Leaks Nix Australia Network Tender Process

  • No news on who leaked info
  • No news on what info was leaked
  • ABC gets to continue

The Gillard Government today terminated the Australia Network tender process, acting on the advice of the Australian Government Solicitor, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, announced.

“The advice which the Government has received is that due to significant leaks of confidential information to the media, the Australia Network tender process has been compromised to such a degree that a fair and equitable outcome may no longer be able to be achieved,” Conroy said. “As a result, the Government has taken the decision that it is in the best interests of both tender parties, and the Government, that the process be terminated. The Government has asked the Australian Federal Police to investigate the leaks.

“The Government is extremely disappointed that such leaks have occurred and that the process has been compromised.

“This decision has not been taken lightly but the Government believes that the advice received about the tender process leaves no other option.”

To provide for the continuing operation of the Australia Network in the interim, the Government has granted a six month extension to the contract of the incumbent operator, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), until August 2012 while the Government resolves the long term contractual arrangements.

The government has not indicated what the leaks comprised of, who made the leaks, and why they would affect the tender process.

The Australia Network broadcasts to more than 44 Pacific and Asian countries and is this region’s version of the BBC World Service. The Federal Opposition, led by Deputy Leader Julie Bishop, has slammed the decision as a ‘sham’ and questioned Conroy’s part in the decision as she alleges he has a conflict of interest due to being the Minister responsible for the ABC who currently holds the contract.