Fielding still on fence over Telstra

Summary:After meeting yesterday with Telstra executives, Family First Senator Steve Fielding still has no firm position as to which way he will vote on the Bill, which would enable the government to force Telstra's separation.

After meeting yesterday with Telstra executives, Family First Senator Steve Fielding still has no firm position as to which way he will vote on the Bill, which would enable the government to force Telstra's separation.

Senator Steve Fielding

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

While the meeting was confidential, it appeared to have had no great influence on the senator's stance, as a spokesperson for his office today told ZDNet.com.au that at this stage Fielding still has no firm position on the issue.

The Labor Government needs Senator Fielding's support to get legislation passed and force the telco to separate its wholesale and retail arms.

Yesterday, Senator Conroy requested the Bill be postponed to the next day of sitting so that other Bills could be passed. The Bill was not included in today's Senate Order of Business. Labor has until Thursday if it wants to pass the Bill in this sitting; otherwise it will have to wait until the Senate reconvenes in May.

Fielding commented on Conroy's request to postpone the Bill, telling The Age this morning, "The fact that the government has pulled the Bill shows a deal is imminent."

Conroy, however, has blamed the Opposition for the Bill's delay, stating: "The Opposition are now filibustering and wilfully delaying measures designed to fix problems with the existing telecommunications regulatory framework."

"Their tactics show they are scared of a vote. Instead of bringing it on, they've stacked on almost every Opposition speaker to fill space and slow down debate."

Fielding insisted that the government will attempt to include the Bill in this week's proceedings, "The government is committed to passing the legislation and it is our intention to bring the debate back on this week," he said in a statement.

Topics: Telcos, Government : AU, Telstra

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