“Next item”: LNP mayor gives NBN Co just 8min


news The Liberal/National Party-backed Mayor of the Gold Coast Council this week dramatically cut short a presentation by the National Broadband Network Company to the council, according to multiple reports, calling time on the company’s comments just eight minutes into a scheduled half-hour briefing.

Tom Tate is not officially a LNP politician currently, holding the office of Mayor on the Gold Coast as an independent. However, he was a Liberal Party mayoral candidate back in 2008 and had his recent successful campaign reportedly backed by the LNP, including current Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.

According to a report published by the Gold Coast Bulletin, NBN Co was invited to give a presentation this week to the council about the company’s rollout plans in the area. NBN Co announced in April this year that it would create 100 new jobs on the Gold Coast due to locating its customer contact centre in the region, and it is also planning to deploy broadband infrastructure to around 80,000 premises on the Gold Coast through to 2015. At the time, Gold Coast Acting Mayor Daphne McDonald welcomed NBN Co’s decision to locate the customer contact centre in the city. “Hot on the back of the news the Gold Coast has been included in the NBN’s three year rollout, this is another win for the Gold Coast with the call centre bringing 100 new jobs to the city in the next 12 months,” she said.

However, multiple media outlets have reported that the Council’s new Mayor Tate cut a planned 30 minute presentation to the council by NBN Co government relations & external affairs advisor Darren Rudd short to just eight minutes. “All right, thank you for your presentation. Next item,” Tate told Rudd, cutting him off in mid-sentence according to a broadcast aired by television station NBN News (not related to the NBN project). Reportedly, the next item on the agenda was a presentation (including video) by not for profit group World Kindness Australia, which ran for 18 minutes, with NBN Co’s presentation being referred to a committee.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said in a broadcast that the move was “a disgraceful performance by an arrogant council” and the Gold Coast Council should publicly apologise to NBN Co. “It’s very clear that the Liberal National party and their mayor are just playing politics,” he said.

Tate does have a background in infrastructure development. According to his website, he’s a civil engineer by profession. He settled on the Gold Coast 15 years ago and is currently chief executive of the Islander Resort Hotel in Surfer’s Paradise. According to his site, Tate’s vision is to broaden the economic base of the Gold Coast beyond tourism and construction and into education and research.

The news comes as regional branches of the Coalition continue to struggle with how to deal with the NBN. A series of Liberal and National MPs have publicly complained over the past several years about a perceived slow pace of the NBN in their regions, calling for the infrastructure to be deployed faster. Victoria’s Coalition State Government has taken a similar approach. However, other regional Coalition representatives have continued to heavily attack the network, describing it as a waste of money and a “white elephant”.

I encourage you to watch the clip of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate cutting NBN Co’s presentation short in the Gold Coast City Council. Irrespective of whether they were politically motivated or not, his actions were just plain rude, and I agree with Minister Conroy that Tate should apologise to NBN Co and invite the company back to give a full presentation to council. If Tate’s move was politically motivated, then the situation is even worse, but at least it’s relatively understandable from a Coalition point of view, given the poor opinion the Coalition has of the NBN in general. However, I would argue in all cases that this kind of behaviour demeans the office of Mayor and is unfitting for a senior politician and business leader such as Tate.


  1. It should be seen with some irony that Conroy describes anyone as “arrogant”, but he is right in this instance.

    If the agenda was “full”, as Tate described, it’s actually council’s fault for scheduling so much on the agenda on the one night.

    The money NBN Co spent travelling up to the Gold Coast to make the presentation is basically wasted because the council can’t organise a meeting agenda properly.


  2. I am sure there are other councils who would support a call centre and associated infrastructure with open arms.

    NBN should go where they will get respect.

  3. He was literally in the middle of a sentence. Whatever your feeling on the NBN, that’s just rude.

    • “He was literally in the middle of a senten…” — thanks for voicing your opinion, but I’m going to stop you right there. Next up, Kanye West has some personal viewpoints to share.

