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

8:36 pm

Photo of Scott LudlamScott Ludlam (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I find that highly objectionable. I do not actually think that that is afoot. What we do plan on introducing to these bills later in the debate is some kind of transparent review so that we actually know whether this is going on. The problem we have at the moment is that the government has proposed a hypothetical national broadband network, the opposition has attacked a hypothetical broadband network, the industry is circling around trying to work out how their business models are impacted by this hypothetical network, and nobody actually knows how this is going to play out in reality.

On this amendment, and I will refer to this a couple of times as we move through it, we are seeking to have some kind of transparent record of how this network is operating as it is built. Is there scope creep occurring? Are electricity utilities becoming covert retail service providers? Heaven forbid. Are the legitimate interests of the telco providers, who by and large still support the passage of this legislation, being trespassed upon? I do not think anybody in this chamber can say for certain how these issues will be resolved until we start to see the market perform. Predictions of how competition policy is going to impact on any given sector are notoriously unreliable. We believe the redrafting, as far as this clause is concerned anyway, that the government has proposed is about right in terms of the way the utilities will interact with the broadband network. I will state now for the record that the Greens will not be supporting this opposition amendment and we hope that we can get back vaguely on topic.

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