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  • Opinion, Telecommunications - Written by on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 11:55 - 142 Comments

    Turnbull’s Quigley slander is flatly offensive

    opinion Malcolm Turnbull’s dogged attacks on the highly capable and transparent chief executive of the National Broadband Company are without basis and run contrary to the Shadow Communications Minister’s public call recently for truth, leadership and responsibility to re-enter Australia’s political sphere.

    One of the first tasks which Malcolm Turnbull set himself after being appointed Shadow Communications Minister in September 2010 was to take up a cause being championed by the Australian branch of the Murdoch News Inc empire at the time: To take down the chief executive of the National Broadband Network Company set up by the Labor Federal Government to enact its NBN policy.

    Appointed in July 2009 after a lengthy and distinguished career in the global telecommunications sector (you can read a full background check I commissioned on the executive at the time), Quigley is one of the few Australians to have held high-level office in a global technology giant as big as his long-time employer, French networking giant Alcatel-Lucent. He is also one of the few top-level executives globally and one of the only Australians of any stripe to have any substantial experience deploying the kind of fibre to the home infrastructure build which makes up the vast bulk of Labor’s NBN rollout.

    Many executives in his position would have declined the dubious honour of leading NBN Co. The chief executive position at the company is poorly paid by industry standards; certainly to Quigley, who is independently wealthy courtesy of his time at the top of Alcatel-Lucent, it would have seemed a pittance. This fact is illustrated by the fact that the NBN Co chief donated his first years’ earnings in the role to medical research.

    Then there was the political situation. In 2009, Australia’s NBN project was facing a highly uncertain future. The project required a decade of work and sustained political backing at the highest levels to reach fruition, but the then-Rudd Labor Government had already suffered an initial setback in the project after an expert committee showed that its previous, more limited NBN plan, was unworkable. The Opposition hadn’t paid much attention to Labor’s NBN plan previously – with then-Shadow Communications Minister Tony Smith issuing about one media release on the subject per annum – but it was clear that Labor would need to win at least two more elections to ensure the NBN’s ongoing survival.

    So why did Quigley take the role leading NBN Co – a role that would see him tasked with setting up a huge national infrastructure company from scratch, a company with the importance of Telstra? Why did he volunteer to place himself in the firing line of public and political opinion for at least half a decade? Why did this doyenne of the private sector abandon an already high-flying international career for a much lesser and comparatively poorly paid role implementing the vision of a Labor Government?

    I’ve followed Quigley’s every professional move for three years now in my capacity as a journalist covering Australia’s telecommunications sector. I’ve attended dozens of press conferences held by the man and asked him probing questions. I’ve listened to many of his speeches. I’ve asked industry figures and his colleagues what they think of him. So I feel I am somewhat qualified to answer this question.

    Quigley took the role of NBN Co chief executive for two reasons: To follow the ideal of public service after a lengthy career pursuing private sector profit, and because he believes the NBN project is fundamentally the right path for Australia to take.

    There was a certain naivety about this choice that Quigley made, a certain idealism. Like many technologists, the executive believes that technology has the capacity to make the world a better place if implemented correctly. It’s my opinion that he also shares with many of the sector’s leaders the belief that politics is somewhat of a sideshow before the onward march of technology.

    You can see this passion in the notorious speech he delivered in the midst of the 2010 Federal Election campaign (the full text is here in PDF format). As Gillard’s Labor camp looked on the verge of losing the campaign, Quigley made an impassioned argument for the technical strengths of Labor’s NBN plan, heavily criticising the Coalition’s rather anemic alternative. Some, including myself, criticised the NBN Co CEO at the time for what many saw as a breach of public service etiquette. It’s this same naivety which perhaps cost Quigley the chance at the chief executive role at Alcatel for which many clearly believed he was destined. In my studies of the man, Quigley always does what’s right – but perhaps not what is politically expedient.

    Some would argue that Malcolm Turnbull is also a leader who shies away from following political expediency as a tactic. Over the past several days I’ve been reading David Marr’s fascinating Quarterly Essay on the ‘political animal’ that is the current Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Marr tracks Abbott’s voracious rise to power over the past several decades; from his offensively anti-gay and well, frankly anti-almost everything modern history in student politics at the University of Sydney and then his gradual entrance into the Federal political arena.

    On the sidelines of Abbott’s rise sat Turnbull, who reported on his future rival for the Bulletin Magazine. The youthful Turnbull seemed somewhat taken aback by the popularity of the sometimes rabid Abbott, who was at the time contributing his own inflammatory pieces for The Australian; one is left with the impression that Turnbull believed himself a man of principles, while disdaining Abbott’s lack of them.

    Then too, one does wonder whether Turnbull would still be Opposition Leader – or, perhaps, even Prime Minister, if he had made a little more allowance for political expediency in his ill-fated support for the Rudd Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in the closing months of 2009. Just one more vote, we must remind ourselves, would have seen the Member for Wentworth prevail in the Liberal party room against Abbott.

    However, when it comes to his relationship with Quigley and the NBN, Turnbull has shown nothing but political expediency.

    Some may recall the distasteful grilling which Turnbull very publicly subjected a bewildered Quigley to in May 2011 with respect to allegations of corruption at his past employer Alcatel, at a hearing of the Federal Parliament’s joint committee on the National Broadband Network. At the time, Turnbull very publicly stated that there was no witch hunt being conducted against Quigley, but it’s hard to escape the impression that if it wasn’t a witch hunt, that Turnbull was taking some very strong cues from the Cold War era US Senator Joe McCarthy at the time.

    Article after article appeared in News Ltd publications investigating Quigley’s background at Alcatel-Lucent; spurious court document after spurious court document was dragged out of US and Central American law enforcement authorities; vague allegation after vague allegation was hurled at the NBN Co chief executive, and Turnbull was the front man for much of the commentary, always ready with a quote about how Quigley had ‘questions’ to answer on the matter, always ready to raise the issue in public again.

    Of course, few in political circles ever dared say it out loud – and certainly no subscriber of a News Limited newspaper ever read it in print – but there was never any evidence linking Quigley to the corruption scandal which occurred at Alcatel in countries such as Costa Rica in the years up until 2006 and which spurred Turnbull’s relentless pursuit of Quigley, with the wholehearted backing of much of Australia’s conservative press. In mid-2011 the issue died as Quigley’s personal integrity stood the test of some of the most intense media and political scrutiny which Australia has ever seen.

    For 12 months that dust has settled between Turnbull and Quigley, but now the Member for Wentworth is back on the hunt, with a new edge on his headsman’s axe.

    iTNews reports that Turnbull told a community meeting in the Sydney suburb of Epping on Monday that he did not believe Quigley had been “the right choice” to lead NBN Co, and that Quigley’s lack of “experience” in building fibre networks may be behind the NBN’s ‘dismal’ rollout schedule. He also implied that in a Coalition Government, “new management” would likely be required.

    Now, it’s hard not to be staggered at the depth of Turnbull’s hypocrisy here – given the MP’s recent highly public call for Australia’s politicians to practice more “truth, leadership and responsibility”. But perhaps the Liberal MP has become used to hypocrisy in the NBN portfolio: Demanding an incredible level of financial detail on Labor’s NBN project while providing none of his own for the Coalition’s; misleading the Australian public about the Coalition’s vision of “completing” the NBN objective while actually planning to halt and dramatically modify it; personally investing in telcos rolling out fibre to the home in other countries while slamming Australia’s own fibre to the home rollout.

    Just what, a casual observer might ask, has Mike Quigley done wrong, in his NBN Co role? By all accounts the company is run extremely well. Despite a constantly shifting landscape – changed requirements around greenfields estates, an extremely complex deal with Telstra and a wholesale change of the direction of the NBN rollout following a deal with the independents after the 2010 Federal Election – the NBN rollout is only six months late. Construction contracts in every Australian state and territory have been signed, equipment deals are all laid down, NBN Co’s satellite launch is on track … and all this, while Quigley has rapidly set up a new organisation composed of more than a thousand staff representing much of the cream of Australia’s technology sector.

