Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has defended the NBN Co recruitment process, saying it made an independent decision to hire Mike Kaiser as its government relations officer.
At a press conference, Rudd told journalists he “defended completely the integrity of the [recruitment] process” of the company responsible for rolling out the Government’s $43 billion National Broadband Network (NBN).
“I became aware of Mr Kaiser’s appointment after it was publicly announced,” Rudd said. “This was an independent decision by NBN Co, they had three sets of interviews I think.
“Mr Quigley has explained the general recruiting processes in terms of their reliance upon various methods of appointing people.
“So we have full and complete confidence in NBN Co and the CEO is doing a great job.”
NBN Co executive chairman Mike Quigley and Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy came under fire during a Senate session this week, with the Senator being accused of using his influence to appoint Mike Kaiser, who is also a former Queensland Labor MP, to the role of NBN Co government relations officer with a salary of $450,000 per year.
“I suggested him [Kaiser] as a person of possible relevant experience,” Conroy said.
Quigley revealed at the hearing that Kaiser was the sole candidate and the job was not advertised.
Opposition communications spokesperson, Tony Smith, has lashed out at the admission in comments given to Computerworld.
“This raises serious questions about the NBN Co’s employment and management processes, and the level of political involvement and interference by the Rudd Government,” he said. “It is not the job of the Minister to suggest potential jobs for Labor mates at NBN Co.”