Opposition will vote against Telstra Bill

Opposition will vote against Telstra Bill

Summary: The Federal Opposition has confirmed it will vote against wide-ranging legislation being introduced by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to reform the telecommunications sector, including the break-up of Telstra's wholesale and retail divisions.


The Federal Opposition has confirmed it will vote against wide-ranging legislation being introduced by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to reform the telecommunications sector, including the separation of Telstra.

Tony Smith, shadow communications minister

New shadow Communications Minister Tony Smith: Rudd is like a "crazy architect"
(Credit: Office of Tony Smith)

Conroy's last attempt to introduce the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill into the Senate was shot down in flames two weeks ago, but at the time the Greens — who the government will now need to get the Bill across the line — had signalled their readiness to debate it.

The legislation is listed on the Senate run-sheet for today. In a statement yesterday, shadow Communications Minister Tony Smith described the legislation as a "deliberate assault" on Telstra, its 1.4 million shareholders and 30,000 employees.

"As we've said from day one, Telstra shareholders have every reason to be outraged by Labor's plans to force the break-up of the company," said Smith. "The Coalition has never advocated the forced break up of Telstra and this was never part of Labor's plan before the last election."

The politician said the Telstra break-up attempt was "all about trying to prop up" the government's "reckless" $43 billion National Broadband Network plan — which he said the government had embarked upon without a cost-benefit analysis or a business plan.

"This bully boy legislative attack on Telstra and its shareholders is an admission that their NBN isn't commercially viable."

Smith called for Conroy to release both the NBN implementation study as well as the final legislation relating to the NBN Company, which has so far only been released in draft form.

At the beginning of this month, Conroy said that he had not yet received the implementation study, which was being put together by consulting firms McKinsey and KPMG, although it was supposed to be completed by the end of February.

The implementation study was originally slated to determine the operating arrangements for the NBN Company, as well as detailing network design and financial details — for example, attracting private sector investment.

Topics: Telcos, Government AU, Telstra

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  • Bring on the election

    All telstra shareholders should vote against this governemnt in the up coming election. It is not a liberal vs labour thing at all.
    It is simple how dare politicans sell something at a huge premium one year and the try to take it back by force the next.
    It is time for telstra shareholders to stand up to the government. VOTE THEM OUT AT THE NEXT ELECTION.
  • NBN nightmare

    With Telstra appearing to be on the receiving end of a hostile government. Does Telstra management intend to now take a harder line with the government over negotiations for what are prime assets. The government is soon to be facing an election and considering their recent performance with the solar and roof insulation roll out I am wondering if they can roll out a NBN with out access to Telstra's main asset the government wants. That is access to those miles and miles of under ground ducts that would take decades to replicate. I would think the government would be held up for years just getting council permission just to dig up the sidewalk let alone the cost to do so. I would also expect that the community would also not be amused if they tried to hang cable from lamp posts like what happened in the last century. As a Telstra shareholder I would prefer at this stage to take a Sol like approach to the government as it appears to be giving Sol like treatment to Telstra shareholders. There is around 330,000 kms of sealed roads in Australia. If it cost around $25,000 per km to dig and lay cable then the cost would be around $8.25 billion plus the time to do it. By the time the cable was down the NBN would be obsolete. The government has awarded a Leighton consortium the contract to roll out 6,000 kms of NBN. Cost $250 million, that's around $42,000 per km. mmm, where is the feasibility to justify this roll out? This issue is more than if you are a Telstra shareholder. This issue has wider implications and should the government be successful with its break up of a successful Australian company you should be asking what next? Banks, Wesfarmers, Woolworths or BHP? People have choices about what tele-communications companies they want to deal with. I am concerned that like the story by Hans Christian Andersen emperor's new clothes, we will realise once this NBN is built that we will have a $43 billion white elephant. Look around you, look at the 20 year old kids today, they want wireless and don't want to be tied to a phone cord. If only the government would release it's costings on the NBN so we could see how this system was going to be paid for. If the government thinks that people will line up to invest in the NBN they surely must think that investors will have forgotten how Telstra was turned into a political play think for the communications minister.

    Dear Mr Rudd
    better to sack conroy now than face defeat in the next election.

    Dear laour MP's
    remember what the opposition was like. get ready it's about to happen again

    Oh if you think a half baked ( or should that be 60% baked) health policy is going to help you. The public realize that this announcement is full of SH*T. Why didn't you just take over the whole of the health system if you know how to do it right. The public knows in 2 years we will be putting up with the same health issues!
  • An apology is needed

    This government was happy to apologies to the so-called 'stolen' generation. It should apologise to Telstra shareholders for selling them a company, then destroying shareholder value through their policies (forced seperation, divesting their Foxtel business, exclusion from spectrum auction for 4G etc.), which are more suited to communist Russia than to Australia.

    Yet, the Future Fund was aware of the government plans when it dumped billions of dollars of Telstra shares just before the government made public their plans to destroy Telstra.

