Thursday, 25 November 2010
Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2010
I rise to speak for the first time in this debate. Obviously, this debate has been very effectively led for the government by Senator Lundy and Senator Conroy. As senators would know, I am one of the two shareholder ministers in NBN Co., so I have a keen interest in this issue. I have a particular interest in rising to speak to the coalition’s amendments, which seek to deal with issues that the government has already dealt with. It seems somewhat odd that the opposition, despite the fact that many of its members at other times have recognised the importance of the structural separation of Telstra and have recognised that the current structure of Telstra has been an impediment to the development of competition and to the development of innovative products that Australians can use in this area, has nevertheless moved amendments that in many ways seek to undermine the policy intent of the legislation, which is to deliver the capacity for the structural separation of Telstra by giving effect to the arrangements that are in place between NBN Co. and Telstra. I find it extraordinary that the opposition chooses to come in here and lecture the government about contributions in this debate. We have had to move heaven and earth to get this debate on.
I have been in this chamber for quite some time. I was elected in 2001 and took office in 2002. I do not think I have ever seen the extent to which the opposition went this morning to move sequential procedural motions—