Public Relations Nightmare on Elm Street

This is Stephen Conroy. He’s Australia’s Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, and he infamously proposed the “clean feed” for Australian ISPs. The clean feed would require ISPs to install filtering hardware, and use it to apply a secret government blacklist to the intertubes of everyone in Australia - at the cost of millions of false positives and significantly degraded performance.

This is Fake Stephen Conroy. His bio says “I’m a 45 year old politician who’ll do anything to please you. Don’t worry girl, I gots ‘protection’, and it’ll degrade my performance all night long.” He also says “Which sounds better? ‘Foetid online ghetto’ or ‘Facebook’?”; and “God I hate the Internet. Why can’t I be the Minister for something awesome, like Chocolatiers?”. He has been interviewed previously.

This is Leslie Nassar. He works for Telstra, which is directly regulated by Stephen Conroy (the real one). Yesterday he outed himself as the brain behind Fake Stephen Conroy.

This is Mike Hickinbotham, a PR flack at Telstra, who claims that Nassar wasn’t told to shut Fake Stephen Conroy down. (This is Now We Are Talking, Telstra’s press release recycling centre and their sad excuse for online customer outreach.)

This is David Quilty, Telstra’s Group MD for Public Policy and Communications, who ‘had a f*cking stroke’ when he found out that Fake Stephen Conroy was being written by a Telstra employee - and apparently did order Nassar to shut FSC down.

This is Telstra, Australia’s unloved and unlovable monopoly landline telco, who doesn’t seem to realise that Fake Stephen Conroy is the greatest thing to emerge from Telstra since… well, since ever.

This is a spokesman for the real Stephen Conroy, who said “The real Stephen Conroy is aware of the fake Stephen Conroy […] Satire is an important part of any healthy democracy.”

Your editor thinks that if Conroy himself wanted Fake Stephen Conroy shut down, that’d be one thing. But under this set of circumstances, Telstra needs to get a life.