Three independent MPs looking into NBN

Julia Gillard has invited the three independent MPs to meet with NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley to discuss Labor’s proposed national broadband network (NBN) in more detail.

Jullia Gillard wrote: “...with respect to your keen interest in Broadband, would you like a briefing with the chief executive officer and director of NBN Co Mr Mike Quigley? He would be best placed to provide you with the technical information on aspects of the NBN including the roll-out and other information you may be seeking.”

The invitation arrived after the three independents, Rob Oakeshott, Bob Katter and Tony Windsor, sent a letter yesterday requesting more information on seven key areas “regarding the current functioning of Government, and advice on the plans that your political party has to improve Government.” The letter was addressed to both Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

“Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy” was listed first on the trio’s seven-point list of demands. The list also includes other key issues such as health, education and climate change.

In the request, the three independents have also requested briefings with caretaker Ministers and Shadow Ministers to discuss their program areas, including Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and his shadow, Tony Smith.

Tony Windsor yesterday draw attention to the $43 billion figure attached to Labor’s NBN, and highlighted the lack of transparency of how the figure was calculated.

He said: “I haven't seen the real trail that ends up with that number, and in fact I think it's a fictitious number," he said in a National Press Club broadcast. "We want to find out what the real one is, and there should be a trail that leads us to that."