NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley picked Mike Kaiser, former advisor to Queensland Labor Premier Anna Bligh, as NBN Co government relations and external affairs chief following a suggestion by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.
The revelation was made in Senate Estimates today when Liberal Senator Mary Jo Fisher quizzed NBN Co and the communications minister on the appointment of Kaiser, who was revealed to have been given remuneration worth $450,000 a year.
"I suggested [Kaiser] as a possible person with the relevant experience," Conroy said. Kaiser began work 1 December.
CEO of NBN Co Mike Quigley also said that no advertisements had been placed, and no candidates were shortlisted for the position.
"We made an assessment against what we think the job needed to have," Quigley said. He said that over 40 per cent of permanent employees of the company had come by way of referral.
Conroy was the only one to have referred Kaiser to Quigley, which surfaced under cross questioning by Fisher.
Senator Fisher: Did anyone else suggest Mr Kaiser to you?
Mike Quigley: Not that I recall.
Senator Fisher: So the minister was the only person to raise Mr Kaiser to you?
Mike Quigley: As far as I recall.
"The process was not dissimilar to what we've used for many other employees," Quigley said defending the hire.
When the name was raised, Quigley passed it on to human resources who organised two interviews and some reference checking.
"I think then I interviewed Mr Kaiser and the conclusion was he would be a good person for the job."