  4. If he did that to any other company looking to roll out millions of dollars of infrastructure and put business premises in the area other members of council would be calling for him to quit, or a move of vote of no confidence. Imagine if QANTAS or Virgin wanted extend there airline hub or BHP was planing to to located a logistics support hub in the are and the mayor cut their presentation off after 8mins mid sentence, there would be local businesses calling for bl…

    All right, thank you for your presentation. Next item

  5. What is with ordinary politeness these days??

    That’s disgusting, regardless of your viewpoint on the NBN. I sincerely hope if they DO ring and ask NBNCo. to come back the conversation goes:

    Council- “We’d dearly like to apologise and ask if you would consider coming back to the Gold Co….”
    NBNCo: “I’ll stop you there- sorry, I’m busy. I’m in the middle of lunch.”

  6. OK, now everyone knows what NBNco is up against. They’re up against zealots like this that dont care about anything but pushing their own selfish agendas and they’ll find anyway they can to silence anyone that dares to go against their political line. Time to start playing dirty too? I normally wouldn’t endorse this but maybe it’s time NBNco started.

      • Exactly. Given the extraordinary political pressure they are under, with everything NBN does scrutinised and every word Quigely utters just waiting to be misrepresented by the media, they have to keep their nose as clean as ever. Any misstep they make is guaranteed a negative front page story in The Australian. In fact every correct step they take is still guaranteed a misrepresenting story in The Australian, so they can’t win when it comes to media exposure.

      • +1

        You don’t stoop to their level just cause they’re dicks. You do your job properly and watch as they make morons of themselves in the public eye trying to lie. All lies eventually get found out. The more so if they people being lied about are open, honest and reliable.

        • Even if NBN did stoop to their level, they’d just beat them with experience anyhow…

      • Since the actual geographical location of the call centre shouldn’t be an issue (they are on fibre after all), it should not be hard to make a case for NBN taking their business elsewhere… Parramatta, for example, a much larger transport hub, with access to a much larger (multi-lingual) workforce living in Western Sydney.

        The Lord Mayor, a long standing “true” independent, who lives around the corner from me, I’m sure she would be more receptive to a presentation and accommodating when it comes to anything else local government can do.

  7. Well I think this is truly fantastic news an I sincerely hope Mr.Tate’s side of politics keeps it up. Right now the behaviour of right wing pollies in Queensland (especially) an elsewhere is one of the best things the NBN has going for it. I’m not joking.

    • Well, no, you’re not joking. If you were you’d say something like:

      Two fish in a tank. One turns to the other and says, “You drive, I’ll man the guns”

      But you didnt.

      • (Disclaimer: I have just completed a work related wine appreciation educational experience.)

        • I’ve got plenty more, that was just the fastest one liner to type at the time :) I should say I agree with you by the way.

          Only thing I’d add would be that the Victorians are giving the Queenslanders a run for their money.

  8. Funny, the “Next Item” on the youtube play list was titled “GC Mayor Tom Tate accused of cronyism”. So he cuts off the NBN bloke, and only hires ex lib staffers and members. Nothing partisan to see here, get back to your wage making you idle loafers.

  9. In the words of Jar-Jar Binks: “How rude!”

    The council should publicly apologise and allow NBNCo back to give their full talk, and maybe then they’ll realise that NBNCo would benefit their council area.

    • Hey, Renai, is quoting Jar-Jar Binks considered grounds for a week in the sin bin? ;-)

      (OT: Actually, I’ve recently started reading Darths & Droids, and Jar Jar is one of the more likeable characters there… Highly recommended reading – far better plot than the original three movies!)

  10. This is kinda like their broadband policy isn’t it? They’ve already cut one speech down by a third – they must be on track!

  11. I am sure that the Logan City Council Would be more than happy to give NBN CO the WHOLE day to discuss it

  12. Quite frankly I was stunned at the degree of technological sophistication on display in the Council meeting. Every councilor is miked, has lap top displays, overhead projector for wide screen AV, etc. In fact it wouldn’t have looked out of place in a State Govt meeting. A salient reminder of just how much impact technology is having on our society. It would seem the days of stuffy Council meetings with the secretary taking the minutes are long gone.

    But it leads me to wonder whether or not a certain Council is inflating it’s own importance, and whether or not certain Councilors or Lord Mayors are becoming too enamored by their own self importance.

    Regardless, it was rude and given the obvious reliance on technology that the Gold Coast Council feels to be valid and beneficial, one would have thought that a presentation on such a policy would have received it’s allotted time.

  13. That’s just pig ignorant.

    I wonder what MT has to say about the waste of time and money for NBN to have sent their staff to provide vauable information only to be dissed like that.