    What, pray tell, has Mr Quigley done to deserve Turnbull’s implication – and the implication of other senior Liberal figures such as Joe Hockey — that he be sacked?

    Quigley has not embezzled NBN funds. Unlike Turnbull, he has not conflicts of interest in his position – and in fact, he has deliberately abstained from being involved in any purchasing decision involving his former employer, Alcatel-Lucent. He has not misused Government funds. In fact, he has used them in precisely the way his master, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, has directed. He has kept NBN Co within its broad financial commitments and budget, given the scale of the NBN project, and he has transparently answered any question which I have ever seen any journalist put to him – even the most offensive, base ones that question his personal integrity.

    Quigley even had the grace to publicly invite Turnbull to a private briefing with him to discuss the technical aspects of the Coalition’s preferred fibre to the node technology; an invitation Turnbull never took up, to my knowledge.

    The public sector executive which I would most compare Mike Quigley to is Greg Farr, the current Department of Defence chief information officer who also served as one of the most senior IT executives at the Australian Taxation Office. Like Quigley, Farr was also placed in charge of government technology initiatives worth billions, which were critical to Australia’s future. Like Quigley, Farr had a devotion to public service and fundamentally believed in the rightness of what he was doing. Like Quigley, Farr was revered by many in Australia’s technology sector as a calm head in the middle of a highly politicised situation; a man who would speak quietly, “without fear or favour”, as Quigley put it in the midst of the 2010 Federal Election, mildly telling the truth with a gentle dab of self-referential humour that charmed his audience. Like Farr, Quigley is humble.

    On Australia Day this year, the Governor-General awarded Greg Farr a Public Service Medal for his several decades of work serving the Australian people. If the Coalition Government wins the next Federal Election, Mike Quigley is likely to be shown the door, if he hasn’t already pre-emptively resigned. To my mind, that would be a great tragedy. And there’s certainly no “truth, leadership and responsibility” in Malcolm Turnbull’s view on the matter. What there is, is the basest political expediency. A political expediency I had formerly believed that Turnbull had most attributed to Tony Abbott.

    AS I write these words, I know that they will be echoed by very few in the Australian media. Turnbull’s popularity and profile is such that his criticism of Quigley will be taken seriously by many, and this one article will doubtless be drowned out in the clamor of articles repeating the Liberal MP’s views. Likewise, Quigley has no real way to defend himself against this kind of attack.

    But there are few more causes more just than the defence of an innocent man; and I will not allow Turnbull to slander the NBN Co chief executive in this manner without defence. If you want to sack someone, Mr Turnbull, it is incumbent upon you to provide evidence and a rationale for doing so. Anything less is more than unethical — in our carefully regulated society, I would argue it’s criminal.

    Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull

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    1. Sydney
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink |

      The sad thing is that as a member of the opposition, Turnbull isn’t held to any of the same standards of truth as NBN Co or the government. Opposition politicians can fabricate willy-nilly and get away with it, as long as they doesn’t outright defame an individual outside of parliament.

      • Posted 25/09/2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink |

        In my view, the treatment of Quigley by sections of the media and politicians has been defamation.

        • Chas
          Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink |

          Agreed Renai…it is strongly reminiscent of US Senator Joe McCarthy during the 1950s.

          • Chas
            Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink |

            Sadly there are no more Edward R Murrows…except you mate. :)

        • Tim
          Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink |

          I would agree Renai,

          From the little I understand about the law in this area the onus of proof is on Turnbull to prove that his statements were correct and not defamatory. If it were to ever go to court Malcolm would have to rely on the defence that is was merely opiniotave and not meant to be factual at all. Then he would have to argue the sticky question of why he is not using factual points when being so derogatory.

        • Paul Grenfell
          Posted 25/09/2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink |

          agree..

    2. Posted 25/09/2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink |

      Great article.

    3. Bob.H
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink |

      Thanks for a very good article Renai.

      I have never seen anything that has even remotely looked like Mr Quigley being anything but an adornment for the NBN Co which any enterprise in Australia would be proud to call their own.

      I have lost all respect for Malcolm Turnbull and his cohorts and consider them a blight on the Australian political landscape. Bob Menzies must be rolling over in his grave.

    4. Paul Maynard
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink |

      Well said Renai!

    5. NPSF3000
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink |

      “Anything less is more than unethical — in our carefully regulated society, I would argue it’s criminal.

      Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull”

      I find that hilarious.

      Moving on, yes Turnbull is smart, and in simple terms ‘evil’. He willingly and repeatedly does wrong for reasons unclear. It surprises me you are still surprised by this.

    6. Posted 25/09/2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink |

      Thankyou Renai. Truly thankyou.

      I have personally been in a situation where my name has been made mud by politics, partly through my own mistakes and I know how it feels, although obviously nowhere NEAR to the level of public scrutiny Quigley has been subjected too.

      This attack by Mr Turnbull is disgusting, in every sense. I have decided myself to write him am email as such and also to several newspapers. I have little hope they’ll be printed, but I must try.

      I am afraid my respect for Turnbull has all but vanished now. He has done little but be completely hypocritical and false in the past 6 months. And I’m afraid that I no longer would consider voting for the Opposition even if he WAS in power unless his attitude were to change overnight.

      The mainstream media may not have picked it up. But those of us who care appreciate your doing so. And it is important. Someone’s personal life is NOT fair game in ANY political situation. And baseless slander is even worse.

      Cheers.

    7. Murdoch
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink |

      I’ll take the man who does what’s right over one who sacrifices his integrity for cheap politics any day? That, at least to me, is the difference between a player, and a leader.

      Wish I could say the same about our current ….. errrr …. “leaders” …. If you can call them that. That includes “would be leaders” like Turnbull as well.

    8. Dominique M.
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink |

      > Why did this doyenne of the private sector abandon an already high-flying international career for a much lesser and comparatively poorly paid role implementing the vision of a Labor Government?

      Actually, he’s gone one step further. I’ll just quote the SMH:

      > The man in charge of the national broadband network says he will forgo annual bonuses worth more than $300,000 because of personal objections to short-term incentive schemes. [ ... ] “I came to an agreement with the board that I would not participate in the bonus scheme. That’s my personal decision. My motivation for taking this job was to get this network built,” he explained. Mr Quigley donated his first $2 million salary to medical research. Last year he took home $1.9 million but did not take part in NBN Co’s executive bonus scheme, forfeiting a potential $314,000 bonus.

      http://www.smh.com.au/business/nbn-chief-voluntarily-surrenders-bonuses-20120608-200xj.html

      • Richard Ure
        Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink |

        Even after the GFC, Opposition members would have us believe private sector good, public sector bad. Yet hire someone who has spent his life in the private sector and an important part of that life in a leadership position and all of a sudden his leadership competence is questioned.

        Is it because Mike Quigley does not believe in performance bonuses, the cancer that caused the GFC, that he is no longer welcome in the short term world of the greed circle?

    9. Sathias
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink |

      Well done on holding Malcolm to account on this Renai. After his speech a few weeks ago on truth and honesty in politics, he should be held to a higher standard, and his continued attacks on Quigley are disgustingly hypocritical.

    10. Posted 25/09/2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink |

      Came expecting list of slander and rebuttal, left feeling like I’d just read Quigley’s resume.

      What exactly is the “slander” being referred to here? I have no context for this discussion so it just seems like a bunch of strawmen.

      • Posted 25/09/2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink |

        @trog

        Did you read the article?….

        Turnbull pushed his involvement with corruption when he knew there was no evidence. And now and for many months he’s been saying he is not equipped to run a company rolling out a FTTH network.

        It may not be slander by the legal definition. But its pretty damn lose. Turnbull knows how to skirt the line.

        • Richard Ure
          Posted 25/09/2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink |

          He also knows the law of defamation is a woefully inadequate remedy in many, if not most, cases. And that Mike Quigley has better things to do than chase a rich person like Malcolm Turnbull through the corridors of the state’s defamation courts.

          As to how defamatory the statement is, it seems likely that if the Oppositions’s spokesman in the communications portfolio casts doubt on the management competence of a professional manager, that person’s reputation, in the eyes of at least some, is likely to be damaged. And that, worse still, it is likely to cause unnecessary distress.

