NBN not lobbying coalition: Albanese

NBN not lobbying coalition: Albanese

Summary: Australia's Communications Minister Anthony Albanese has defended the independence of the NBN board and its hiring of Bespoke Approach.


Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has denied claims that NBN Co board members contracted a lobbying firm to save their jobs should there be a change of government.

The board of NBN Co has hired the firm Bespoke Approach, which Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull claims is lobbying Coalition MPs.

The opposition's communications spokesperson said the firm has been talking up the achievements of NBN Co so its directors will keep their jobs — leading to allegations of misuse of taxpayer money.

Turnbull hinted last week that he might sack board members of the federal government-owned company if the Coalition is elected.

But Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the firm was hired only to help with public relations regarding the National Broadband Network.

It was set up by senior political figures, including former Liberal minister Alexander Downer, former Liberal staffer Ian Smith, and former Labor minister Nick Bolkus.

"Do I believe that a company employing a public relations company is in breach of company guidelines? Good luck with that ... get serious," Albanese told reporters in Sydney.

"They're a PR company led by Alexander Downer and Ian Smith, and if Malcolm Turnbull's got a problem with Alexander Downer and Ian Smith, the divisions in the Coalition go back a long way."

The NBN board is independent and makes its own decisions, he added.

"I say to Malcolm that it's time to stop playing politics with this, and to stop the personal attacks against NBN, whether it be the chair or the NBN Co board members," Albanese said.

Topics: NBN, Government AU, Australia

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  • Spin is all they have

    I was hoping a change with the departure of Conroy; clearly not the case.

    Albanese completely misrepresents the case for Bespoke; it time for many more in the media to turn up the heat.
    Richard Flude
    • So...

      Which Liberals have Bespoke approached then Richard?
  • Again Richard

    Got any proof Bespoke is indeed not simply a PR company led by two liberals no least? Or are you wearing your tin foil hat and simply worshiping at the altar of MT again, believing everything that comes out of that gnome's mouth?
    • Bespoke is a registered lobbyist

      Not a PR company. What more proof do you need.
      Richard Flude
    • in business

      people will join organisations to make money, that applies regardless of any political view or association they may or may not have. The NBN Co board hiring this company "Bespoke" is most unusual and indicates to me something is going on under the table that it not visible yet.
      Knowledge Expert
  • Today's NBN news

    "NBN costs set to soar past $60bn

    CONSTRUCTION contractors on the National Broadband Network are pushing to be paid up to 40 per cent more to do further work, fuelling fears of a cost blowout on Labor's flagship infrastructure project.


    "The root of the problem lies in, first of all, unrealistic expectations about how much all of this was going to cost, then jamming it down on the contractors, basically saying, 'Take it or leave it'," the industry source said"

    Major contractors failing, others threatening to walk away. The responsible ministers continuing to parrot "on time and budget" spin when by NBNCo's own metrics this is not the case.

    Who could have seen this coming? I'm surprised there wasn't warning signs;-)
    Richard Flude
  • Really?

    "Labor MPs have been running highly contestable and in some cases ''deliberately misleading'' advertisements for the national broadband network, experts say.
    The Labor advertisements range from blatant falsehoods (saying the Coalition's NBN will cost $5000, while Labor's will be ''free'') to misleading comparisons (comparing the highest speeds possible under Labor's NBN with the minimum guaranteed under the Coalition's) and assertions (that the Coalition's NBN would not support high definition video conferencing)."

    All paid for with taxpayers money. "This reckless spending must stop", nice one Kev;-)

    Another interesting story:
    "NBN Co contractors disconnected local business in Goodna, Queensland, on Monday."

    All going well.

    Josh, clearly not many NBN stories around. Can we hear more inaccurate quotes from the Minister?
    Richard Flude