Senate debates

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2010

In Committee

7:54 pm

Photo of Nick XenophonNick Xenophon (SA, Independent) Share this | Hansard source

I seek leave in relation to schedule 1, item 30, and after item 64, that I move amendments (1) to (3) standing in my name.

Leave granted.

I move amendments (1) to (3) on sheet 7005 revised standing in my name:

(1)    Schedule 1, item 30, page 10 (line 20), omit the heading to subsection 577A(2), substitute:

Transparency and equivalence

(2)    Schedule 1, item 30, page 10 (line 21), after “relating to”, insert “transparency and”.

(3)    Schedule 1, item 30, page 10 (line 32), after “provides for”, insert “transparency and”.

These amendments insert the term ‘transparency’ into the ACCC’s consideration of whether or not to accept a structural separation undertaking. This is essentially about the concept of equivalence, and in terms of wholesalers having access to the services. Essentially, by inserting the concept of transparency it will allow for a more forensic examination of issues in relation to the concept of equivalence. It will allow for a greater level of scrutiny, which I believe would be relevant in terms of giving protection to consumers. The three amendments are related to that.

It is important to have this additional level of scrutiny, in a sense, by incorporating the concept of transparency. That is why I urge my colleagues to support this amendment. These amendments are practical and sensible. They are amendments that would work and I believe would not cause difficulty to the ACCC in the sense that they would fit in well with the current statutory scheme.

I also want to say that I am grateful for the advice I have been receiving from Associate Professor Frank Zumbo from the University of New South Wales, who is a long-time champion of competition issues. I figure he cannot be too bad, because he seems to annoy whoever is in government, whether it is a Liberal or Labor government. So he must be doing something right. I am grateful for his advice on these and other issues. This would advance the bill in terms of strengthening provisions that I think would assist consumers when it comes to determining a structural separation undertaking.


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