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Nick Minchin

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,
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Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: 02 6277 3004
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Thursday, 15 October 2009 Printer Friendly Version

Claims by Stephen Conroy that his radical telecommunications proposals have to be rushed through the Parliament this year are complete nonsense Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Nick Minchin said today.

“Make no mistake, despite Senator Conroy’s claims that this legislation is all about delivering better outcomes for consumers, the truth is it is all about the Government abusing its power to force Telstra to prop up its dodgy $43 billion NBN,” Senator Minchin said.

“If Senator Conroy was fair dinkum he would have a separate piece of legislation dealing with the existing regulatory regime and consumer safeguards and not incorporate it with legislative threats and blackmail aimed solely at forcing Telstra to play ball with the NBN.”

Senator Conroy pretends this legislation is not all about the NBN, yet David Fore man from the Competitive Carriers Coalition told the legislation inquiry yesterday: “If you suggested to me that the NBN was likely to succeed in the absence of this legislation I would say that’s a pretty big bet.”

The Government’s NBN implementation study is expected to be completed in February and as a result it makes no sense to ram through this legislation, before the Government even knows what the future telecommunications landscape may even look like.

“The Coalition is certainly not opposed to sensible telco regulatory reform and consumer safeguards.

“However, moves by any Government that threaten to break-up a major publicly listed Australian company and which could ultimately have a detrimental impact on consumers, particularly if the NBN does not materialise, need to be exposed to rigorous cross examination,” Senator Minchin said.

“This legislation will be extensively debated in both the House and the Senate and in its current form will undoubtedly require the Parliament to consider substantive amendments.

“Therefore it should not be rushed through in the final Senate sitting days of the year and the Government should engage in proper commercial negotiations with Telstra over the coming months, free of threats that will only serve to distort such negotiations.

“Senator Conroy has already wasted two years as a result of his inept handling of broadband policy and this legislation is urgent only to him, because his political fortunes are shackled to his reckless NBN Mark II proposal,” Senator Minchin said.

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