Senate debates

Thursday, 24 March 2011

National Broadband Network Companies Bill 2010; Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network Measures — Access Arrangements) Bill 2011

In Committee

6:09 pm

Photo of Mary FisherMary Fisher (SA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

Minister, you have accused the opposition with this amendment of doing the bidding of Telstra. That is pretty curious when, with your maintenance of your position on this aspect of the legislation, you are doing the bidding of NBN Co. Your government is doing the bidding, quite happily, of NBN Co. and its current master, Mr Mike Quigley, not only with this provision of this bill, which this opposition amendment seeks to change, but also in respect of Mr Quigley’s constant opposition to any reasonable scrutiny of his being in charge of a government owned entity expending significant amounts of taxpayers’ money. Far from the opposition doing the bidding of Telstra with this particular amendment, your government is doing the bidding of NBN Co. and its boss, Mike Quigley.

But it is worse than that. The fact that more than one person or body has a good idea does not discredit the goodness of that idea. There is no mortgage on a good idea. Great minds often think alike. Maybe in this particular respect, Minister, you could consider the fact that Telstra’s great mind just happens to think alike to the opposition’s great mind in this respect.

When you hang up the phone, Minister, you will probably remember that it is also true that fools seldom differ. Maybe that is why the government is choosing in this respect to do the bidding of NBN Co. and its boss, Mike Quigley—that is, the sad fact that fools seldom differ. You have also tried to suggest that this opposition amendment ‘tells them what to do with it’—I am not quite sure who ‘them’ is—and is therefore anticompetitive. You are deliberately missing the point. The effect of this opposition amendment is not to tell them, or indeed anyone, what to do with it. The intent of this opposition amendment is to tell them—to the extent that there is a ‘them’ defined by you—what they cannot do with it. It is hardly anticompetitive to say what they cannot do with—


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