Fielding gives Telstra keys to split Bill

Family First senator Steve Fielding will meet Telstra chief David Thodey on Monday afternoon before deciding whether to support legislation that will force the break-up of Australia's largest telco.

Family First Senator Steve Fielding will meet Telstra executives on Monday afternoon before deciding whether to support legislation that will force the break-up of Australia's largest telco.

Senator Stevie Fielding

Senator Fielding at home
(Credit: Senator Fielding's Office)

Debate has resumed in the Senate on draft laws that pave the way for the government to force the telco to separate its wholesale and retail arms. It is possible the Senate will vote on the legislation as early as Monday evening.

The government needs Senator Fielding's support to ensure the legislation is passed but the Family First senator, who met with NBN Co chief Mike Quigley last week, is yet to decide which way he will go.

A spokesman for Senator Fielding said he was still "firming up" his position.

His decision will determine whether the government has to go back to the drawing board with its strategy for rolling out the $43 billion national broadband network.

The government wants Telstra to sell some of its existing infrastructure to NBN Co so it can be used for the high-speed internet network.

The Opposition has vowed to vote against the Bill, calling it unAustralian, since it held a gun to the heads of the company's shareholders.

This morning the party's Senators said that without having seen the National Broadband Network's implementation study there was no way that they could vote on the Bill, which according to former Communications Shadow Minister Nick Minister was "related entirely to the National Broadband Network".

The minister has already tried to have consideration of the Bill delayed, introducing a motion to that effect last week. The motion was voted down.

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