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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

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 Printer Friendly Version

Those Australians who in good faith bought Telstra shares in T1, T2 and T3 have every right to feel utterly deceived by the Rudd Government, Shadow Minister for Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Nick Minchin said today.
Speaking at the CommsDay Melbourne Conference Senator Minchin said Labor had no mandate whatsoever to use legislation to dismember Telstra and destroy shareholder value.
“Until 15 September, structural separation had never been Labor policy and of course it has never been Coalition policy. Telstra shares were sold and bought by 1.4 million shareholders on that basis,” Senator Minchin said.
Labor’s 2007 Federal election policy states: “Labor will ensure that Telstra’s wholesale and retail functions are clearly distinct within the company.” Senator Minchin said the key concerns with Labor’s $43 billion NBN Mark II proposal include:
 It involves the re-nationalisation of our fixed-line telecommunications infrastructure.
 It gets the Government back into the business of running a telecoms company, a business the government successfully and sensibly exited with the sale of Telstra.
 It exposes taxpayers to all the risks inherent in running a complex and costly telecoms business.
 It renders the government once again hopelessly conflicted as the owner and operator of a commercial business which it is responsible for regulating.
 It involves massive borrowings underwritten by the taxpayer.
 There is substantial opportunity cost in relation to other much-needed infrastructure.
 It will be very unlikely that the government will be able to privatise it as promised five years after it’s built, leaving taxpayers stuck with up to $43 billion locked up in a telecoms company which may well not be commercially viable.

Senator Minchin also questioned why Labor had not bothered to even canvass more practical, realistic and cost-effective alternatives to its $43 billion NBN; options consistent with the sensible approaches adopted by many other Governments.
“The Coalition's priority remains those parts of Australia that do not currently enjoy affordable access to decent broadband services today. It is those areas that Labor totally ignores with its vague promise of broadband on the ‘never, never’,” Senator Minchin said.

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