Senate debates

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009

Second Reading

11:31 am

Photo of Stephen ConroyStephen Conroy (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

The government does not support Senator Minchin’s proposal to suspend standing orders. How many bites of the cherry can you have? The Senate has already voted to allow this bill to proceed. But this is nothing new. After 11½ years of doing nothing and 18 failed broadband plans, those opposite have spent the last 2½ years avoiding having a policy in this sector. There is a good reason why they have been avoiding having a policy; it is because they have not got one. We had Senator Minchin in charge of this portfolio for nearly 18 months. There were 180 press releases and not a policy in sight because he has not moved from his sycophantic position of doing whatever Telstra asks. That is what the previous government’s position was and that is what the position of the current opposition is—‘Whatever Telstra and Sol Trujillo tell me to do, that is what I will do.’ Nothing has changed.

This country has suffered. This country has fallen behind the rest of the world. This country has fallen behind our near neighbours. Our children are getting a worse education. Our health sector could be massively improved if we had decent broadband infrastructure in this country. This opposition has sought to delay at every stage. They are exposed as being a pack of frauds when it comes to wanting to deliver a broadband policy. They do not have one and we are seeing yet again an attempt to delay, obfuscate and obstruct. This is an opposition that blocked 41 bills last year, which is the record. There have been 110 years of this parliament and they set the record for blocking bills last year.


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