Do we need the legislative blackmail?

Do we need the legislative blackmail?

Summary: Virtually everyone in the telecommunications industry has their say in the Senate Standing Committee's public hearing into the pending legislation to split up Telstra, in this week's Twisted Wire podcast.


The Senate Standing Committee Inquiry into the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment has already come out and said that it thinks the proposed changes to the structure of the industry are a good thing.

Despite Senator Nick Minchin's claim that it's all legislative blackmail, the report concluded that "while further examination of issues raised above is warranted, the committee believes that the passage of the Bill should not be delayed".

So hang on, why the rush? As you'll hear in today's Twisted Wire, which eavesdrops on the committee's public hearing in Melbourne last month, Telstra says it is close to having an IT system capable of providing an equivalent service to its wholesale customers as it does to its own retail division.

There's also the question as to why, if we separate Telstra, do we need public investment into the NBN? Wouldn't a structurally (or functionally) separated Telstra invest more in infrastructure and manage the build themselves? I ask if it isn't all a bit "arse about"?

You'll hear from the witnesses at the public inquiry held in Melbourne on 13 October:

  • Geoff Booth, group managing director, NBN Engagement, Telstra
  • Tony Warren, executive director, Regulatory Affairs, Telstra
  • Andrew Sheridan, general manager, Interconnect and Economic Regulation, Optus
  • David Havyatt, manager, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Unwired
  • Matt Healy, national executive, Regulatory & Government, Macquarie Telecom
  • John Horan, general manager, Legal and Regulatory, Primus Telecom
  • Dale Clapperton, legal counsel, Pipe Networks

Be sure to let us have your thoughts too, in the Talkback section at the end of this post.

You can also read the transcript of the full day's hearing (PDF) or read the Senate inquiry report on the Bill.

See transcript here.

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


Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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  • Today Blackmail Tomorrow Coup d'etat

    No we do not .

    We have spies the SAS and trained assasins.

    Actually come to think of it Thodey could remind Rudd/Conroy that Harold Holt's has never been found !

    Surely Telstra's money could buy a couple of good assasins or agent's provocateur either home grown or foreign !

    Someone needs to remind Rudd/Conroy that sometimes third world country's become that way when corrupt govt methods permeate through society and eventually it suffers its own methods.

    And to think our govt thinks it has the right to call for justice in fiji.
    What's that about Glass House's !

    Very sad. . . and frightening

    When all that is necessary and fair is to buy Telstra back.
    And then embark on a stupendously expensive project without a cost benefit analysis.
  • cheap alternative

    it would be cheaper to put a bullet in you. i've never read so much crap in my life.
  • Is that you Paul O'Sullivan or just one of your Stooges

    Voila, see what I mean, already f***wits coming out of the woodwork advocating exterminating political dissent.
  • "Killer App" or Death by bandwidth !

    Wo boy, settle Cletus, dont worry you dont have to wait for the NBN to get your 100 mb/s.

    Its available today, but you will have to wait for the availabilty of porn through a hologram.

    Then you can make history and be the 1st to pull himself to death !

    I just realised why Conroy does'nt need a cost benefit analysis for the NBN.

    He's got a "killer app" up his sleeve . . . or in his palm as the case may be !

    P.S. Your gun is where you left it last, in the bath tub, just look under the transmission from the ute you where working on. You Feral.
  • Telstra's mythical costs

    So why does Telstra think it will cost $1b to do their separation in Australia (population 20 million), when BT could do it for $300 million in the UK (population 60 million)?
  • That's Telstra pricing

    Not for the first time, it seems that Telstra cost estimates are based on the MD personally doing all the work involved. That may be how you get to quote $1,400,000,000 for something that should cost a fraction of that.

    Sill, we could look on the bright side. Sol's not there any more.
  • Wake up to dictators Australia.

    Forget the threat and blackmail Mr Rudd be a dinkum Aussie , let competition exist and see how your socialist NBN goes against a great Aussie company.
  • Wake up to sydlala, etc

    The present government is not perfect (yes, I found that out after I voted for them. . .), but they have said they will do much more than previous govts to introduce real competition into the comms market.

    If they are able and willing to carry out this commitment, including the full NBN, they will deserve the support of all of us. A sad succession of previous poor decisions on comms policy has left us with the mess we have at present.