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

You will be wiping the egg off your face soon enough, Senator Back. This bill is about the structure of the telecommunications sector. Many of those opposite privately support the structural separation of Telstra, but they are led by the dinosaur Luddite at the front table who is just clinging to his legacy where he helped to introduce a privatised monopoly, the world’s most vertically integrated monopoly, with almost no regulation just so he could fool a few shareholders by pumping up the dividend stream and look after the sale of Telstra. He had no policy about the future of the telecommunications sector and no policies about what was best for consumers. It was simply about what Senator Minchin could hang on his wall and say, ‘I flogged off Telstra; look how much I got for it.’ That is all he is defending. He has no policy position on the future structure of the telecommunications sector. Put aside that Senator Minchin’s own bill said, ‘Let’s have a review two years after privatisation.’ Guess what? It is two years hence. The government has decided that we believe this is the best structure for the future benefit of Australians and for the future benefit of all telecommunications consumers. Those opposite should be exposed as the frauds and charlatans they are. They have not had a broadband policy for 13 years and they are standing here as the emperor with no clothes. Their sole achievement was to flog off Telstra for as much as they could get for it.


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