      • Murdoch
        Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink |

        I wouls ask you to please read the links provided by Renai in this article. Additionally, Google is your friend. Because you perhaps haven’t followed the NBN project and it’s nuances over the last year or two, it’s a good idea to have a look.

        There’s a reason why Quigley rates so highly. I chalenge you to find anything at all that puts him anywhere near impropriety. Don’t just read transvripts, watch the video, watch his face when the questions degenerate into near personal attacks. Yet he continues to conduct himself as a consummate professional. That’s the measure of a man right there.

        • Murdoch
          Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink |

          Please excuse my spelling. I have big fingers, and typing on an iPad is hit and miss for me.

    11. Pete Moran
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink |

      The Neo-Cons including Turnbull have very little to offer other than ad hom attacks. Of course, they’re assisted greatly by their campaign arm at Ltd News*.

      * I encourage others to use Ltd News as the proper descriptor

    12. Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink |

      “Additionally, Google is your friend. Because you perhaps haven’t followed the NBN project and it’s nuances over the last year or two, it’s a good idea to have a look.”

      When an article is given a title like this I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect that I can come to the article and leave educated without having to do all the research myself.

      The headline states that Turnbull has slandered Quigly. It’s not clear to me after reading the article exactly what the extend of the slander is, aside from a single paragraph about “corruption”.

      I’m just saying, slander is a big charge to lay at anyone’s feet, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I’m not prepared to go wading through a billion other links to find it all myself – if it’s the point of the article, then at least lay out the evidence somewhere instead of just writing down a list of accomplishments.

      I’m not leaping to the defence of Turnbull or hatin’ on Quigley. As I said, I don’t know the context. I clicked on this article because of the headline expecting to get educated and I left feeling like I had less information than I did when I started.

      • Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink |

        Now you’re just trolling.

        If Renai included the content of all the links, the story would be #eleventy pages long. Don’t moan about it because you couldn’t be faffed reading them.

        • Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink |

          It’s already a pretty long article, dude. Do you really think there’s enough in there – in any of the actual many words of text that are already on the page – that describes the slander, and describes why it is offensive?

          (As an aside, I find it bizarre that I’m suddenly being attacked here, instead of people just telling me where the actual slander is and why it’s wrong and why I’m blind for not being able to see it. Which of the links is it encompassed in? The only one I can find that is related is in this article: http://delimiter.com.au/2011/05/17/in-defence-of-an-honourable-man/ in a link which contains the text ” a precise and highly targeted personality attack on NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley” – which is hyperlinked to this article: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/investigations/i-got-it-wrong-michael-quigley-tells-mps/story-fn6tcs23-1226057092055 (titled “I got it wrong, Michael Quigley tells MPs”), in which the only thing they report is that Turnbull “said Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and the government should have been more aware of Mr Quigley’s role with Alcatel”.)

          • Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink |

            hey trog,

            I can’t actually include more than about a paragraph of what he actually said without breaching iTNews’ copyright in this case. Apologies, but the iTNews article is freely available online and I have linked to it. I assume readers will take my recommendation and read it themselves ;)

            Cheers,

            Renai

            • Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink |

              Renai – so to clarify so we’re all on the same page, you’re referring exclusively to the ITNews article in this particular instance?

              Several of the other people who have helpfully commented at me seem to have been confused that this was the focus point of the article and have just invited me to “read all the links”. (If only they’d just said “read link number 9!”)

            • CMOTDibbler
              Posted 25/09/2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink |

              I don’t see any slander in the ITNews article. Turnbull is blaming Quigley for the delays in the NBN roll out. As far as I can tell from Turnbull’s recent comments that’s about greenfield delays. That may or may not be a valid criticism of Quigley but it sure ain’t slander.

              Turnbull also says Quigley hasn’t built a network like the NBN and that it would have been better to get someone who had to head the NBNCo. That may or may not be a valid opinion but that sure ain’t slander either.

              I don’t know where the fault lies for the greenfield issues. I think Quigley’s done a good job in implementing government policy and policy changes. Turnbull disagrees. He is allowed to voice his opinion.

              • Posted 25/09/2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink |

                @CMOT

                But see, Turnbull is not speaking it as his OPINION. He is speaking it as his professional analysis as Opposition Comms leader. THAT is where it becomes wrong.

                If Turnbull were saying it as Turnbull, at a dinner party, that is his opinion. In the public sphere, in the context of his position, it is professional slander. I don’t see how it can only be considered opinion when he has said they, as the new government, may very well take a look at if Quigley is good enough for the job. That is a PROFESSIONAL statement- not opinion.

                • Posted 25/09/2012 at 4:28 pm | Permalink |

                  Precisely. It’s more than opinion — it’s a prognostication of what we can expect in terms of policy if Turnbull became Communications Minister.

                • CMOTDibbler
                  Posted 25/09/2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink |

                  Turnbull is offering his opinion as shadow communications minister. The clear indication is that, one way or another, Quigley will not remain at the head of the NBNCo if the Coalition wins the next election. We may not agree with Turnbull’s opinion but that doesn’t make it slanderous.

                  My comments are not about the validity or otherwise of Turnbull’s opinions. I just disagree with Renai’s attempt here to portray them as slander.

                  • Posted 25/09/2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink |

                    @CMOT

                    Renai is portraying it as professional slender, not legal slander (although his comments regarding corruption that had been completely disproven were close).

                    He is getting away with it because he is a politician. He is attempting to damage Quigley and NBNCo. with his professional opinion. That is professional slander.

                    • Posted 25/09/2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink |

                      I think, given the fact that Turnbull publicly linked Quigley with corruption and has said he doesn’t think he is qualified for his job, that there could be grounds to say this is legal slander — or maybe defamation is the correct term? I’m not sure. I don’t think Quigley would pull out the lawyers on this one. But I do think there could possibly be grounds for it.

                      • Posted 25/09/2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink |

                        @Renai

                        Indeed. Agreed. Quigley is far too decent to call the lawyers out. But he would have my full backing if he did. And legal grounds possibly too, as you say.

          • Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink |

            I’m not attacking anyone. I’m just suggesting you read the articles before going off on a ranty tangent.

            …and as Renai just said, it’s not as if he can just paste it all in.

          • Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink |

            @trog

            It’s already a pretty long article, dude.

            You don’t read much do you?….

            Seriously, if you’re after a quick news fix, why are you reading a tech/telecom news site? This is also a blog piece, as denoted at the top. They are quite often longer as it is Renai’s opinion he needs to explain.

            News is not 1D. You need to often read several articles if you don’t know context of the first.

            • Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink |

              Actually, I read a lot. I read so much I would be surprised if there were many people that read more than me. I read on my phone, so I read when I’m in the elevator leaving my apartment, and I read while I’m waiting in line for Subway. I read at least an hour in bed before I go to sleep.

              And this isn’t news – this is an opinion piece (you can see it at the start; Renai helpfully and awesomely labels all the stories here with what category they fall into). As such, his opinion (“Turnbull slandered Quigly”) should be supported by the text of the article.

              My complaint (repeated again) is that despite reading the whole article, I still cannot form my own opinion about whether Renai’s opinion is valid – even after clicking through to several of the articles, including the ITNews piece which is apparently the focus for the complaint.

              So far I’ve just been told I can’t read, or I’m lazy, or I’m trolling. Despite everyone’s apparent ability to read my post, only a few people have actually seemed to have read the article themselves to be able to respond and address my issues – which should have been easy if my complaints were invalid, simply by providing a list of the slanders and a list of why they’re invalid.

              • PointZeroOne
                Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink |

                So you want it in dot points and spoon fed to you?

                I’m sure if you write a letter of complaint to the Editor of Delimiter he’ll get Renai to write it up in a way that you can understand.

                • Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink |

                  I can see how you would think that, if you had some sort of brain disease that made you forget everything I’d just written the instant you press the reply button. (I hope the irony of your post supporting my case is not lost on you but I suspect it might be.)

