The NBN Board

Siobhan McKenna is getting worried. She is the part-time Chairman of the Government-owned NBN Co. receiving $209,630 per annum (plus superannuation and other benefits) of taxpayers’ money and is now using our money to employ a lobbying firm (Bespoke) and the law firm Herbert Smith Freehills to lobby Coalition MPs so as to preserve their own jobs.

The Coalition is rightly promising a forensic audit into NBN and McKenna and her fellow directors are very concerned. She claims that the Coalition is ‘politicising’ the NBN, which is a bit rich given that it is a highly political organisation.

An incoming Coalition government has every right – indeed duty – to carefully examine all lines of government expenditure and programs. The NBN should not be exempt; indeed its failures are so great as to demand a forensic audit and judicial review.

McKenna has been collecting a small fortune from the taxpayer for mismanaging the NBN project and is failing in her accountability to the Parliament and to the people. If she and her colleagues really think that NBN Co. is so gloriously run, and don’t want government interference, she should offer to buy the company from the Government.

Turnbull has written to McKenna in response to her letter. He clearly and fairly explained the Coalition’s position on Lateline.

Malcolm Turnbull: I’ve met with her [Ms McKenna] in my office. My door is open. If she ever wants to talk to me, my door is open. She doesn’t need a lobbyist to get in, that’s for sure.

Tony Jones: But is there anything dodgy about employing a lobbyist, particularly if you’re worried that the Coalition may have a judicial inquiry and they don’t know what the terms of reference are.

Malcolm Turnbull: Well, the terms of reference are set out in our policy document. So you don’t need a lobbyist to do that, unless you have difficulty downloading our policy from our website, which would be odd for the Chairman of a broadband company.

Turnbull is spot on in stating that the employment of the lobbying firm and legal firm is for the benefit of the directors and not of the company. It should therefore not be paid by the company (and thus the taxpayer).

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35 Responses to The NBN Board

  1. Leigh Lowe

    Fraud.
    Pure and simple.

  2. Stephen Williams

    The future of the internet is mobile. Every cent spent on the NBN is wasted.
    Another RUDD / LABOR Folly
    http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/07/uc-berkeley-developing-180-nm-printed.html

  3. Splatacrobat

    Surely they have enough business accumen to lobby their own position themself?

  4. johno

    Doesn’t Alexander Downer work for Bespoke?

  5. Pickles

    I think director’s duties appear from s180 of the Corps Act onwards. Something about making a business judgment, then something about not having a material personal interest in the subject matter of the judgment.

  6. Peter H

    Turnbull was simply fantastic in that interview.

  7. Leigh Lowe

    Doesn’t Alexander Downer work for Bespoke?

    Yes.
    And …?

  8. And Another Thing

    Company directors these days have liabilities. Not surprised there is some panic at the thought of a forensic examination.

  9. Rabz

    Company directors these days have liabilities. Not surprised there is some panic at the thought of a forensic examination.

    Excellent. They’re running scared, as any worthless tax sucking labor crony should be.

  10. Leo G

    “The future of the internet is mobile. Every cent spent on the NBN”

    The future of the Internet is more likely to involve the integration of the convergent communications technologies.
    The NBN excludes emergent millimetre band mobile comma in the ‘last mile’ of the Internet connection to premises, and uses circuit switching (instead of packet switching), and indirect passive shared optical fibre (instead of active direct).
    The NBN will need to accommodate that convergence, and to ditch the convergent thinking that has led it into the present quagmire- a mindset patterned by Rudd and Conway.
    NBN Board members like Siobhan are Rudd’s legacy and will need to be drained with the swamp.

  11. Jack Spratt

    My door is open. If she ever wants to talk to me, my door is open. She doesn’t need a lobbyist to get in, that’s for sure.

    LOL
    Negotiate with Turnbull, a barrister, and company director multiple times over.
    My door is open – more like welcome to my parlour.
    McKenna should promise full cooperation and disclosure to mitigate her exposure.

  12. Septimus

    Doesn’t Alexander Downer work for Bespoke?

    Yes.
    And …?

    johno – So what? Former Labor Minister Nick Bolkus is also a principal of Bespoke.

    Herring. Red. Yes?

  13. Leo G

    ps. Sorry for missing the typo. Apple’s convergent-mindset Autocorrect changed ‘comms’ to ‘comma’ – comic really.

  14. adrian

    judicial review cat o’ nine tails

  15. egg_

    Leo G
    #930049, posted on July 19, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Phew! Thought it was a new acronym 😉

  16. Token

    The Coalition is rightly promising a forensic audit into NBN and McKenna and her fellow directors are very concerned. She claims that the Coalition is ‘politicising’ the NBN, which is a bit rich given that it is a highly political organisation.

    I found that an astounding statement. The managers have the cheek to tell the stewards to stop reviewing their work.

    Even if there were no cost blowouts, the NBN represents at least $50B investment of public money, therefore it is critical the parliament be vigilent about the investment. Considering the difference in policy viewpoint about the investment, the new Chair has come close to overstepping here.

  17. Token

    Doesn’t Alexander Downer work for Bespoke?

