Telstra hires Turnbull’s sacked, foulmouthed MTM policy mastermind


blog Those of you who’ve been around the traps for a while may recall the name of Stephen Ellis. Ellis was, for some years, a senior advisor to Malcolm Turnbull, in his roles as Shadow Communications Minister and then as Communications Minister in Tony Abbott’s Coalition Government from September 2013.

In Opposition, Ellis appears to have been the key figure behind the Coalition’s controversial Fibre to the Node-based approach to the National Broadband Network. And in Government, Ellis appears to have been one of the key figures in Turnbull’s Ministerial office who helped make that policy become reality at the NBN company.

He was also notable for two further reasons. Firstly, Ellis achieved notoriety in mid-2013 when he sent a foul-mouthed email telling popular local NBN blogger Steve Jenkin to “get fucked” and accusing him of publishing “psychotic rantings” about the Coalition’s NBN policy. The worm turned on Ellis in Turnbull’s office, however — last year the advisor was charged with possessing drugs at Canberra Airport and committing an act of indecency. He subsequently resigned from his role. He has pleaded no guilty, and the case is ongoing.

Now, according to The Age newspaper (we recommend you click here for the full article), Ellis has been hired by Telstra. The newspaper reports:

A spokeswoman for Telstra confirmed on Thursday that Mr Ellis has been employed by the telco giant. “We have engaged Mr Ellis as a consultant on a specific project to advise Telstra on longer term policy reform options. We will not be commenting further,” the spokeswoman wrote in an email to Fairfax Media.

I don’t have much that I would be able to say in print about this situation — although I’m sure many of you could imagine what might be running through my head. But I will say that the Australian telecommunications industry is sometimes a rather fascinating old place, where the most fascinating things can happen.

Image credit: Telstra


  1. Maybe they will put him in the complaints department..
    “Just putting you through now” *transfer* “GET F%$*#D!” *beep beep*

  2. Ellis’ possession of LSD may go some way to explaining the LNP NBN policy.

    No sorry. Not even LSD can explain away that idiocy.

  3. So Telstra is now hiring drug taking, indecent acting and foul mouthed persons to advise them on longer term policy reform options?

    • @fz put govt at the centre of telecoms and you’ll have the bottom feeders snooping around. Won’t be stopping anytime soon; billions of taxpayers’ money up for grabs.

      His foulmouthed comments sound familiar;-)

  4. Ellis has only been employed as a consultant on a specific project.

    Telstra risk management team has obviously decided that the internal and external risks associated with engaging Ellis are outweighed by the expertise and information that he likely brings to Telstra.

    Interesting revelation with NBN Co Commercial in Confidence information that could adversely affect supplier negotiations, being a hot topic today.

    There probably is not much risk that Ellis will provide any new Commercial in Confidence NBN Co or Government confidential strategy information to Telstra, that Telstra do not already know about from their deep links with NBN Co on both the Management and Strategic partnership side of things.

    Ellis will probably be very useful in helping Telstra game/predict how the Federal Government and other suppliers will likely react and respond to various options that Telstra has in relation to the NBN and NBN Co.

    All suppliers are equal, but some are more equal than others.

    • Something more likely than “predicting” government reactions, will be his ability to provide parallel construction of any thought processes regarding government thought processes.

  5. More likely as a thank you for channeling billions of gov dollars back into Telstra via maintenance contracts for the redesigned NBN. Still got to pay the bribes or next time around the political staffers will be less likely to do you favors.

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