    I’m sure the LNP / Australian would have been al over this if a NBNCo staff member had behaved as rudely.

    It’s truly disgusting to see how politics in Australia is denigrading to the same level as the USA.

    Shame SHame SHAme Mr tate!

    • Oh I wouldn’t worry about it, politics here is already much worse than the USA, or pretty much anywhere else I can think of.

  14. As usual the zealots jump in and condemn on the basis of no evidence. Real journalism would have involved giving the mayor the oportunity to say why he acted seemingly rudely. Maybe the presentation from the suits from NBNCo really was poorly done and its content wasn’t appropriate to an open busy council meeting and should have been to the appropriate committee. I don’t know from the little we were shown in that clip. So I’m not going to judge. But you lot of NBN fanatics are more than happy to, as you so often do based on your prejudices not facts.

    • You understand what “common courtesy” and “politeness” means don’t you?

      If the council gave them 30 minutes to speak, and cut them off cold after 8 of them, that displays neither “common courtesy”, nor “politeness”.

      They could be talking about a new pole dancing club for all I care.

      It’s just effing rude!

    • As usual the apologists jump in and defend the deplorable behavior. You’ll have to forgive them, see politeness is not something they are very familiar with. In fact they are not very familiar with anything modern in our society… probably explains their irrational opposition to the NBN project. Gordom here is special case though. Thinks the majority dont need or want anything more than “8 or 6″mbps.

    • ‘Real journalism would have involved giving the mayor the oportunity to say why he acted seemingly rudely.’

      The mayor had the opportunity but refused an interview.

    • Yes Gordon…

      Of course, it’s the NBN supporters fault the Mayor acted in a rude manor. Who else :/


  15. @Gordon, so you think it’s acceptable to simply cut someone off mid-sentence and state “Next” for the next agenda item without so much as an apology or needing to cut him short? To be honest I am questioning whether an apologist such as yourself worthy of any reply.

    At least a comment such as “I’m sorry Darren we’re going to have to cut it short here and refer the rest of your presentation to our committee” or some such. It would have also been polite to advise the presenter that they need to reduce their presentation to a shorter time frame in advance if they knew that they were running behind or short on time etc.

    The subsequent presentation ran for 18 minutes. How do you rationalise that?

    Talk about people having too high an opinion of themselves and thinking he can treat others like dirt.

    • “Talk about people having too high an opinion of themselves and thinking he can treat others like dirt.”

      Lib/NP A dog is a dog, it is in their nature. You can never expect them to work towards the common Good or what is best for all. Too selfish, arrogant and self centered

  16. Hang on, lets look at the positives from this. It seems NBN Co has proven they can roll out at least part of their program in approximately one quarter of the expected time.

    Beat THAT Malcolm…

  17. Time for NBNCo to reconsider whether that callcentre would be best suited in a location with such a rude mayor.

    I hear the meeting with the Ipswich City Council was very positive – perhaps the growing area of Ipswich, with it’s positive Council support, would be more fitting for the NBNCo callcentre and those 100 jobs.

  18. It explains why it took the Libs so long to get in in QLD.
    “Right of passage refused me, I missed out on being in the governing party because I quit too early…”

    I reckon the expression on Tates face the day campbell got in would have resembled Brumby’s face when Bracks got elected over Kennett…

    Sour grapes much.. ;-P

    Rude man. Rude Rude man…..
    Apology needed.

    • Looks like this mayor is out of touch with the information revolution or taken the internet infrastructure for granted. The impact of connectedness is much more than the tourist dock in the longer run. The speed of internet is just the underpin of many future industries to come. Secondary and new industries would evolve. It is irony that Tate is looking to broaden the industry base here yet has shown such flippant attitude to a technology firm, be it just a call centre, for now, to establish here.

  19. Brisbane has a lot of places that can handle a Call Centre. I bet the people on the Gold Coast would commute too, even though they may want to hang their Mayor for making them have to.
    Ipswich? Mooloolabah?
    Or rub salt in the wound and place it in NSW’s Tweed Shire *Evil Grin*

  20. Come to think of it, I think a lot of regional areas would really be the “correct” place for these Centers. With the NBN technologically negating the bandwidth dilemma, how many people could do this work from their homes allowing then to work safely and whilst attending to their families needs.
    Also Call Centre Management software and statistics can perform the work load management and the employees spread across the state reduces the possibility of a major Center being off air. The NBN opens a new paradigm in workload management and working constructively in a virtual environment.
    Spread the benefits to those who would appreciate it and work hard to have such a wonderful prospect for employment. Big Call Centers can be old way, José. Distribute the risk and the benefit to all Australia. Another benefit of the NBN.

