Thursday, 25 November 2010
Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2010
I thank Senator Xenophon for moving these amendments. The opposition’s position is fairly clear in this space. We have further amendments listed on the running sheet and we look forward to their being debated. Those amendments go very much to maintaining the current integrity of the ACCC in their current processes and to ensuring that the Competition and Consumer Act processes, as they exist, are upheld in relation to this deal.
However, we recognise that, as a consequence of certain arrangements and agreements that have been made in this chamber between different members, it is unlikely that our amendments will succeed. We will put them vigorously when the time comes but we are pragmatists and we think that Senator Xenophon’s amendments, which have been moved with some variation following discussions with the opposition, are a useful improvement on what the government had originally provided. As a consequence of that the coalition will be supporting Senator Xenophon’s amendments as he has moved in the different groupings he has indicated.
We believe it is important that there be decent ACCC analysis of the deal with Telstra. We think that is important and we think that the government is being negligent in the approach they have taken in that regard. Senator Xenophon’s amendments will at least ensure that there is some level of transparency to the type of analysis that could be undertaken. We welcome that, and we think that that will be a positive step forward. We will be supporting his amendments, and we hope that in the meantime he will reconsider his position on our amendments, which would uphold the entire processes of the Competition and Consumer Act with regard to ACCC inquiry.