                  • Richard Ure
                    Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink |

                    trog

                    Try http://goo.gl/psmgv. I was at the forum and the story is an accurate account of what was said.

              • Posted 25/09/2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink |

                @trog

                Actually, I read a lot. I read so much I would be surprised if there were many people that read more than me.

                Mate, I read several hours a day and even I wouldn’t be silly enough to say I read more than anyone else here.

                The slander that Renai is referring to overall is Turnbull’s waging personal attacks for political gain on Mike Quigley. It is not the technical legal definition of slander, but the colloquial definition (you slander my name for no reason etc.) The specific mention of slander is about his constant berating several months back about Quigley’s involvement in corruption within Alcatel Lucent of which he was never in an way implicated. And yet Turnbull kept saying he had ‘questions to answer’. That is slander by proxy, or slander by absence of facts.

      • Josh
        Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink |

        About halfway through the article is a link to this article published yesterday: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/316706,turnbull-attacks-quigley-over-nbn-management.aspx

        I think that puts this article in context.

        • Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink |

          I read that paragraph but I decided that wasn’t wroth reading the article because the language was so tame I couldn’t believe that was the “slander” being referred to. It says Turnbull made three claims:

          - Quigly is not the right choice
          - Quigly has a lack of experience building fibre networks
          - The NBN has a dismal rollout schedule.

          They are hardly what I would call flatly offensive slander. They’re statements that should be easy to address (well, probably not the first one). But the next paragraph just launches into what seems to be a strawman about Turnbull being a hypocrite about something.

      • Murdoch
        Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink |

        How long do you want the article to be? Renai has provided you with links to previous articles which he has both examined Quigley’s character, and the Coalition attacks upon it. If you’re too lazy to read those links, then are you really “expecting to get educated”?

    13. nonny-moose
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink |

      he says Quigley has “never built a network” – im presuming in the personal, hands on usage of built.

      Has Thodey? did Linton? im sure there are several execs of aussie ISPs who have never laid a run in their life to save themselves – Sol in particular comes to mind; he ‘built’ the nextG network in the same sense Quigley is doing the NBN now. hes a Bbus and MBA – where were you then, Malcolm, calling him out for being the wrong pick to head Telstra?

      ‘ken hypocrite.

      i would say Quigley is well due an apology, but given the state of Parliament Malcolm laments, and is currently contributing to, i doubt he will ever recieve it. id be tempted not to accept it until Malcolm actually does as he says, rather than turning around and immediately going back on his word. such apologies are valueless.

      • Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink |

        Neither has Turnbull, of course.

        Turnbull believes that just because someone popped the original business plan for Ozemail in front of him, and he felt it was “a good investment” so popped some money into it, doesn’t mean he knows much about how to build a commercial telecommunications network.

        It only proves he can read a business plan and find it “attractive”.

        Just like he finds investing in France Telecom and Telefonica “attractive”.

        Still doesn’t mean he knows how to build a network.

        • Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink |

          “doesn’t” should be “does”

        • Posted 25/09/2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink |

          Are we reading the same ITNews article? I don’t see anywhere where Turnbull is putting his hand up for the job of running the NBN.

          He is just saying, as far as I can tell in this ITNews article, that the NBN is an infrastructure project and it should be managed by someone with infrastructure experience. He’s not saying they should get someone who has “laid a run” – he’s implying that they need someone who has built, like, intercontinental railroads or something, because that is the scope of this project.

          He is saying that it is unequivocally not a project where you can slap down some cables with a bit of networking knowledge and get it done.

          Note: I have no idea what Quigley did at Alcatel and DON’T CARE. I am just pointing out that Turnbull is just saying that in his opinion, whatever Quigley’s prior experience was, it is not suitable for an infrastructure project of this size. Again, for the avoidance of doubt, I DON’T KNOW if that is the case and I DON’T CARE, but I feel like people are all over the place on what Turnbull actually said at this “community meeting” and getting on the same baseline is probably a little bit important.

          (I also find it a little amusing that the GP mentions Sol Trujillo building the NextG network like it was a terrible thing, but to the best of my knowledge Telstra’s NextG network is considered the best service for mobile carriers in the country.)

          • Posted 25/09/2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink |

            “I have no idea what Quigley did at Alcatel and DON’T CARE.”

            You should care — because it’s an important issue. For Quigley’s background, see this article:

            http://www.zdnet.com/mike-quigley-the-background-check-1339297634/

            • Posted 25/09/2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink |

              Boy, I wish you hadn’t stopped reading after that sentence! Cherry picking that line and trying to call me out on it is a bit rough considering how carefully I tried to explain what I was saying :( I’m less interested in Quigley’s history than I am in the specifics of the claims that Turnbull is making about him so that they can be refuted on a claim-by-claim basis (hence, my irritated first post that this just reads like a resume of Quigley rather than a critique of the alleged slander).

              I repeat: Turnbull is saying Quigley doesn’t have infrastructure-building experience. If it’s such a ridiculous statement, why is it so hard to just point to a handful of facts that say “here is where Quigley has demonstrated such experience”? If infrastructure-building isn’t that important, then why is it so hard to point to some facts that demonstrate why?

              ALL of Turnbull’s complaints seem to stem from one area: that the NBN is behind schedule and “failed to deliver” as a result. That seems to be another thing that there should be plenty of facts to support – is it behind schedule? Has it failed to deliver?

              The ZDNet article doesn’t address either of those things.

              • Posted 25/09/2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink |

                @trog

                Quigley worked as COO of Alcatel-Lucent. They are one of the largest fibre technology companies on the planet. They work closely with dozen of Telco’s across the globe to install fibre, including GPON like the NBN, with their technology. So they KNOW how to design, plan and build telecommunications infrastructure. As COO Quigley would have been heavily involved in the ‘operations’ which includes complex design and planning cooperation with Telci’s who sign on for Alcatel-Lucent equipment. THAT is his experience. He did it for many years.

                ALL of Turnbull’s complaints seem to stem from one area: that the NBN is behind schedule and “failed to deliver” as a result. That seems to be another thing that there should be plenty of facts to support – is it behind schedule? Has it failed to deliver?

                Renai has covered this extensively. You enjoy reading, as I do, so look back in delimiters archives. I have my own blog on it also:

                http://nbninfo.blogspot.com.au

                Another good one is http://nbnexplained.org

                There are many reasons the NBN was ‘delayed’ and none which say it has failed completely to deliver. For a start it is only 9 months into a 10 year build. Little early to say it’s all failed don’t you think?

                • Posted 25/09/2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink |

                  Finally! A response that’s not just calling me lazy or implying I’m stupid.

                  Thank you for the additional info. I have subscribed to both of those sites and look forward to reading what they have to say on the issue.

                  Regarding the Quigley/Alcatel-Lucent issue – that’s cool. I don’t have a problem with Quigley. He sounds like a cool dude; I was especially impressed with his not taking bonuses or whatever when he started at NBN.

                  However, I stress again that I think the complaints Turnbull has are specifically about the NBN as a country-wide infrastructure project. I think if someone could point to something specific Quigley’s history like “he oversaw the deployment of fibre around the country of Costa Rica” or even some town or something – something that was an actual historical event on his Facebook timeline or something, then it would simply stop Turnbull from saying he has no experience in that area and (hopefully) shut him about that (..until he find something else to bitch about).

                  Regarding the NBN’s “failure to deliver” – I agree it’s too early to tell, but in addition, as a citizen, I have the following facts:

                  1) I can’t get the NBN and I live in a major Australian city
                  2) No-one I know can get, or has, the NBN yet
                  3) The presence of the NBN has made no changes to the commercial costs of bandwidth in this country (which affects our business).

                  In that sense, the NBN has failed to deliver to me personally. I am aware some people have it and seem to be enjoying it, but I’m also aware that the deployment and uptake is slower than expected – which makes me wonder what other parts of the whole NBN business plan are wrong.

