Conroy: Telstra share price not my fault

Conroy: Telstra share price not my fault

Summary: Minister for Communications Stephen Conroy today rejected any claim that Telstra's share price, which has fallen below $3 per share, is the fault of the government.


Minister for Communications Stephen Conroy today rejected any claim that Telstra's share price, which has fallen below $3 per share, is the fault of the government.

"I'm not sure why [Telstra shareholders] can blame the government's draft Bill when their share price fell bellow $3 before the Bill was issued," said Conroy. "I'm not sure whether shareholders had forward knowledge. I think [the Bill] was fairly closely held."

Last week the Conroy released the government's draft National Broadband Network (NBN) legislation, which outlined that the NBN Co could, under ministerial discretion, sell retail services to a separate entity, placing it in direct competition with Telstra and other telcos.

Telstra sent a letter to shareholders this morning which raised alarm over the government's possible intentions.

"Although it is only draft legislation, it raises for the first time the prospect of NBN Co becoming a government-funded retailer, not just a wholesale network provider," Telstra chief David Thodey and chairman Catherine Livingstone said.

Telstra's stock is currently trading at about $2.90 a share — well down from $3.43 on 1 January.

"[Telstra] felt they had to react to shareholders to point out what was on the front page of a range of newspapers last week," Conroy said of the letter issued by Thodey and Livingstone.

Conroy declined to comment on what kind of telecommunication services he had in mind for the NBN Co to offer when the legislation was written. "It's a draft for comment," he said.

"We're awaiting to see what the commentary is on that. I know there are some people out there commenting this is a good thing. There are those out there commenting it is a bad thing. We put this draft legislation out specifically — specifically — to get industry comment. This is not a piece of legislation we have announced that is going into parliament. This is a piece of legislation we put out there for comment."

AAP contributed to this article

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

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Hindenberg defence!

    Shareholders should be outaged!!!!!

    Conjob says its "not my fault" because my all controlling NAZI leader made me do it!

    Lets see if Mr "I take full responsibilty" rudd will have learned after Peter Garret fiasco!!
  • Describe Steven Conroy with one word..

  • re Describe Steven Conroy with one word..

  • Telstra a "political football"

    They are using Telstra (& sharholders) as their plaything!

    This ingnoramus is an idiot if he thinks it has no affct on Telstra's shareprice!
  • well deserved

    Not a problem. Rip off the country for God knows how long, treat your customers like sh*t, abuse the government, pay your imported (and idiotic) execs ridiculous salaries, stifle technological advancement, treat your employees like and suppliers like sh*t, use the legal system to abuse your monopolistic status - this is the end result.

    It couldn't happen to a nicer company!!

    I do however feel sorry for your normal, everyday, shareholders (and that doesn't include you, Sydney!)

    McGauchi and Trujillo - what a winning combination that was.
  • So he's an idiot, but where to from here...?

    I have been saying for ages, that "in my opinion", while ever their is NBN disagreement and the "unknown", TLS shares will be volatile with downward pressures...that's the nature of the beast.

    That's why I also suggested only a few months ago, even when they were $3.50 or so and looked to be on the way back up, without an NBN agreement, they would again go under $3. Of course, I was laughed at by those few "special" TLS shareholders, hi Mike, Syd, Vasso.

    For example, had Syd listened and sold even at $3,50, he could now buy back in at $2.93 and he would have recouped $40k on those 70 000 shares, but...

    So whether my reasoning was/is sound or not, whether it was right or just a lucky (or unlucky depending on your circumstances) this has occured they are again under $3...

    But I also suggested that if Telstra got in and nutted out an NBN deal, they would certainly be a good speculative buy at $3 and under. I (supposed Telstra basher #1) even bought a few.

    So, whether we agree or disgaree with the way the government is handling this. Agree or disagree with how the Howard govenment handled the sale. Agree or disagree that Sol was/wasn't a flop. Agree or disagree David is a bit soft. Think Telstra is saint or sinner. Or call Conroy an idiot, ignoramus or whatever (it may make you feel better, but) it won't change reality, one iota!

    "In my opinion again"...

    The reality is... Telstra needs to consolidate, now!

    They need to nut out the best deal they can with the government, ASAP, agree and then get on with business. Otherwise????????

    It's in Telstra best interests (the shares at one stage today hit $2.88 a new all time low by 5c, and only 52c more than SGT, so...). This "unknown" is crippling Telstra and it is in their interest to consolidate...

    But it's also in the government's best interests (prior to an election) to get the NBN happening ASAP and the easiest way for this to happen, is to deal with Telstra.

    So each has bargaining chips and I reiterate TLS may still be a sound but still speculative buy at these levels...
  • I hope it is not a smoke screen.