    Telstra shareholders should hold this corrupt government to account and vote them out at the next election.
  • Appropriation without compensation is so like Mugabe

    I note Telstra shares are up 2% at midday.
  • telstra nbn

    It is the perfect oppurtunity for telstra management to act.
    The telstra bill now faces defeat, telstra should announce it is building its own fibre to compete against the nbn. It would be run out quicker and cheaper. also as it is a private network it only has to set up in the major cities (ie cherrypick like optus and the likes). Let the nbn supply non profitable rural areas.
    All arguements regarding competition will be turned 180 degrees. Mr Conroy and his nbn will be the ones wanting a monopoly without any competition
    It's time for the telstra board to act NOW !
  • great idea

    What an excellent idea. If telstra does build a nbn in viable areas, the governemnt nbn will never get off the ground.
    Then Mr Conroy would have to ask telstra very very nicely to provide services to rural australia. Of course at a viable price. No more USO this time!
  • More crying from the selfish Telstra Shareholders

    Stop thinking of yourselves you selfish lot and allow the competition to improve the services provided to the rest of Oz.

    We have been shafted by Telstra for far to long!!!
  • Selfish ?

    I am a tax payer and a shareholder and this NBN does not make sense? Spend $43 billion on a wireless network, be forward thinking. The NBN is like installing gas street lights.
  • Correct me if I am wrong

    Wasn't it the Libs who sold off Telstra to create the mess we have today in the privatised Telstra Monopoly.

    So when a new Government steps in to propose changes to correct the mistakes from the previous Government, the Libs are the first one to go against it.

    Libs wake up, you stuffed up, let your mistakes be fixed. Bring on innovation and competition to the Australian market moving towards quality services provided to all Australians, not just the select few!
  • Then change your phone company

    To all those people out there claiming that telstra is not providing a good product or service. My advice change phone companies and be quite. If you are that silly you don't know who to go with try
    Just do be quite about being shafted it's getting boring. Change providers or just be quite!

    Didn't i say in my article telstra should compete against the nbn.
  • FFS


    Just the other day, I tested Telstra's Next G network, and despite getting more than 2Mbps on it, I also received a 170ms latency. Then I tested my ADSL connection, resulting in a 1.37Mbps speed, but my ADSL connection had a 49ms latency.


    There! I feel better now.
  • Telstra Shareholders=Voters!

    Finally some commonsense! Lets all vote Conroy for what he has done to Telstra & Net Filter!
  • Yeah right!

    A Telstra FTTN with shared connection, providing speeds of "up to" 100Mbps. Not Open Access. Telstra charging an arm and a leg.
    A Wholesale-only (hopefully) FTTP, providing speeds of approximately 100Mbps. Open Access. Prices reasonable.

    I think I know who I would pick!
  • Yes your right

    Yes the lib GOVERNMENT sold telstra in it's present form. The problem is the lab GOVERNMENT is trying to steal it back!
    It's like if a labour government gave mining leases to BHP which turned out to be profitable and a liberal government wanted to take them away THAT'S OK IS IT ?
    Regarding competition whats your problem want a mobile phone plenty of providers !
    want internet once again plenty of providers
    want foxtel SH*T you don't even have to go through telstra.
    Not sure what these competition idiots are on about. they seem to think they can't wipe their bottoms without telstra.

    then lets have both ie competition. What is so difficult to understand !
  • No your wrong

    If you have an internet connection through Internode, iiNet, AAPT, etc. and your connection somehow goes awry, you contact your ISP to try and fix it, but the problem is Telstra owns the copper connection that is running through your household. Therefore Telstra is responsible and the ISP that you are connected to is powerless to fix the problem.

    If Telstra was separated, it would have no choice but to allow the ISP to access the copper and ducts, therefore they would be able to fix the problem without having to go through Telstra. Telstra would still own the network, but only at wholesale.

    "want internet once again plenty of providers"

    Yeah right! I WANT ADSL2+! BUT TELSTRA IS THE ONLY PROVIDER IN MY AREA! Plenty of providers, my ass!

    did you notice the latency in my reply.
    No one is saying a fibre network is not needed.
    The main issue is how the government is stuffing up the process.
    Lets make it open, accountable and if telstra needs compensation fair.
    Pleas don't write back saying I'm a greedy telstra shareholder.
    I don't know what would be fair compensation. But I know the governments BULLY BOY tactics are wrong

    Telstra has all the customers, the NBN doesn't. And it would cost a f*^*&in fortune to switch over from Telstra to the NBN. Therefore Telstra has the unfair advantage. And if they're allowed to build their own fibre network, they would regain their monopoly!
  • non-Telstra Shareholders=Voters!

    See what I did there!

    A little not so secret tip between you and me:

    "There more Australian voters who are not Telstra Shareholders!!"

    But I agree that the NetFilter plan needs to be scrapped