                  • PointZeroOne
                    Posted 25/09/2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink |

                    “Regarding the NBN’s “failure to deliver” – I agree it’s too early to tell, but in addition, as a citizen, I have the following facts:
                    1) I can’t get the NBN and I live in a major Australian city
                    2) No-one I know can get, or has, the NBN yet
                    3) The presence of the NBN has made no changes to the commercial costs of bandwidth in this country (which affects our business).
                    In that sense, the NBN has failed to deliver to me personally. I am aware some people have it and seem to be enjoying it, but I’m also aware that the deployment and uptake is slower than expected – which makes me wonder what other parts of the whole NBN business plan are wrong.”

                    Are you seriously saying all that? You’ve just said it’s too early to tell, then you go on with your points. Which are pointless because the NBN hasn’t finished being rolled out, you know it’s too early to say all that.

                  • Annie
                    Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink |

                    I have the NBN connected, trog. As a trial user I am very impressed with the overall process and service.
                    For business it is fantastic, enabling our business to access a cheaper yet superior service.

                  • GongGav
                    Posted 25/09/2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink |

                    I’ve stayed out of this for the afternoon (mostly because I have work to do…) but just here I thought I’d interject.

                    Mainly, Turnbulls complaints that Quigley is ill suited for the role. The short response is that there is (probably) no other Australian better suited for the role.

                    To quote from Renai’s article: “Quigley is one of the few Australians to have held high-level office in a global technology giant” – yet Turnbull repeatedly attacks this provable fact, and is basically saying its not good enough. The follow on is that he repeatedly implies that some corruption issues at Alcatel-Lucent somehow involved Quigley when its been repeatedly proven he had no involvement.

                    These are mud slinging arguments, designed to undermine public confidence in Labor’s NBN. And in other areas would be slander. Thats what Renai is pointing out. Its not just one mans opinion, its damaging statements against provable history. You or I make the statements in the same forums, we get sued.

                    The irony for me, and as others have pointed out, is that Turnbull constantly declares that private enterprise gives the solutions every time, yet when they actually DO give a solution (ie, Quigleys global experience in this very field), and it goes against his agenda, then he attacks it…

                    If you stick around the site long enough, Renai will post the same information again, in a different way and area. It comes up about once a month.. As he has a largely loyal crowd, we’ve all read it before, and seen the evidence for ourselves. So when someone like yourself comes along and says “where’s the proof?”, we all mentally KNOW where it is, but sometimes fail to make it clear to someone new to the site.

                    Its sort of like our minds screaming “ITS RIGHT THERE!!! WHY CANT YOU SEE IT???” when the reality is you just havent been exposed as repeatedly as the rest of us. And I think thats coming across as a personal attack, when its not meant to.

                  • NPSF3000
                    Posted 25/09/2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink |

                    “In that sense, the NBN has failed to deliver to me personally.”

                    The recipes have been planned.
                    The shopping has been done.
                    The food is being cooked.
                    Dinner is scheduled to start in 20 mins…

                    Man, this restaurant has failed to deliver! I mean, I’ve not got any food in-front of me so it’s obviously rubbish!

                    The NBN has not failed to deliver to you, you’ve failed to understand what is going to be delivered and when it was going to be delivered.

                  • Daniel
                    Posted 25/09/2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink |

                    trog,

                    Your a troll, nothing else – you haven’t even been on the subject of the article that’s in question.

                    This article isn’t about you, this is about Mike Quigley, who has received another set of personal attacks by the Shadow Communications Minister, who in a party that previously character assassinated by the Coalition party when he (Mike Quigley) accepted the roll of CEO of NBNCo.

                    The NBN is a national project, it will get you eventually, just like everyone else.

                    • Tinman_au
                      Posted 26/09/2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink |

                      trogs cool, he does a lot of good work with aussie gamers (gamearena and ausgamers) and he’s always been pretty sensible from the posts I’ve read from him there, I think everyone here has gotten a little carried away thinking he’s trying to troll when he’s just trying to get his head around the thing…

              • NBNAlex
                Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink |

                I find it most humorous trog, that you pedantically question Quigley’s credentials to roll out FttP (because he never actually rolled out the fibre personally… sigh). But in the next breath infer that the successful NextG was all Sol Tujillo’s doing :/

          • Posted 25/09/2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink |

            @trog

            (I also find it a little amusing that the GP mentions Sol Trujillo building the NextG network like it was a terrible thing, but to the best of my knowledge Telstra’s NextG network is considered the best service for mobile carriers in the country.)

            Your reading skills do indeed seem to need some work. He did not say the ZnextG network was bad at all. He never mentioned its quality. He said saying Quigley is not qualified to be the CEO of NBNCo and oversee a FTTH rollout is the same as saying Sol was not qualified to be the CEO of Telstra and rollout a great 3G network….which he did.

            Note: I have no idea what Quigley did at Alcatel and DON’T CARE.

            Then why are you bothering to read this or argue about it at all. You may read a lot, but it doesn’t appear you learn very much from it?

            • Posted 25/09/2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink |

              See above response to Renai

          • Bern
            Posted 25/09/2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink |

            “Note: I have no idea what Quigley did at Alcatel and DON’T CARE.”

            Even if that time at Alcatel were spent rolling out FTTH infrastructure?

            The ZDnet profile Renai points you to explicitly mentions that Quigley may have been instrumental in Alcatel-Lucent winning an equipment contract for AT&T’s Lightspeed fibre upgrade project.

            So, you SHOULD care. It’s highly relevant that Quigley has past experience with large-scale fibre deployments, when Turnbull alleges he’s inexperienced in that particular role.

            • Posted 25/09/2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink |

              “Even if that time at Alcatel were spent rolling out FTTH infrastructure?”

              If that’s what he did, then that would be useful experience. If that’s really what he did, then it should be trivial to point at Turnbull’s comments and say “what the crap are you talking about, dude? This guy has heaps of large-scale infrastructure experience!”

              But…

              “The ZDnet profile Renai points you to explicitly mentions that Quigley may have been instrumental in Alcatel-Lucent winning an equipment contract for AT&T’s Lightspeed fibre upgrade project.”

              Does that qualify as having large scale infrastructure experience? Or is that just being a great salesmen? Landing a deal is (in my mind) far less useful than overseeing the deployment and implementation of that deal.

              Again, if he actually DID do that – great! It’s easy. Point to that and tell Turnbull to shut up. Game over. But there’s nothing I’m reading here or in these linked articles that suggest that is the case, which because I unfortunately am cursed to think about these things critically, leads me to believe that Turnbull might not able to be corrected on this issue.

              • Murdoch
                Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink |

                Anyone else find that Quigley’s experience with rolling out large scale infrastructure is on par with asking the CEO of Intel whether he’s ever personally commissioned a data centre?

                Both claims are as ridiculous as each other. Why? Because I’m sure both would have played roles in their respective areas. Quigley wasn’t the guy that commissioned infrastructure, he’s that guy’s boss. I fail to see how leading a team of people qualified for that job, and actually being one of them at some stage of their career matters.

                That’s like asking Turnbull to spot a fake email.

                O wait ………

                P.S. By the way, I’m of the opinion that Quigley would have commissioned WAN infrastructure at some stage of his career. Widening that out to a national scale rollout isn’t necessariily more difficult. Sometimes more is just more, especially so in the computer,electronics and network engineering space where solutions are designed to be modular.

              • Richard Ure
                Posted 25/09/2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink |

                “then it should be trivial to point at Turnbull’s comments and say “what the crap are you talking about, dude?” It’s not trivial because Malcolm just goes to another forum and repeats this type of nonsense all over again. Like “cheaper, faster” “the NBN” not “a NBN” and “it’s going to cost $100M and take 20 years”

          • nonny-moose
            Posted 25/09/2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink |

            now thats putting words in my mouth. i never said that it was a bad thing that Trujillo built the NextG network; merely that by the lights Malcolm is applying to Quigley he should have been equally upset with Sol at the time. he wasn’t – ergo it is not really the problem MT has made it out to be. and hes a hypcrite for applying one standard to the one man and another to Quigley.

    14. Paul Thompson
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink |

      Perhaps Malcolm wants to ship Quigley out and bring in Sol Trujillo instead? Frankly, I had thought more of Turnbull than this. I suppose that I have been trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.

