Fielding gives Telstra keys to split Bill

Fielding gives Telstra keys to split Bill

Summary: 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.

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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.

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

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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Talkback

16 comments
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  • Letter to Senator Fielding

    Senator Steve Fielding,

    I am writing with concern over the governments plan for Telstra. As both an employee and a shareholder I have grave concerns over both my future employment prospects as well as for the future of the company that I hold shares in.

    With the current threat that is being held over Telstra I have grave concerns for my future employment along with all of my 10’s of thousands of fellow employees and their families. We seem to be the forgotten part of this debate.

    I would appreciate the employees being a greater part of this debate as this legislation affects us and our families more so than shareholders. This is our job out livelyhood, the way we support our families.

    As an employee more than a shareholder I emplore you to not support this legislation as it is an attack on the company that supports me and my family. If I lose my employment because of this legislation I will not be able to afford my childrens education etc as our family is a single income family.

    Yes I do believe that Australia needs better communications but this is not the way to go about it. I also agree that when Telstra was sold off the Government should have retained the network but once again this is not the way to go about it.

    So as you spend time thinking about your support or non support of this legislation, please have at the fore front of your thoughts the thousands of dedicated and hardworking employees and their families and the possibly negative impacts that this may well have on them.

    My employment by Telstra now and in the future is far more important than my shareholding value. As is my ability to support my young family.
    anonymous
  • bloody well said

    Thanks mate, as another employee, I also agree that when people try to take down telstra, they try to take down 30000 employed australians.
    anonymous
  • Using your family's employement is just wrong to dethrone legislation.

    Your employment is upto Telstra's Management, and them alone. In the past, even without Legislation, Telstra has fired many people from their jobs, especially under Sol's Reign.

    My view, would be complaining to your shareholder firms and also your management. What Telstra does or does not do, they are responsible for your employment.
    anonymous
  • 4 Sale - NBN Co ... 2018; ex-gov't utility; any takers??

    First, the (Howard) government says, we should introduce competition & sell Telstra.. it will make Telstra more efficient, reduce costs, solve the middle east problems & make the gov't a truckload of cash... so Aussies bought up....

    ... Then they said, Telstra's too big & strong, so we'll have to handcuff them, to 'level the playing field'... & this will help competition & solve world peace...

    Then the govt's got upset when Telstra became less interested in serving the govt's desires & sensitivities.. & more interested in shareholder value & profit... which I would'a thought was a logical progression (... mayb they didn't read the implementation study either..) ...

    And then, the govt says.. we want your network back, because this competition 'thing' .. didn't really work too well.... but we aren't going to buy it back; .. we're just going 2 threaten you, seperate you, force you to migrate your customers onto our $43 billion turbo-Telecom mk2 network & leverage access to your (private, but heavily regulated) network..

    And the mums & dads watched their shares erode... Woe..

    ... I wonder if this would would be tolerated if imposed on any other company?? Optus?? I wonder if the people who sold off a company that was making a truckload of cash for Australians (b4 selling) & that was designed to serve aussies.. take any responsibility for the shamozzle we are now faced with. I wonder if the advocates-proponents of competition policy & selling the farm up, will accept any responsibility 4 a fatally flawed model.. Shame!! Shame!!

    I hope the good senator is a very smart man, to sort this mess out.. mayb once the share price is driven down low enuf, Telstra (mk1) will look preddy attractive to a $43 bill NBN builder .. ;-)

    p.s. 4 Sale - NBN Co ... 2018; ex-gov't utility; any takers??
    anonymous
  • Blackmail in Australia?

    How could any Australian in all conscience vote for a plan that by blackmail and threat will destroy an Australian company?

    Where are the Unions to protect the jobs of Telstra employees. This NBN fiasco will be revealed and when it is, look out Mr Rudd.
    anonymous
  • Using your family's employement is just wrong to dethrone legislation.

