?
      • Plus

        Waiver of Tax liability by the Murdoch empire of over $800Mill, (While they screw the vulnerable and disabled to save a couple of $Mill), the review/watering down/scrapping of the media ownership laws
        Abel Adamski
    • Tasty ?

      Each to their own
      Abel Adamski
  • Royal Commision for Mr Fraudband

    After the next election when labor is returned a Royal Commission is needed, into Mr Fraudband's plans drawn up on a napkin at a restaurant.

    When all the Coalitions new promises are abandoned and the Australian public are left with zero improvements in broadband a Royal commission into their dishonesty prior to the last election and the dishonesty of their advisers should be implemented.

    Mr Fraudband's constant harping on a "cost benefit analysis" has disappeared when he now seeks to implement his plans without any "cost benefit analysis".
    Kevin Cobley
    • Turnbull is loading yet another bullet into the gun pointing at his foot

      He does realise that the overzealous way the Abbott Gov. is setting up Reviews and Royal Commissions at the moment will take him off at the knees when Labor is back in power - doesn't he?
      The Guv
  • Spellchecker time!

    Come on, Josh! You have a masters in Journalism. You're going to be famous someday. You can't afford to leave a history of bloopers in your wake. We all know spellcheckers are next to useless, but you should still use one, just in case.
    In this particular case it would have caught th very first word of th article.
    • Fixed

      Josh Taylor
      • Missed another one!

        "NBN Co's internal governance to >me< conducted by KordaMentha."
        • Fixed

          For the record, our sub editor was away that day, so these things happen. Appreciate it.
          Josh Taylor
  • Government by review!

    Personally, I think he's just trying to figure out how to actually come up with his own original ideas instead of dredging up old John Howard plans.

    Maybe if they "review" and "audit" enough stuff they'll figure it out...
  • Review crazy.

    When this lot of knuckle heads have finished all their reviews, it will be time for the next election. They will then want to do reviews into their own reviews before implementing any of their non existent policies.
    Turnbull's fraudband will take longer to complete than Labor's FTTP because of all these unnecessary enquires and trials. What an incompetent, bunch of amateurs this government has as ministers and senators. All show and no go but a lot of blow (hot air).
  • On the ball Lastofthegoodguys

    Agree 100%.

    It's like Turnbull is trying desperately to justify his junk. Spending money trying to discredit anything to do with Labor and their far superior version of the NBN is NOT what Australians want. Hell paying over $40b for his version of crappy broadband (which again, will offer no real improvements and cost more then he thinks with the crappy lack of copper in the ground now), again, is NOT what Australians want.

    Liberal were always going to win the election I'm sure. Labor had made many enemies among the population in different areas of government. In many ways I DO think Liberal will do a better job in these areas.

    But NBN? Hell no. Labor had it right - do it once do it properly.

    Turnbull thinks his version is what is important to Australians and helped get Liberal over the line? Mate I have voted Libs for all my life EXCEPT this time because I KNEW Turnbull was going to be wasting a lot of time and money treading water making empty promises. I met the guy, talked about this before the election. He's a puppet. He has NO IDEA (what Australians want and NEED). I think in fact that Liberal would have had a more comfortable win if he'd promised to expedite the current FttP construction and within budget.

    Instead we're stuck with this dipstick. Wasting money trying to justify his actions. Wasting money dealing with Telstra trying to get copper which nobody but himself actually wants in the first place. Copper that used to belong to the taxpayer in the first place let us not forget, before that farcical privatization creating a giant monopoly. Who are in bed with Foxtel, who strongly do NOT want FttP NBN, because the competition would jeopardize their overpriced crap service. Spending megabucks on NBL, AFL, and now Game of Thrones and V8 Supercars exclusivity to try to force people onto $50 per month (which some are telling me still wouldn't cover full AFL OR Supercars), when with FttP NBN their whole empire would fall apart as ANY iTV provider could play.

    Imagine REAL competition for once in the Telco AND TV space. Of course Foxtel/Telstra friendly Turnbull would never want that.

    So he'll just jump in the water, flail his arms and tread for as long as he can, and keep wasting our money on reports we don't want or care about and pushing his agenda.

    Don't know how long I can put up with this guy.