    NBN Co with retail service? Imagine NBN and Telstra strikes a deal at some stage after the bill is passed, does that mean the JV between NBN & TLS then will offer retail telecom business? Is it a form of compensating TLS by the government ? Is that why Mr Conroy not sorry for the slump in TLS price? Maybe this year's election will be the judge time.
  • Conroy IQ. Not big numbers.

    I refuse to believe that an Australian Minister of the Crown is so mentally defective as to not understand that his Government blackmail of Telstra is destroying the financial assets of the Australian people.

    When will the penny drop for Optus etc that they will be driven to the wall with Telstra when Conroy gets his NBN vertically integrated monopoly?
  • dee

    I think the telstra shareholders should take Conroy and the government to court .
    They are destroying our communications. they have lied about what they are doing.
    This government is setting a bad precedent whenever they talk.
  • to......well deserved

    Right in some ways, but so wrong in many.

    "It couldn't happen to a nicer company" was the wrong observation. If you think Telstra is so bad, take a look at some of our banks, as a comparison. As for Stephen Conroy, there are no words that can appropriately describe this disgraceful excuse for a Government Minister. He is an absolute joke !!!
  • where to from here...?

    "For example, had Syd listened and sold even at $3,50, he could now buy back in at $2.93 and he would have recouped $40k on those 70 000 shares, but... "

    "I (supposed Telstra basher # 1) even bought a few.

    Why would you buy a few, if you were not greedy, as you continually refer to the Telstra shareholders as being.

  • "not my fault"

    Well what did you expect to happen Einstein? I think it's more a point that he just doesn't care about what his NBN / Filter is doing to this country.

    Epic Fail.
  • Hindenberg defence

    I can assure you this shareholder and voter is outraged also. This whole NBN thing is nothing more than a peeved Socialist Government attempting to take back Telstra without paying the shareholders just compensation. There is corporate law that can hold directors accountable for damage they may do to a PRIVATE company's shareprice. Maybe there is none but the ballot box to hold Conroy and his mob to account, as they do a Garret on Telstra.
  • Describe Steven Conroy in one word

  • Monopoly

    So Telstra isn't a vertically integrated monopoly and hasn't completely abused its powers for ages now?
    Seriously, just stop you're whining and wake up. Telstra is in the poo right now because its past actions have rendered it morally bankrupt.
    If Telstra was actually any good then it wouldn't matter what the govt said, the share price would be astronomic. But it isn't. Its lower than low because everyone now knows what sort of a monster telstra is, and how badly it needs its wings clipped and its jaws wired together.

    Telstra had its chance, but instead of being a responsible corporate citizen, it raped its customers, stifled innovation, eliminated its customer service department and moved what was left to india etc etc.
    They have reaped exactly what they had sown, and you should be ashamed to support them as much as you do.
  • @where to from here

    Dear Anonymous flamer.

    The difference is that we live in reality and the vast majority of average people invest their hard earned $, because we all need money to survive. That's a basic fact of life.

    It's how we present ourselves, our honesty , ethics, etc which set us apart...

    Most who invest are realists, who take the good with the bad and will take full blame for their own actions.

    This is the group I belong to and 99% of TLS shareholders also belong to.

    Then there's your group!

    The 1% who invested in Telstra "because Telstra have a monopoly" (on the last mile) believeing they just couldn't lose, but have lost.

    But instead of being men and copping it on the chin, saying well I'm the one who invested, they come here (as you do "anonymous") to talk complete nonsense in a desperate attempt to breath life into their punctured portfolios.

    People like you are too small to admit you erred and continue to blame "everyone (and I mean everyone) else", who you refer to as Telstra bashers, lol... for "your bad investment".

    Telstra bashers include, Rudd/Howard governments, ACCC, the Courts, all media outlets, in fact everyone (including other TLS shareholders) who do not come to shower sugary bullsh!t upon Telstra and swear that the sun emanates from the Telstra bum.

    Those who come to blogs to "blatantly" lie about everything to help those TLS shares, are greedy and despicable (think Sydney)!

    This is why YOU are a greedy shareholder too and I am not, got it now?
  • re dee

    the telstra way, off to court, to inevitably lose.
  • garrett

    ROFL.. i think thats all that need be said
  • re describe steven conroy

  • Sol Trujillo. Very bad strategy = $13mn

    I can't believe that an Australian 'icon' is moronic enough to bring in American executives on massive salaries that believe blackmailing and bullying the Australian Federal is a good strategy.

    Telstra and its board have 100% brought this on themselves. It's time for payback. For us non-shareholders this is most amusing.