Mike Quigley — the first CEO of the National Broadband Network Company — announced today he would leave the role soon to make way for fresh eyes on the project. Quigley has accomplished a great deal in the role, but his legacy is more than just cables in the ground all over the country. It's bigger.
Mike Quigley leaves behind a massive company he helped build from the ground up to tackle the largest infrastructure project in the nation's history. During his time, there have been satellites purchased, launches planned, press conferences held, premises passed, questions answered and many, many meetings held, but Quigley has more to be proud of than that.
Mike Quigley's legacy isn't a bunch of cables in the ground all over the nation, it's the spirit of diplomacy.
In his role as the head of the National Broadband Network Company, he has had to steer his way through Parliamentary Inquiry after Parliamentary Inquiry; Senate Estimates meeting after Senate Estimates meeting, not to mention fending off inflammatory statements from both sides of politics: Labor and the Coalition. Not an easy job, especially if you consider how he's approached the role: with an air of diplomacy and civility.
He never snapped, never kicked the political football, never leaked information or even used the press as a way to surreptitiously slag off those on the other side of politics. Even on the way out, he maintains this air of civility: today when asked if the statement made by Malcolm Turnbull that he was "fired" from NBN Co, he replied that he never got involved in arguments between politicians, he just got on with the job at hand.
Mike Quigley's legacy is diplomacy, and whether we think the NBN is a fruitless waste of taxpayer cash or the greatest thing the nation has ever pledged to build, we could all do well to mirror his gentlemanly demeanour when dealing with those who think differently to ourselves.