      Now I am beginning to think that Keating was right all along, and that Turnbull has absolutely no judgement.

    15. Murdoch
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink |

      One thing I have noticed about Renai’s previous article is that linking to the Parliament House transcript (which provided the juicier details from the Coalition’s own mouths) doesn’t appear to be working. Was hoping to point Trog there, but can’t find it … anyone else know how to get it back?

    16. Abel Adamski
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink |

      Actually, maybe one of the heads of a major private sector possibly Greenfields builders I womder?

    17. Annie
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink |

      Actually you don’t have to do all the research yourself as Renai includes links relating to his points.

      Turnbull has been unfair in his attacks on Quigley and on the NBN in general. Then he talks about integrity in politicians, totally discrediting himself.

      It will be a sad day for Australia if Turnbull gets his way and destroys to good work done by Quigley and Co.

    18. Richard Ure
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink |

      What do Mike Quigley and Jorn Utzon have in common? Or Steve Jobs in the John Sculley days?

      And we all know how that ended.

      • NBNAlex
        Posted 25/09/2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink |

        +1

    19. Simon Reidy
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink |

      Brilliant article Renai. Quigley deserves ten times the respect he’s given by the Coalition and mainstream media. Turnbull should be ashamed for these unwarranted attacks.

      I’m also getting the feeling that you are tiring of giving Turnbull a break (you’ve always been extremely fair when reporting his statements, and given the man every chance to clarify his position). However given he still ignores Delimiter’s questions, and his lies and rhetoric are stepping up a notch again, Turnbull deserves no more respect than the rest of the coalition clowns at the end of the day. He just wears better suits and has a superfluous vocabulary.

      • Posted 25/09/2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink |

        I am indeed getting tired of giving Turnbull a break — because he is consistently demonstrating a certain pattern of behaviour now — a pattern which I will not tolerate in public debate.

        • NBNAlex
          Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink |

          Seems absolute desperation has setted in, in the anti-NBN camp…

          What I find most hypocritical is, Turnbull has been involved in a similar controversial situation and like Quigley not personally involved either (iirc).

          But the thing is, even Liberal supporters appear to doubt his innocence…?

          http://www.menzieshouse.com.au/2011/05/compassion-for-turnbull-he-just-wants-his-balls-back.html

          Glass houses and stones Malcolm.

          Maybe if you really wanted to ruffle feathers Renai you could ask Turnbull about his arguably, chequered past and the similarities to him and Quigley regarding (unfounded) implications in wrongdoing! I’m sure that would put the cat amongst the pigeons ;)

          Once more.. as there is another Alex now posting regularly, I’ll change my moniker to NBNAlex, cheers

        • jwbam
          Posted 25/09/2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink |

          I too remember your defence of MT and excitement at the promise of a better plan from the Coalition.
          I feel you disappointment (even though I never believed MT was ever going to come up with a real plan).

    20. Richard Ure
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink |

      While Malcolm Turnbull was expounding on every imaginable fault with the specifications of THE NBN and its personnel at yesterday’s community forum, the meeting’s host, John Alexander, the Member for Bennelong was trying to sow disaffection in his audience that most of Bennelong badly done by by not being included in the three year plan. This is an electorate that has both HFC cables and (if my experience is anything to go by) good ADSL. Luckily, the more knowledgeable in the audience weren’t buying it and preferred to see priority being given to the areas less well provisioned.

      Malcolm has not done his leadership ambitions any favours by his undeserved traducing of Mike Quigley’s competence or superior truth telling.

      In last night’s 7.30 Report interview, he said. “Trust in politicians has never been high”. If this is the case, has the time come to cease interviewing or listening to them? And certainly not “giving him a break”. I take comfort in the fact many more people seem to be following that course.

      At least Delimiter articles seem to attract more comments than many of its counterparts.

    21. Mike Sc
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink |

      Farewell Quigley.

    22. snerd
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink |

      Despite his claptrap regarding ethical and unpartisan political conduct, Turnbull has never hesitated to do the politically expedient thing. The man has no stones. Witness, for example, his craven refusal to cross the floor on the gay marriage vote, meekly mumbling about party discipline.

      He wants in, to fulfill the wishes of his corporate masters, who want the NBN dead because Foxtel et al.

    23. The lone gunmen
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink |

      You IT guys can give it out with all your name calling aimed at Turnbull and Abbott, but what sensitive souls you are when get some of your own medicine.

      • PointZeroOne
        Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink |

        Care to expand on that?

      • Simon Reidy
        Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink |

        I second @PointZerOne’s call for expansion. WTF are you talking about exactly?

        • Tom
          Posted 25/09/2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink |

          Don’t feed the trolls… they won’t reply.

    24. Sathias
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink |

      Maybe Mal could tell us who he WOULD get to head NBNCo, who DOES have the necessary experience, in his view. But I would hazard a guess he would feel no more compelled to give that necessary infomation than he does to provide an actual policy or costings.

      Very shoddy work indeed.

      • NBNAlex
        Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink |

        Henry Ergas?

    25. Sathias
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink |

      Watching the Twitter argument between Renai and Mal, I couldn’t help but think about the analysis of Turnbull’s character by Keating contained in this article from 2009

      http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/brilliant-and-fearless-but-paul-keating-was-right-about-turnbull-20090626-czt7.html

      Keating is dead right about Turnbull’s judgement.

      • Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink |

        That article continues to be useful over the years :)

    26. Observer
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink |

      Renai

      Doyen is masculine, doyenne is feminine

    27. rusty
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink |

      Good article, Renai. No matter what colour the political chameleon, they are all the same underneath. For a while there, Malcolm had me well and truly fooled.

    28. Zok
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink |

      One can say that Turnbull is not the right choice for a government minister (or his preferred position, Prime Minister in charge of the government) because he hasn’t got any prior experience at all at any level of executive government. And both times he held non-governmental political positions in the past (leader of the Australian Republican Movement, and Leader of the Opposition), he failed miserably.

    29. Sathias
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink |

      Malcolm just confirmed to me on Twitter that he is planning to do a “thorough CBA” on FTTN before dismantling the current NBN plan.

      • NBNAlex
        Posted 25/09/2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink |

        And when FttN is again found unviable we will be left with 2 choices

        1. FttP
        2. The status quo…

        Hmmm I wonder which they’ll opt for?

        :/

      • Posted 25/09/2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink |

        @sathias

        He said that 12 months ago. And then a few weeks back he was on Late line saying they’ll begin rollout straight away of FTTN WHILE a CBA was being done.

        Good fodder for when he goes back on it, but I wouldn’t believe him.

        • Sathias
          Posted 26/09/2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink |

          This was the exchange

          http://i.imgur.com/zCi45.png

          • Posted 26/09/2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink |

            Cheers

            Keep that in the vault for if they get in and charge off without doing one. Not that they’ll be particularly embarrassed about it….

      • Cameron
        Posted 25/09/2012 at 8:46 pm | Permalink |

        DId he clarify what CBA meant?

        Cost Benefit Analysis

        or

        Can’t Be Arsed

    30. Markie Linhart
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink |

      My own thoughts on Leigh Sales’ interview with Malcolm Turnbull on 7.30 last night were that she let him off the hook a bit too easily – maybe she wasn’t properly briefed, I don’t know.

      He was allowed to get away with his FTTN rubbish and regurge his misquotes of what some (non NBN) contractors are bitching about.

      This article goes a long way in clearing the Turnbull induced fog…nice one Renai

      • Richard Ure
        Posted 25/09/2012 at 9:04 pm | Permalink |

        I think she just ran out of time. But she did draw the juxtaposition with Malcolm’s truth in politics sermon and got him to remind us (how could we forget) that politicians (like him) are not held in the highest regard.

        And don’t deserve to be?

      • ungulate
        Posted 26/09/2012 at 2:12 am | Permalink |

        One gets the impression that Leigh doesn’t do her own research and relies upon the script handed her by the management. There’s a certain amount of just plain incompetence/laziness going on at the ABC. But there is also I’m afraid a culture induced into ABC management by the blatant political appointments to its board carried out by Howard.

