House debates

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2010

Consideration in Detail

6:53 pm

Photo of Michelle RowlandMichelle Rowland (Greenway, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Come in spinner! It is a 21st century network, but let us go back to a 20th century problem that was taken away in 2002. The member for Wentworth talked about timing and timing is everything. In dynamic industries like telcos where the amount of money on interconnect charges and on declared services is measured in minutes means that every single day of delay amounts to millions of dollars. I will also let the member for Mackellar know that some of the companies I acted for went broke waiting for their cases to be heard in the Australian Competition Tribunal. It was an absolute disgrace that that happened.

In 2002 the issue to be addressed was that of gaming and no-one could compete against Telstra’s market power in this area. That is why merits review was specifically removed. This is an area of this debate which I feel strongly about. It does not matter if you have all the competition levers right and it does not matter if you have all the ex ante and ex post rules right because, when you have operators with significant market power and the ability to game the regulatory system, you simply undo it all for consumers. These amendments will actually undo all the gains that will be made.

I say to the people here and to the member for Lyne that this is important. This is not something that is about justice. These are not amendments that seek to uphold justice. These are amendments which are ill conceived and will actually result in residents in the member for Lyne’s electorate and in my electorate being adversely affected by these changes. I urge members here to reject these amendments. (Time expired)


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