Conroy loses Greens over NBN study

Conroy loses Greens over NBN study

Summary: Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has refused to debate legislation regarding the split of Telstra after Communications Minister Stephen Conroy failed to hand over the National Broadband Network implementation study today.

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Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has refused to debate legislation regarding the split of Telstra after Communications Minister Stephen Conroy failed to hand over the National Broadband Network implementation study today.

Stephen Conroy

Stephen Conroy
(Credit: Liam Tung and Ed Tran/ZDNet.com.au )

Ludlam successfully moved a motion in the upper house last week calling on Senator Conroy to release the report by 17 March. Almost three hours after the deadline lapsed, the minister announced the Federal Government had received the report — on 5 March — but would not be handing it over.

"The government is currently considering the implementation study [and is] accordingly not in a position to comply with the Senate order," Senator Conroy told parliament.

The comprehensive document, hundreds of pages long, deals with the ownership and structure of NBN Co, the company that will build and operate the proposed broadband network.

Senator Conroy said the study also explores network design issues and makes a "significant number" of recommendations.

"It is not uncommon, and in fact is sensible, responsible and appropriate, for governments to take some time to consider reports they receive before decisions are made about release and next steps," he said.

Senator Ludlam said the Greens would not support any future debate on telecommunications legislation until the government released the study.

"Quite frankly, there's $43 billion on the table, that's a blank cheque and the minister's asking the parliament and the public to simply trust him.

"On an infrastructure project of this scale that is just not appropriate."

Earlier in the week, Family First Senator Steve Fielding said he believed a deal between the government and Telstra on the telco's assets was "imminent".

But Senator Ludlam said he doubted there would soon be a deal and that it was unlikely there would even be a vote on the legislation.

"This is a very, very important piece of information on the NBN which obviously has quite major consequences for the Telstra legislation," he said.

"The support of the Australian Greens is essential for the government's telecommunications agenda to progress. That support can no longer be taken for granted.

"To be honest, I don't think we're going to come to vote."

Conroy did not directly address the Greens' criticism but instead said the "hypocrisy" of the Opposition was "on full display" regarding the matter.

"The Howard Government on many occasions either failed to release reports or studies they were provided, or did so after a significant period of time," Conroy said. "I am advised that between 1 July 2005 and 2007 only one motion for the production of documents in the Senate was agreed to."

"For them to now criticise the government for a lack of transparency and for not releasing the implementation study after having received it on 5 March, less than two weeks ago, is the height of hypocrisy."

Topics: Government, Broadband, Government AU, Telcos, Telstra, NBN

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7 comments
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  • $50,000 per page

    That's the cost to the taxpayer to state the obvious!
    That the nbn will cost a lot more without telstra and if telstra is allowed to compete the nbn is dead. ( Just send my check in the mail mr conroy)
    Otherwise the government would not be holding a gun to telstra head.
    So Mr conroy 30million wasted on the failed tender process, another 25 million to state the obvious. this is looking more expense stuff up than the insulation affair. At least conroy hasn't killed anyone yet!
    That poor soldier who spent some of the taxpayers money on a call girl, he lost his job didn't he. TIME FOR MR CONROY TO BE SHOWN THE DOOR KEV !
    anonymous
  • jumping ship

    Not only has Conroy lost the greens, labor has lost me. Entirely because of Conroy. I will not sit by and vote for a man who wants to treat me like 5 year old. Anyone who thinks the internet filter stops with child porn is sadly deluded.

    I wonder what the eventual benfit would have been of just spending the 43 billion on building higher throughput network on the major state and international arteries - that is where my connection falls down. Accessing local content - 8-10mb. accessing foreign content - 1-3 mb. Not saying I wouldnt like faster internet, but this man is just throwing money away.
    anonymous
  • Govt treats taxpayers like idiots

    Mr conroy and therefore " I'm responsible" Mr Rudd are treating the taxpayers like idiots.
    They don't think we deserve to see the report into the nbn.
    This issue has dominated the political landscape in the last 6 months like no other. the government finally has an independent report ( at taxpayers expense) regarding this issue and they do what?
    They don't release it to the public or parliment. Mr Rudd promised open and accountable government when he got elected. We have all been had. He is a little nerdy jerk who will say anything to get elected or re elected. As his I'm going to fix the health system. Well Kev why didn't you fix it 3 years ago!
    anonymous
  • Thats because you are.

    Why didn't Howard fix it the previous 10 years or however to long he was in.
    anonymous
  • How says howard is better

    what has howrd got to do with it! My point is little nerdy Kev 07 fooled us all. In hind sight it was all hipe and no substance.
    climate warming nothing done
    japanese whaling keeps going
    nbn what a joke
    now health !
    The health announcement has been made before the election to get votes, if they had announced it 2 years ago and implemented it we would now be in a position to see if it worked.
    Kev however will be like all other politicans and blame everyone else for their failures.
    Kev and Obama what let downs they have turned out to be, just like every other politians ( FULL OF SH*T)
    anonymous
  • Freedom to compete for all.

    I still do not believe that an Australian Government would regulate the destruction of an Australian company by foul blackmail to the financial detriment of millions of Australians.

    If a win, win situation does not result from the Telstra/Rudd negotiations then I would think the Prime Minister will have serious difficulty in seeing his Party returned after the next election.

    The tide is certainly turning against the Rudd dominating excesses and this will accelerate as the truth of the situation is exposed and the Australian people see the NBN Co plan for monopoly without competition revealed.
    anonymous
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