“Get fucked”: Turnbull staffer turns on blogger!
One of Malcolm Turnbull’s senior staffers has sent a popular Australian technology blogger a caustic email telling him to “get fucked” and informing him that “nobody takes your psychotic rantings seriously”, as the relationship between Turnbull and sections of Australia’s technology community continues to sour.
The blogger concerned, Steve Jenkin, runs a popular local blog entitled ‘Stevej on NBN’. Jenkin, who is a long-time IT professional, is well-known for his regular articles severely criticising the Coalition’s National Broadband Network policy and praising Labor’s policy. Recent headlines on his site have labelled the Coalition’s fibre to the node-based policy a “financial disaster” which will lose the Federal Government “billions”, for example, and Jenkin has also attempted to fact-check a number of key Coalition assertions.
Although Jenkin has taken a broadly partisan approach in his work, his blog is read by some elements of Australia’s technology community. Jenkin has also engaged directly with technology journalists in an effort to get his ideas publicised more widely, and has succeeded in having his articles published on some media outlets, such as Technology Spectator. In addition, Jenkin has also engaged with Turnbull’s office directly, in an attempt to obtain more information about the Coalition’s NBN policy.
Jenkin published one of those interactions on his blog yesterday, consisting of an email exchange between the blogger and Stephen Ellis, a policy advisor who works directly for Turnbull and is believed to have directly responsible for helping to develop the Coalition’s NBN policy, as well as the background briefing document which was released alongside the policy in March. Ellis has an extensive background in both journalism and technology; details of which can be found online.
In his blog post, Jenkin noted that he was seeking detailed information from Ellis with regard to the figures which went in to the Coalition’s NBN policy, especially associated with the Coalition’s projected wholesale costs associated with its future NBN vision. “I wrote to a senior Turnbull staffer, asking a reasonable commercial question that [retail ISPs] should know before the election, so they might review their business plans and start contingency planning,” wrote Jenkin.
In response, Ellis severely rejected Jenkin’ email and attacked him personally, according to the email published on Jenkin’ site. “I mark your emails ‘junk’ (like your copy) so didn’t see your note until [Communications Day publisher Grahame Lynch] replied,” wrote Ellis.
“Nobody challenges your numbers because nobody takes your psychotic rantings seriously. Nobody. Nevertheless they are all wrong. All of them – you don’t have a clue about the existing deal, much less how it might be modified. Given what you write is a delusional fantasy that exists only in your own mind, you can get fucked.”
Malcolm Turnbull has since issued a statement of “regret” following his staffer’s outburst.