Thursday, 25 November 2010
Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2010
Madam Chair, I am going to do something quite radical: I am going to talk for less than two minutes and I will be speaking directly to the opposition’s amendment. I do not support the opposition’s amendment. I believe there are sufficient safeguards in the government’s legislation to allow any decision made by the minister to be a disallowable instrument. It is important that you have a series of penalties, a combination of carrots and sticks if you like. The carrot is the $11 billion or so that Telstra will receive if it structurally separates, but you need to have some sticks there to ensure compliance and to give the minister that discretion. The fact that it is a disallowable instrument has a requisite level of accountability for this parliament to scrutinise any decision made by the minister. It is an improvement on the earlier version of the bill. Therefore, I will continue to support the government’s position on this, not the opposition’s—and I have done it in less than two minutes.