    Phew, at least there is one competent member of the Bespoke team. That is what you meant, isn’t it Johno 😉

  18. Empire Strikes Back

    “Siobhan? Hi, it’s Mal.”
    “Malcolm Turdball, The Minister for Communications and Broadband Rorting.”
    “Yeah thanks, it was a resounding victory.”
    “Couldn’t be better, bigger office, bigger staff, big budget and a really BIG stick.”
    “Look Siobhan, I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot here and I don’t want you to feel like you’ve been backed into a corner, so you have two choices. Audit or execution.”
    “Execution? Really? Well if you believe it’s in your best interests, fair enough. Good day Ms McKenna, I’ll see you in hell.”

  19. And Another Thing

    It’s a bit alarming, actually, seeing McKenna reacting this way. You’d think every member of such a board would be able to calmly welcome any audit of how it’s carried out its fiduciary duties. Is something about to hit the fan here?

  20. egg_

    the NBN represents at least $50B investment of public money

    $93B according to Turnbull on QandA?
    And completion date blown out to 2025 IIRC.

    Unions and contractors unhappy.
    Another festering sore for KRudd.

  21. Token

    $93B according to Turnbull on QandA?
    And completion date blown out to 2025 IIRC.

    Using the rule of thumb any sane person uses when it budgeting for government projects, double the first quote and double it again.

    It will be $150B at least, even if it is never completed.

  22. egg_

    even if it is never completed.

    Quite likely, going on past records, whoever is in Govt – the ALP will likely stuff it up and the LNP will likely curtail it for a more competitive system.

  23. Tom

    McKenna appears to be a very ambitious former advertising copywriter, a professional company director and a media and government moocher:

    Ms. Siobhan Louise McKenna is the Managing Partner at Illyria Pty, Ltd. Ms. McKenna serves as Director of Interactive of MediaWorks NZ Limited. Ms. McKenna served as General Manager of MediaWorks Interactive of MediaWorks NZ Limited. Ms. McKenna spent time in the UK with GWR, and is a Manager of the Solid Gold network and Agency Sales Manager for RadioWorks. Ms. McKenna has extensive media and government experience. She was Partner of McKinsey and Company. She started … her radio career in Dunedin and has covered many disciplines including copywriting, announcing, programming and management. She set up MediaWorks’ New Media Division in mid-2006. She is a Commissioner of the Productivity Commission. She serves as Director of The Austalian Ballet. She has been Director of TEN Network Holdings Ltd. since June 26, 2012. She serves as a Director of NBN Co. Limited. Ms. McKenna served as Non-Executive Director of Prime Media Group Limited from August 20, 2009 to March 29, 2012. She was member of the Advisory Board of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

  24. Token

    McKenna appears to be a very ambitious former advertising copywriter, a professional company director and a media and government moocher

    They promised us that the quality of Australian boards would improve by getting more women on them like Ms McKenna.

    Seems like it is yielding the same benefits a female PM gave to this country.

  25. Gab

    They promised us that the quality of Australian boards would improve by getting more women on them

    They’ll say anything to get votes and promote the Emily’s Killers agenda.

  26. Snoopy

    Your larrikin is my scum.

  27. Pickles

    It’s a great ALPCV though:

    ALP member for Woodridge 2001
    Arsed after Shepherdson inquiry (something about branch stacking in 1986)
    ALP assistant national secretary 2003
    Chief of Staff for Morris Iemma
    Chief of Staff for Anna Bligh
    NBN Govt Relations and External Affairs Executive
    NBN Head of Quality

    I think he struggles on manfully on about $450k.

  28. The Consigliere

    Peter H

    “Turnbull was simply fantastic in that interview.

    He’s fantastic on almost every NBN-related interview. The guy is a wonk and a gifted communicator. Not sure why second-rates like Abbott and Rudd are in the running when a once-in-a-generation talent is sitting on the bench.

  29. jupes

    Not sure why second-rates like Abbott and Rudd are in the running when a once-in-a-generation talent is sitting on the bench.

    LOL

    Good one TC. Next you’ll be telling us that denying people the lightbulbs of their choice will lower global temperature.

  30. He’s fantastic on almost every NBN-related interview. The guy is a wonk and a gifted communicator. Not sure why second-rates like Abbott and Rudd are in the running when a once-in-a-generation talent is sitting on the bench.

    That would be because he had a chance to lead the Liberal Party and made a complete balls-up of it, and was voted out when he tried to go down the ‘climate change is the greatest moral challenge’ path, and after the Grech error-of-judgement, and ever since then has done very little but sit on his date and appear before sycophants on Q & A, and avoid even laying a finger on the NBN catastrophe for months and months, until now.

  31. Frank Brus

    Jupes, absolutely!

    Anyone who pushes the AGW/man made climate catastrophe scam does not have the intelligence or honesty to run a government.

  32. The consigliere

    So Frank I guess you’re against anyone but Lord Monkton running our government then?

  33. Frank Brus

    I’d sure prefer him to KRudd. Anyone in fact who does not want us to go back to us living a pre-carbon energy life as in the 18th century and earlier. By the way windmills are not ever going to be an emerging technology, they have been trying to perfect them for over a thousand years and they still don’t provide energy when the wind doesn’t blow. Or Solar. You might want watch this video of a lecture by Roger Pielke Jr given in Australia in Feb 2012. youtube.com/watch?v=6TMrzZqnIPE By the way he believes in the carbon dioxide warming theory.

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