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Monday, 28 February 2011
Page: 1823

Mr Fletcher asked the Minister representing the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, in writing, on 16 November 2010.

In respect of the 2010 Charles Todd Memorial Oration given by the Chief Executive Officer of NBN Co, Mr Mike Quigley, on 18 August 2010: (a) what are the details of all conversations held between the Minister and his office, and/or the Prime Minister and her office, and NBN Co, before the speech was made (ie, times, dates, participants, content of discussions); (b) did the Government provide input on the timing of or contents of the speech; if so, what are the details (ie, who and the nature of the communications between the Government and NBN Co); (c) was the Government informed in advance of the speech and/or its content; if so, when and how; and (d) has the Government, or NBN Co, sought advice at any point concerning whether the speech might breach election caretaker provisions, either before or after the speech was given; if so, when was advice sought and given, by whom, and what advice was received.

Mr Albanese (Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) —The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

(a)   NBN Co informed the Minister’s office of the speech and its contents prior to its delivery at the Charles Todd Memorial Oration. NBN Co did not seek clearance for the speech.

(b)   No. Mr Quigley accepted the invitation to speak at the Charles Todd Memorial Oration many months before the federal election was called. Mr Quigley had no foreknowledge the Oration would fall during the 2010 federal election.

(c)   See answer at a) above.

(d)   No. Matters raised by Mr Quigley in relation to the National Broadband Network within the speech were consistent with government policy decisions made prior to the caretaker period.