        • PeterA
          Posted 28/09/2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink |

          Kerry O’Brien may have been a rabid labor supporter, but it didn’t matter – when there was a member of parliament in front of him, on the seat across from him, he knew just how to take their words and stab them in the kidney with them.

          Leigh … takes the script and gives it a shot, but I haven’t quite seen the deft manouvres that Kerry pulled off from her yet. Maybe it takes time?

          • Richard Ure
            Posted 28/09/2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink |

            Did you see her recent interview with Tony Abbott?

    31. socrates
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink |

      We may need to keep some perspective here.

      Turnbull is a politician and a merchant banker, but he is also a very cunning and experienced lawyer who seems to know defamation law backwards.

      This suggests two possibilities:

      He may be using his knowledge of the fine points of the law, and his undoubted oratory skills as an experienced advocate, to create a certain impression about a person that he may want to denigrate for political purposes; and/or

      He may be using those attributes to inferentially silence any legitimate criticism of the course he is attempting to follow. It would be a brave commentator who would attempt to say things, no matter how accurate they may be, about somebody with a track record of successfully using the legal industry to win previous matters involving certain differences of opinion.

    32. DenisPC9
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink |

      “.. Some, including myself, criticised the NBN Co CEO at the time for what many saw as a breach of public service etiquette….”

      Do your homework if you are going to make public judgements. Throwing off glib comments like the above exposes the lack of knowledge and insight into what is becoming one of Australia’s major companies. Getting your basic facts correct gives your column more credence. Get the background facts wrong like here and you automatically set yourself and your column up for unnecessary scrutiny and nitpicking which detracts from the message you may be trying to get across.

      As the CEO Quigley isn’t a Public Servant, he is a Statutory Appointee, along with the rest of the Board. And as such his ambit is somewhat different to a run of the mill public servant. As the CEO he is the public face of the Company he runs, he is thus required to dispel publicly or otherwise, all information that negatively impacts on his area of responsibility. Also as a GBE, the NBN doesn’t necessarily employ public servants. Perhaps you should try and remove that media block from your views as that automatically givers your writing a slant that doesn’t necessarily exist.

      Back to the topic in question, Turnbull is showing himself to be just another politician who will, under Parliamentary Privilege demean and defame anyone who stands in his way. As such he has lost that shine he formerly had. He along with the Leader of the Opposition and the rest of the Opposition Front Bench certainly aren’t PM material.

      To use a Classic reference, a latter day Hercules is needed to clean out Howard’s Augean Stable.

    33. JT
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink |

      I find it amusing that people are quick to support this article when at best, it can only link to a competing publication that makes a similarly ludicrous claim. The rest of the article is a fluff piece on Quigley which only distracts from the outrageous headline.

      If you think the points Turnbull have raised are “slanderous”, I should point out that there’s barely a week that goes by where Renai doesn’t “report” on where Turnbull is “wrong”.

      You could be forgiven for thinking, reading these articles that the NBN is going to cost a fraction of what was expected and is years ahead of schedule.

      • Observer
        Posted 25/09/2012 at 10:36 pm | Permalink |

        “You could be forgiven for thinking, reading these articles that the NBN is going to cost a fraction of what was expected and is years ahead of schedule.”

        And listening to Turnbull, you would think it is going to take twice as long to build and cost twice as much. But, let’s not forget that some well positioned people have told him that.

      • ungulate
        Posted 26/09/2012 at 2:17 am | Permalink |

        If barely a week goes by when Renai doesn’t report on Turnbull’s acts of intellectual dishonesty, maybe that’s because barely a week goes by when Turnbull isn’t engaging in intellectual dishonesty.

        Need I mention Abbott? :)

      • Steven
        Posted 26/09/2012 at 2:28 am | Permalink |

        “If you think the points Turnbull have raised are “slanderous”, I should point out that there’s barely a week that goes by where Renai doesn’t “report” on where Turnbull is “wrong”.”

        I find it amusing that there are people out there who don’t know the difference between pointing out the truth and telling lies to denigrate people.

        Actually not so much amusing, as sad…

      • PeterA
        Posted 28/09/2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink |

        Lets take your comment, and give you 2 example statements.

        “JT today said the sky was green, which is of course ridiculous, the sky is demonstrably blue. Perhaps JT should do more research.”

        “JT in his current position has utterly failed to meet his targets, he was never qualified for this role in the first place and should never have been given his current job. He might even have been stealing money at his last job.”

        Can you begin to see the difference between MT’s statements and Renai’s?

    34. MikeK
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 9:44 pm | Permalink |

      I reckon Mike Quigley should be up for Australian of the Year, gives his first year wages for medical research, then refuses to accept $300k incentive scheme (ever) on principal, hes had cancer (twice I think) and still takes on a job that would kill the average person. Hes passonate about comms and passsonate about delivering it to Australians. The NBN when finished will change the whole landscape of this vast continent, In the future add least in the comms arena people will be referening to Pre / Post NBN time frames. This guy will be remembered, Turnball wont. Considering this is an opinion piece I reckon the coalition will be the only party that Australians will not vote onto government because people will be fedup and fatigued even before they go to an election.

      • Markie Linhart
        Posted 25/09/2012 at 10:23 pm | Permalink |

        Well put, well said Mike.

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 25/09/2012 at 11:23 pm | Permalink |

        “This guy will be remembered, Turnball wont.”

        That all depends. I can picture a future where we are looking back and are laughing at Turnbull. How many years in the future all depends on the outcome of the next election… I wonder if Turnbull can see beyond that and that and picture that future where he is hanging his head in shame… probably not that explains why he supports a substandard FttN patchwork for Australia.

        • Richard Ure
          Posted 26/09/2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink |

          Malcolm Turnbull: this generation’s Davis Hughes. Those somewhat younger than me will not be familiar with his role in Jorn Utzon’s leaving Australia. Forever. We do not deserve to continue to share in the benefits of Utzon’s legacy.

    35. Observer
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 10:42 pm | Permalink |

      I was just thinking. How presumptuous of Turnbull to even think that Quigley would remotely interested in overseeing his poor impersonation of a policy.

    36. Observer
      Posted 25/09/2012 at 10:42 pm | Permalink |

      Should read ” be interested”

    37. ozimarco
      Posted 26/09/2012 at 12:14 am | Permalink |

      Congratulations on an excellent article, Renai! I have always held Mike Quigley in the highest regard. His integrity, dedication and professional competence is beyond question. The government was fortunate indeed to have secured him as CEO of NBNCo. They couldn’t have wished for someone of higher calibre than Mike. Malcolm Turnbull is intelligent, wily, cunning, a smart political animal. His unwarranted and slanderous attacks on Mike Quigley show that he is nowhere near the man Quigley is. Any respect I have had for Malcolm has now vanished into thin air. In my view, he’s as much of an unscrupulous opportunist as his unpopular leader. If we lose Mike Quigley as head of the NBN, we’ll lose an incredible asset. I hope, for his sake, that Labor can win the election so that he can cement and secure the NBN’s future. I believe that good will prevail over evil.

    38. John May
      Posted 26/09/2012 at 2:19 am | Permalink |

      Malcolm Turnbull’s background is as a barrister. A barrister’s job is to argue his client’s case whether he believes in it or not. I suspect that that is exactly what Malcolm is doing. His job is to present the opposition’s case as forcefully and effectively as he can, whether he believes in it or not – and in this case I suspect he does not. He’s just doing his job as an advocate.

      • Bob.H
        Posted 26/09/2012 at 3:34 am | Permalink |

        Malcolm Turnbull is an elected member of the Australian Parliament. His job is to represent his constituency of Wentworth. As Shadow Minister for communications it is also his job to critique the Governments communications policy and legislation and to promote the Oppositions communication policy. He has a duty to his electorate and Australia to be equitable, honest and act with integrity. He doesn’t have the right to disseminate misinformation for his own or his Party’s benefit.

