The following is an open letter to Australia’s politicians demanding a Royal Commission be held into the politically motivated destruction of the NBN project. If you agree: Sign this petition on Change.org, note your support in the comments below this article, and forward this letter to your political representatives.
To Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and the Australian Labor Party.
To Senator Richard Di Natale and the Australian Greens Party.
To Senator Nick Xenophon and the Nick Xenophon Team.
To those members of the Coalition who we know are as concerned about this issue as we are.
And to every other politician and political party in Australia.
We write to you today with a simple message: Enough is enough.
We demand that you signal your support for a Royal Commission into the politically motivated destruction of the National Broadband Network project.
We watched as then-Opposition Leader Tony Abbott commanded Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2010 to “demolish” the NBN.
We watched as Turnbull attempted to smear and discredit the good name of the honourable founding chief executive of the NBN project.
We watched as Turnbull misled the public repeatedly about the virtues that Telstra’s ageing copper network could bring to the NBN project.
We watched as Turnbull misled the public repeatedly about the cost and time that it would take to deploy the original version of the NBN project.
We watched as Turnbull initiated an extraordinary war with the board of directors of the NBN company and then sacked almost the entirety of that board, without regard for their good names.
We watched as Turnbull sacked almost the entire senior management of the NBN company, without any cause, and without consideration for the public service they did the nation in setting up the company from scratch.
We watched as Turnbull appointed a series of executives with close connections to him personally or the Coalition in their stead.
We watched as Turnbull abandoned the Coalition’s stated NBN policy and NBN rollout promises only months after the 2013 Federal Election.
We watched as the original NBN vision of a near universal fibre network for Australia was torn down and replaced with a patchwork Multi-Technology Mix incorporating legacy copper and HFC cable networks.
We watched as the NBN company was forced to buy thousands of kilometers of brand new copper cable to ensure that the new model would work as planned.
We watched as the cost required and time to roll out the NBN ballooned as a result, again, and again, and again.
We watched as Turnbull stated that there was no need for the NBN company to build its own satellites to service the bush. We watched as private sector alternatives proposed by Turnbull collapsed. We then watched as Turnbull took credit for the NBN’s first satellite when it launched.
We watched as our politicians and regulators started openly discussing their desire to cut the NBN company into chunks and sell it off to the private sector.
We watched as we were repeatedly told by Coalition MPs and Turnbull-appointed NBN executives that there was no need for the NBN to deliver broadband speeds which other countries take for granted.
We watched as the Coalition tried to kill off the only serious oversight mechanism of the NBN, the Senate Select Committee into the project.
We watched as leak after damaging leak exposed a massive set of problems with the Multi-Technology Mix model for the NBN.
We watched as the NBN company called in the Australian Federal Police to go after the whistleblowers who leaked these documents, the Opposition MPs and their staff who received them, and the journalists who published them.
We watched as the chair of the NBN breached the public service’s election Caretaker Conventions, labelling these whistleblowers as “thieves”.
And today we watched as Turnbull endorsed that breach of the Caretaker Conventions, undercutting the very framework of our democracy.
But now we watch no more. Now our watch is ended.
Today we demand.
Today we demand that every political party signal its support for the only action that can reasonably be taken to investigate the tragic situation where Australia’s largest ever and most important infrastructure project has been brought into these straits.
Today we demand that Australia’s politicians do their job and put an end to this politically motivated madness.
Today we demand that you signal your support for a Royal Commission into the destruction of the NBN.
We may not get our wish for this Royal Commission today.
We may not get it this decade.
But there is no doubt that we will get it.
We will get it because an overwhelming body of evidence exists of severely questionable behaviour in the political management of this project.
We will get it because a Royal Commission is the only mechanism that has sufficient power and independence to investigate the tragic farce that the NBN project has become.
And we will get it because that is what justice and rationality demands.
The National Broadband Network project is literally the foundational infrastructure which will see Australia’s broadband needs for the next century, underpinning all aspects of business, government and our private lives.
We must know how and why this project has been torn down.
So that those who did it can be held to account for their actions.
And so that a tragic farce of this magnitude can never, ever, happen again.