Fletcher praises Turnbull’s “fact-based” NBN approach


news Malcolm Turnbull’s outgoing Parliamentary Secretary Paul Fletcher has publicly praised what he described as the new Prime Minister’s “fact-based” approach to revamping Labor’s National Broadband Network project over the past two years.

Fletcher — who for the past two years has served as Parliamentary Secretary to Turnbull in his two-year role as Communications Minister — this morning published an editorial in The Australian newspaper which argued that Turnbull’s tenure as Communications Minister reinforced the new PM’s statement last week that his Government would make decisions in a thoughtful and considered manner — and that the culture of his leadership would be consultative and collaborative.

The full text is available on Fletcher’s personal website.

“… the first key feature of Malcolm Turnbull’s approach was to start with a careful analysis of the facts. There was detailed policy work in opposition, and once in government he commissioned the NBN strategic review — a thorough, fact-based analysis of the issues the company faced,” wrote Fletcher.

“Next, he oversaw the crafting of a robust strategy — based on the outcomes of the strategic review which found that the best way to deliver higher speeds, quickly, was a combination of fibre to the premises, fibre to the node and cable.”

Fletcher wrote that as Communications Minister, Turnbull had successfully completed ambitious deals with Telstra and Optus to use their copper and HFC cable networks as part of the NBN.

“… without this, the NBN could not have used fibre to the node because Labor had not bothered to secure the right to use Telstra’s copper in exchange for the billions that company was to receive,” the Liberal MP added.

NBN company hires made under Turnbull’s tenure also came in for praise.

“The NBN turnaround highlights another aspect of Malcolm’s leadership style: draw on smart, competent, experienced people. The NBN board had virtually no one with serious telecommunications experience on it. Turnbull moved quickly to appoint former Telstra and Optus CEO Ziggy Switkowski as chairman, as well as several others with deep industry knowledge. He secured Bill Morrow — then-CEO of Vodafone Australia, and a highly experienced global telco executive — as CEO.”

Fletcher added that another key principle of Turnbull’s tenure as Communications Minister had been “transparency and openness”.

“Within NBN Co and his department, he insisted on being told the bad news as well as the good news — replacing the politicised culture of spin which his predecessor Stephen Conroy had created. He directed NBN Co to publish its rollout numbers on its website every week — and to hold quarterly briefings in the same fashion as a listed public company.”

“But perhaps the most important lesson for the future from Turnbull’s approach as communications minister is the demonstration of his capacity to inherit a policy and evolve it into something better. Labor’s NBN strategy was deeply flawed; Malcolm reshaped it into a credible and effective strategy, and then drove a disciplined execution of the strategy. That is why the NBN today is regularly passing nearly 13,000 premises a week, and steadily building that run rate.”

“This week, Turnbull has committed to apply a set of leadership principles as Prime Minister — the same principles which have underpinned his comprehensive turnaround of Labor’s disastrous NBN.”

“Across the breadth of the Turnbull government, this rational, fact-based, collaborative approach will be key to the government’s effectiveness — and to seizing the rich opportunities available to Australia in today’s globally competitive economy.”

As part of yesterday’s Cabinet reshuffle, Paul Fletcher’s role as Parliamentary Secretary to the Communications Minister has been abolished, and he will move into a different role as the new Minister for territories, local government and major projects.

*cough, splutter*

I will be publishing a comprehensive deconstruction of what I can only be describe as Fletcher’s ‘fiction-based” approach to this article shortly.

Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull


  1. “fact-based” approach to revamping Labor’s National Broadband Network

    Sounds like political brown nosing to me.

    TurnBull has presented everything but the facts in the last few years!

    • Just like what happened when I read the latest “news” piece from Graham Lynch, and now the Paul Fletcher tripe…, I think I threw up in my mouth…

  2. I see he hasn’t turned on comments on his website for his opinion piece. Perhaps even he understands what is likely to happen if he does.

  3. Everything any government does is “fact based”. All it takes is to hire political cronies to manufacture said facts.

  4. Thanks for this Renai, I needed a laugh and that was the funniest article I have read since the days of Sol and the Amigos…

  5. It would seem before Turnbull looked at hiring more women in parliament he was an advocate for the employment of intellectually disadvantaged people. This guy is either retarded or that was the biggest and most embarrassing suckup in history, as well as pronouncing to the world how little he actually knows about anything related to the NBN. O….M….G

  6. If you are presented with clear facts, evidence based etc. then doggedly ignore those same facts and the related conclusions, perhaps your response is still based on those facts? Fact based… avoidance.

    Could it possibly be scathing sarcasm? I don’t think there is a single quote that isn’t utter (turn)bull. Yes we recall the principle of transparency, particularly because it was never implemented. Perhaps rewrite his speech for him :)

  7. Isnt Fletcher the guy who did all the heavy lifting for Turnbull? If so, isnt this really just self-serving?

  8. Wasn’t he the guy that thought bubbled the “filter” before the election, at least he told the truth.

  9. It really is a case of ‘say it often enough and it’ll become true’, isn’t it?

    Sadly, the general public falls for it completely.

  10. The problem is the general population (as well as a lot of political journalists and commentators) are completely fooled by his ‘facts and reason’ image. It is precisely for this reason that the ICT industry and everyone knowledgeable on the topic should be bringing these facts to light for the wider community, not just with opinions but by linking to articles here, on other tech sites, on The Conservation etc. – fight shameless spin and misdirection with facts and evidence, by pointing out to key journalists and commentators the lie to Turnbull’s rhetoric.

  11. The government has been in power for two years. Abbott’s performance has been atrocious; Fraudband has suffered cost blowouts and failed to meet its own rollout targets. And we are still getting references to Labor’s “disastrous” performance, this time on the NBN. Paul Fletcher should stop reminding us of the government’s manifold shortcomings.

  12. It’s amazing how Mal’s poll numbers suggest he’s the best person to lead the country. Obviously those who were surveyed are expecting the place to go downhill further, and believe he’s got the goods to take us there.
    To you, Renai LeMay, I say this: get these stories onto the evening news, and right into the general public’s line of sight. The sooner everyday Australians are shown the facts we tech-heads have known about this underhanded, lying, scheming sack of donkey’s dag for the last two years, the better. The waste of taxpayer dollars has to stop!

  13. Who hires these hacks?

    Turnbull was/is a saboteur nothing more ..

    No matter how much of this fluff you put in print the NBN under the current model is going to be pure crap.

  14. Under Conroy’s leadership as comms minister the NBN leadership was a relvolving door as if no one wanted stay around too long. You don’t even need to need ti wait or the figures to know the NBN back then was a badly sinking ship.

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