    What an insulting load of nonsense that was. I'm with you Steve and Paul, and firmly believe that most Australians are of the same opinion. So keep your chin up, and let us hope that Senator Fielding is a lot smarter, than this bloke who just commented on your letter to the Senator.
    anonymous
  • It's not always about you

    I am sympathetic to the fear of the Telstra employee but not so much for the Telstra shareholder - welcome to the sharemarket, things happen everyday and that is the known risk when investing in the sharemarket - no one guarantees a positive return which can always be affected by competitors, technology, governments, global uncertainty etc
    Personally I believe Telstra will bounce out of this stronger than ever, albeit much more focused as a user and content /services provider than a network builder and will probably be relieved that they don't have the liability of the aging legacy copper network around their necks (thats why I'm keeping my shares!)
    The argument needs to stay focused on the good of the 20 million people who will benefit by the change to fibre rather than some of the 1.4m shareholders who feel they were guaranteed a positive return for ever on their Telstra shares
    anonymous
  • re blackmail

    the unions are there to help the telstra employees, who are union members, if they need help. the unions, although they won't, should just let the rest suffer, if there is suffering to be had. as the rest said they wanted nothing to do with the union thugs and could get better results themselves.
    anonymous
  • steve and paul

    wonder if this is the same steve and paul from telstra, who like to post here regulary. the blokes who helped divide telstra, when the indutrial campaigns were at loggerheads. who said since they left the thug union, that they were 2 times better off under telstras slas than those bludging union employees alongside them. who back then laughed at and ridiculed their fellow employees, not had grave concerns for them. who stymied, when the unions were trying to achieve better pay and security of employment, because they were doing fine and getting paid more. who suggested that they were almost irreplaceable, superior and much more employable than these other lazy bast^%$#. the same steve and paul who said, because of all of this, they deserve what ever they get. if its not the same steve and paul, I feel for you. If it is, not so superior now huh and you said it, what ever you get you deserve.
    anonymous
  • Destroy Telstra, usurp assets for NBN

    All the work of that thug , Conroy. Express your appreciation at the ballot box in September.
    anonymous
  • re destroy

    we will. we will vote for him, cause its about time the out of control, 800lb gorilla was caged, well done conroy.
    anonymous
  • Would you be happy

    Anonymous,

    So you would welcome this sort of attack on the company you work for without expressing your point of view?
    anonymous
  • We all need Telstra

    Privatization of Telstra has (now it is a public company) only now started to have any positive effect. Moving from a public service mentality to a corporate mentality has taken a lot of effort, time and shareholder sacrifice. Having employees who are focused on delivering service rather than seeking a 'safe, steady job for life' takes time. The transformation started 5 years ago is only now starting to show benefit. Just when the company is starting to get its act together, the Feds come a long and attempt to do what the ALP are best at...bullying, boffer booting, and generally stuffing everything up. Like or Hate Telstra, we need only one world class network. Telstra has the desire and capability to create it, as it has already done with the Next G network. Maybe the other network providers should dig deep in to there pockets and fund infrustructure to support Australia rather than seek handouts from the Govt' and/or NBN.
    anonymous
  • something to think about...

    Senator Steve Fielding,

    Please do not listen to these selfish few TLS shareholders. They invest in shares, that's like gambling, and they expect to win all the time. They obviously didn't read the prospectus. Investing in shares, you win some, you loose some.

    Please think about the benifits of 20 million plus consumers will have once Telstra is seperated, we won't be ripped off by the big T anymore. Think about it 20 mil plus consumers benifit and 1.4 million TLS sharholders benifit, which way Senator? I have no doubt you are a smart man and do it for the best interest of all Australians, not just the 1.4 mill shareholders.
    anonymous
  • Mums & Dads Vote too!

    The Government cannot simply decimate Telstra & expect tem to hand over all assets at a "fire" sale that were sold to the shareholders in "good" faith!

    Good on Sen Fielding for sticking up for all the "Mums & Dads" who were conned by the previous Government and now stand to be blackmailed by Labor!
    anonymous
  • re we all need

    haha, that was very funny, taking the **ss like that.

    cause no one could be dumb enough to really believe it.
    anonymous