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Nick Minchin

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate
Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Liberal Senator for South Australia
Nick Minchin


Senator the Hon Nick Minchin

PO BOX 2141
Kent Town SA 5071

36 Grenfell Street
Kent Town SA 5067

Phone: 08 8362 8600
Fax: 08 8362 8579
Toll Free: 1300 301 647
(Toll free in South Australia only,
for the cost of a local call

Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: 02 6277 3004
Fax: 02 6277 5703

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 Printer Friendly Version

The Rudd Governmentís move to force the structural separation of Telstra is a naked and desperate attempt to prop up its reckless $43 billion NBN Mark II proposal, Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Nick Minchin said.

"Until yesterday Labor has never advocated the structural separation of Telstra and it certainly wasnít its policy at the last election," Senator Minchin said.

"Despite saying it is prepared to 'go it alone' on the NBN, the reality is it knows that without Telstraís assets, expertise and customer base the project simply cannot be viable and probably will never get built.

"Out of pure desperation, resulting from its failure to deliver on its broadband election promises, it has now put a gun to the head of Telstra to try to force it and its 1.4 million shareholders to help Labor deliver on its promise.

"While the Government claims these moves are about increasing competition in the telecommunications sector, what this is all about is creating a new Government-owned monopoly network," Senator Minchin said.

In introducing its legislation yesterday the key objective of the Rudd Government is plain for all to see; forcing Telstra to migrate all its fixed-line customers to the NBN. Without them, there is simply no chance the network will be viable.

As the Governmentís second reading speech states, one of the options the company has been given would involve "Telstra progressively migrating its fixed line traffic to the NBN over an agreed period of time and under set regulatory arrangements and for it to sell or cease to use its fixed line assets."

"It is plainly obvious that the Rudd Government does not care about increasing competition in the sector or what's in the best interests of consumers, or even Telstra shareholders and the company's 30,000 employees," Senator Minchin said.

"All it cares about is blackmailing Telstra, so it is left with no option but to hand over its copper network and relinquish all its fixed line customers to a Government controlled NBN.

"This objective is further highlighted by the Government's threat to stop Telstra acquiring spectrum and thus to restrict its capacity to bring online new high speed wireless broadband services, in a highly competitive sector of the market where it has a less than 50 per cent share," Senator Minchin said.

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