        He is not operating in a Court of Law nor is he representing a client as a Barrister while doing his elected duties. Like all parliamentarians he has not been elected as an adversarial representative but as a conciliator charged with overseeing the best interests of all his electorate and of all Australians.

        If he doesn’t know the difference and can’t act accordingly he is deserving of the contempt of his electorate and the people of Australia.

        • NBNAccuracy
          Posted 26/09/2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink |

          I think this is where independants are becoming more popular. They go in to government to do their job, representing their electorate and to do what they can to benefit the people.
          I think with party politics this has gone missing from the professional party member.
          They are often placed in electorates that are safe to get a seat. They just use that electorate. They use their seat to push party ideology, not the peoples needs.

      • Murdoch
        Posted 26/09/2012 at 7:51 am | Permalink |

        He’s not arguing his “case” at all. He’s deliberately framing the argument to seed doubt in the minds of the public about the (up to now) impeccable character and competency (and this isn’t Quigley’s assessment of himself either, it’s his colleagues, the man doesn’t, and doesn’t need to self advertise) of a 30 year veteren telecommunications executive.

        If that’s his case, then people need to consider carefully why they would vote for a man, and his party, that is only interested in painting pretty pictures than implementing real solutions.

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 26/09/2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink |

        John May. You are one to talk. There are numerous questions about your past you need to answer. In there are you lived there were numerous murders and bashings, Do you have anything to say on those?

        Like that? No? It’s what Turnbull is doing.

    39. The lone gunmen
      Posted 26/09/2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink |

      What hypocrites are you are here.

      You bad mouth Turnbull, Abbott and the Coalition nearly every week with your sermonising about the NBN. Of course no cost/benefit analysis is not a problem to you, cost overruns mere trivia, long delays in the roll out mere detail.

      Now you get on you moral high horse all self righteous, your bias is self evident. NBN fanbois, paid for by the taxpayer. Hyprocrites.

      • Posted 26/09/2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink |

        @lone gunman

        You see cost-overrun. We see scope change.

        You see no CBA. We see the KPMG report. And the fact that the Internet will make Australia $70 BILLION in 2016, being almost 3 times the cost of the government’s part of the NBN.

        You see long-delays in rollout. We see a 9 month start delay (July 2011->March 2012) as a result of scope change, negotiations and planning to make a better network.

        Both may be biased. The fact you believe we are, is no better or worse than we believe you are. However, facts appear to be on our side. Unless you can show that the NBN has failed utterly to deliver their mandate (a NBN delivered to 100% of Australians within 9.5 years of the start date) or stalled to the point where it is un-completable, then it can only be gauged on the progress as it happens. It has been rolling out for 6 months. I don’t believe 6 months of 9.5 years is enough to make a decent and fair analysis as to whether it is being successful or not. (same way determining to success of a builder on a project cannot be gauged 1 week in to a 20 week build.)

        If we get to the Election next year and it has delivered, say, only 40 or 50% of the 750 000 connections due to be connected by the end of next year, then it may have to be re-evaluated. Until then, we will continue to go by the facts as they are presented.

        • Bob.H
          Posted 26/09/2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink |

          Please don’t feed the troll

          • Posted 26/09/2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink |

            Sorry. I normally don’t. I was just feeling generous this morning….

            • GongGav
              Posted 26/09/2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink |

              Not too generous though. On my personal rating system, I’d rate that about a 2 weetbix feed myself, maybe 3. You’ve fed them more in the past :)

        • NBNAlex
          Posted 26/09/2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink |

          Not to mention 7T, that while the NBN doesn’t have a CBA…

          The opposition’s alternative, doesn’t either! In fact their alternative isn’t mapped out whatsoever.

          No costing – as admitted by MT after previously saying it was costed :/ Has no projections in relation to tecnological requirements (needs analysis). No timelines. No detail of how they will deal with the incumbent (as they need their copper). No mention of the fact that the copper is expensive to maintain (iirc around $1b p.a. and do you think Telstra will willing let them use their copper for FttN and paying to maintain it too)?

          Then…even if FttN is rolled out, by the time it’s completed it will be (if it isn’t already) obsolete and in need of replacing with NBN like FttP anyway…etc, etc.

          And they speak of waste?

          Add to that they they have no idea how to go about it or what to do, hence their ever changing (from what we know) technologies. Remember when wireless was the best alternative and we won’t need anymore than 12Mbps?

          At each interval they have admitted their previous plan was a dogs breakfast by upping the ante, but just can’t quite bring themselves to admit the bleedin’ obvious… Labor may have actually got this one right, so the straw grasping and FUD continues :-(

          Anyone who favours this obviously hopeless alternative over the NBN is a political fool, imo.

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 26/09/2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink |

        Yes. Turnbull, Abbott and the Coalition are badmouthed (and praised on occasions)
        FOR WHAT THEY DO. Not some inuendo that they may or could have done something. Not saying they were tied up in company corruption.

        If that were the case why don’t you see more on Turnbull’s Goldman Sachs days? If he hadn’t done anything why did they pay an out of court settlement? But I guess other’s don’t stoop so low and stay on their high horse.

        • Observer
          Posted 26/09/2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink |

          Not to mention the failure to provide adequate upload speed.

          • NBNAccuracy
            Posted 26/09/2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink |

            Oh there are lots of reasons for badmouthing them. But they are all actually reasons. They can be stated. They are some bit of inuendo that hints at something sinister that doesn’t actually exist.

    40. Tinman_au
      Posted 26/09/2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink |

      I think Malcolm was pissed when he gave the “truth, leadership and responsibility” speech, it’s the only thing that explains it vs his actions since…

    41. Arafurian
      Posted 26/09/2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink |

      Having read all of the links, and all of the comments, my thoughts are that:

      (a) trog is right – Rennai has indeed failed to make a case for slander. Allowing for the fact that the definition of slander can marginally from one legal jurisdiction to another, the general idea is that if one person (e.g. Turnbull) verbally tells another person (e.g. a member of the audience he is reported as speaking to) something about some third person (e.g. Quigley) that is both untrue and harmful to that person’s reputation, then a legal tort has been committed – that is, a slander. In this case, the critical untruth would be that Quigley had engaged in corruption – and none of the links Rennai provided appear to contain an allegation that Turnbull made this particular claim in his recent speech. Other complaints about Quigley, that he was poorly qualified for the job, or had somehow failed to perform properly, would fail the legal test for slander of not being unambiguously false. Slander refers to damaging falsehoods, not unflattering opinions.

      (b) Some commentators suggested that meaning of the word ‘slander’ could legitimately be extended beyond its technical, legal meaning. This I reject; if our language is to remain useful, technical words should be used only be used with their technical meaning – most especially on technically oriented websites such as this. I am sure that Rennai would receive gales of criticism if he started referring to computer networks as things made of string for catching fish; why should he not receive a raspberry for suggesting that an ill-based opinion, even from so august personage as a Shadow Minister, qualifies as a slander.

      (c) Having said all of that, I agree with Rennai and other commentators that Malcolm Turnbull’s remarks are indeed flatly offensive, and show Turnbull as unfit for his job. If the best he can do is to spend his time peddling mis-information and worthless opinions, he should give up and go home.

      • Posted 26/09/2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink |

        @Arafurian

        I suppose you are right about my comments pertaining to extending the definition of slander. I’m currently engaged in work on Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” and the language written in that style uses slander in its’ base form, as defined here- http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/slander :

        a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report: a slander against his good name.

        THIS is the actual meaning- the law form of slander:

        defamation by oral utterance rather than by writing, pictures, etc.

        Is a secondary definition. However, it IS what most people jump to these days. I believe however, that is more the leaning of what Renai was getting at. There doesn’t appear to be much ground for legal slander….but it’s awfully close. Turnbull was a barrister, he knows how to toe the line.

        I guess……uncalled for defamatory statements would be more correct. No question it is unacceptable though.

    42. socrates
      Posted 26/09/2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink |

      It seems that Graham Richardson may not be the only political figure who single-mindedly, and to the exclusion of all else, believes in the doctrine of ‘Whatever it takes’.




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