    • Spot on. I really thought and hoped it would be built in Tasmania. Not only because I live here and we desperately need the jobs for our struggling economy, but because it’s usually cheaper to build and operate a call centre in Tasmania. Salaries are often lower in Tasmania compared to the mainland too. Hence the reason we have big call centres like Vodafone here.

      • Trouble is, that the reason you gave just justifies a race to the bottom mentality. We are smarter than that and people are not just a resource to be exploited like cattle. Banksters might love that, but do we the general public find that acceptable?
        Humans can add value that a machine cannot. Unfortunately we don’t apply mental objectivity in designing our systems to what they can be, but design them on a philosophy of running for the lowest common denominator which attains greatest profit for few at the greatest loss to the majority of the Clients. “Customer Service” is a myth. It has been relegated to a front designed to only provide the minimalist illusion of “Customer Service”.
        But Simon, you are correct that employment in Tasmania is important, but I would hate your State to exploit it’s people as a cheap source of labour. Tasmanian’s ARE better than that. I can think up many reasons why each State has advantages in some way and disadvantages also. Unfortunately the best solutions do not align with best outcome for Banksters, so we will always lose out in some way. The curse of the West. *sigh*

        • That’s an intelligent observation TechniBris and a nice thing to say about Tassie, but the reality is that salaries do differ based on location and its not often seen as exploitation. Many people are just happy to get jobs, even if they are paid $2 less an hour than they might be in Sydney or other large capital cities. Call centre work is also very easy to break into if you have good communication skills, and if you’re lucky enough to get a full-time position, many of them come with great perks, so they are a highly sought after job for a lot of people down here.

          Geographically we are well suited for them as well (with cheaper land up for grabs) and no matter where it’s built, commuting time will never be over an hour for Hobart employees :)

          However the main reason I think Tassie is the most suitable, is that we have the highest rate of unemployment and the most struggling economy in Australia.

  21. I am afraid that this behaviour may be a symptom of the underlying contempt that the Coalition has striven to demonstrate for the NBN.

    So focused on this task that they have become deceitful, willing to sacrifice money and quality of service at the expense of all Australians, and have even now stooped to throwing away any veneer of being civilised human beings.

    In the process they have shown where the contempt really needs to be directed.

    • Ugh! News Limited, with the Staff obliged for employment reasons, to espouse the plans and desires of Rupert as their own or find employment elsewhere. It is obvious, as why else is there no other dissenting opinion within News Limited as varied as the minds are in the human species. Rupert is allowed to have his opinion, but when employment requires your freedoms of your “Opinions” to be conditional of continuing employment, “technically this is not the opinion of the Author, but of the Corporation. Hence, the Author should sign on behalf of News Ltd, or a prominent caveat placed on all “Opinion” articles that the views espoused are that of News Ltd. and not specifically the Author.
      As to the Call Center, decentralise it across the nation to make sure any technical glitches (they will happen) don’t reduce the service to “nada”. It also takes advantage of time differences, and is the perfect Job for people who want to work, are self motivated, but also have family responsibilities and can work from a home office. NBN actually can set the trends to be utilised in the new Australia connected by high bandwidth. Share the benefits with everyone, everywhere.
      BTW Renai, can we have an Australian dictionary spell checker. I hate American spelling.

  22. I’m sure there are other councils in other states which would be quite happy to have the offer of 100 jobs in their area.

    I wonder how pleased the GC is that it’s elected such a twat as mayor.

  23. The thing is that most councils have NO idea about what the NBN is, or what broadband is let alone what a computer is for. I live in a rural location and I can say upfront that my local shire council has no interest in or knowledge of what the NBN will or will not provide.

    How then can the shire, which is very muck like most in the regional and rural sector ever expect that an NBN presentation will ever get the real time it should be given. There is more interest in the water, the roads and general agriculture over any technology item.

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