NBN chair's accusations of theft 'unfair'

Dr Ziggy Switkowski column slams staffers, calls leaks idealogical theft

NBN Co chairman Ziggy Switkowski

NBN Co chairman Ziggy Switkowski

Accusations of theft aimed at NBN staff in an opinion piece by NBN chairman Dr Ziggy Switkowski have sparked criticism from an internet user group and the ALP.

Laurie Patton, CEO of peak body, Internet Australia called the column “unhelpful and unfair” since the two unnamed NBN officers stood down following AFP raids had been given “no opportunity … to put forward their side of the story”.

Opposition frontbencher Tony Burke has called on secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Martin Parkinson to “immediately undertake inquiries” into the column, which was published on Saturday.

"I am sure that you recognise the importance of ensuring that government companies are seen to be politically impartial and that Commonwealth resources are not used for the advantage of any political party,” Burke said in a letter to Parkinson. Burke claimed the article was a “clear breach of the Caretaker Conventions and the Commonwealth Government Business Enterprise Governance and Oversight Guidelines.”

In the column, published in Fairfax Media titles, Switkowski said: “When dozens of confidential company documents are stolen, this is theft.”

It goes on to dispute the “rationalisation” that the theft was the action of whistleblowers.

“If an employee has strong personal conviction unsupportive of a company's strategy, they can argue their case with management or resign. They cannot give voice to their preferred ideology by passing on stolen documents,” he wrote.

The NBN chairman’s article continues that “it's simply wrong to diminish NBN's performance, because such accusations are not supported in fact” and reiterates that NBN “makes no apologies” for reporting the “document theft” to police.

In a statement from Internet Australia, a not-for-profit peak body for internet user, Laurie Patton said: “The alleged actions of these NBN employees and questions as to their motives should be left to be dealt with according to the appropriate legal and parliamentary processes. It is unhelpful and unfair to be publicly disparaging people who, for the moment, are unable to respond.”

“Whatever their motivations, we cannot allow the actions of two individuals, yet to be tested at law, to be used to create a public distraction from the very serious flaws in NBN's current design strategy.”

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags NBNnbn coALPziggy switkowskiInternet Australia

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
George Nott
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?