Turnbull 'misguided' on telco reform: Conroy

Turnbull 'misguided' on telco reform: Conroy

Summary: Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is "misguided" if he thinks the telecommunications industry reform legislation is putting a gun to Telstra's head, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has said today.


Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is "misguided" if he thinks the telecommunications industry reform legislation is putting a gun to Telstra's head, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has said today.

When the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2010 was reintroduced into parliament last week, it contained a number of amendments to the Bill that was put forward prior to the election. These amendments take into account the $11 billion Heads of Agreement deal reached between Telstra and the National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co), which will see the telco structurally separate of its own accord.

In response to the Bill, Turnbull yesterday announced a number of his own amendments that the Opposition would seek to add, including provisions around proper scrutiny of the Telstra-NBN Co deal by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission as well as the removal of sections of the previous Bill allowing government to bar Telstra from the right to bid for future wireless spectrum if it did not agree to structurally separate.

Conroy said that if Turnbull had read the new Bill, he would see that the amendments were redundant.

"The Bill no longer includes an automatic prohibition on the acquisition of spectrum if Telstra does not structurally separate and divest its interests in its HFC (hybrid fibre coaxial) network and Foxtel," Conroy said in a statement.

"Malcolm Turnbull has been briefed by my department on the Bill so he knows his amendments are unnecessary. The Opposition are only interested in delaying and obstructing the Bill."

Conroy said the competitive impacts of the Heads of Agreement deal would be scrutinised under provisions included in the Bill.

"The Bill authorises entering into the agreement and associated conduct for the purposes of trade practices law only if the ACCC accepts the undertaking. This removes any need for multiple authorisation inquiries, while still ensuring appropriate scrutiny of the arrangements."

Telstra, which was previously opposed to the Bill, welcomed the reintroduction of the legislation last week, with CEO David Thodey saying that passing the legislation this year would be in the best interest of the telco's shareholders.

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


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • How can we take Mal seriously?
    He was involved in OzEmail, the greatest online tech tragedy this country has ever had to deal with....MT made a lot of dollars from what we would now consider a scam.
    Has everyone forgotten the Godwin Gretch issue? Mal and his supposedly intelligent spouse was "politically flabbergasted" that an email could be tampered with...this displays ignorance beyond any measure worth noting.
    And now, he and his party claim that he is an expert in matters of computing, networking and what we need as a country. Unfortunately, Mal has become the NBN losers (ie: Suppliers that didn't have the tech to participate in the NBN) "be-atch"...
  • And how can we take Conroy seriously?

    A person that justified a magic dishwasher requiring 100mbit internet when it only needs speeds comparable to dialup?

    A person that tried to implement a mandatory filter that was both infective and blocked content which wasn't even supposed to be in its scope

    A man that has had no experience, whatsoever, in the telecommunications industry prior to his portfolio (he was a union powerbroker/bureaucratic)

    A man that has been shown to outright lie or twist facts?

    I mean honestly, seems like you are a being, lets say a bit selective in your criticism, hmmmmm?
  • Ooh and you aren't selective, lol...!
  • I would argue he had/has NO business experience... an electorate office gopher and a superannuation officer for a trade union is hardly being dunked in the deep-end of anything.

    And let's not forget this is his 2nd (or is it 3rd?) go at the NBN... with another iteration if the 'Hayman solution' takes off... what a nice fluid project plan and schedule NBNCo must have... but don't worry, chuck taxpayers' money at it, she'll be right.
  • Don't worry, the NBN was written on a golden envelope as it was handed onto Rudd on one of his missions across the planet

    All is good....
  • My friend [sic] you bag the NBN with little to no basis and carry on like a spoilt child.

    Yet when you are asked a simple question - "why do you incessantly bag the NBN, which will benefit you, me and our (future) kids and grand kids" - you have no answer?

    Also when you were accused of spreading FUD, you were magically able to find umpteen URL's with some pedantic BS to desperately claim you were not spreading FUD...LOL!

    If only you were able to conjure the same amount of anti-NBN info as you did FUD, your FUD could be taken as less FUD rather than the complete FUD it actually is...

    And seriously, after that last comment which is complete FUD, as it has been proven FUD and yet you still pass it off as fact...you prove once and for all that you aren't interested at all in fair, balanced debate and are indeed the king of FUD...

    It appears your political allegiances to the coalition and your stake in PIPE, will never let you comment impartially...!
  • IT people with integrity will look past the politics and judge the big ticket issues and its players, on merit.

    Such as the 'announcement that they would oppose net filtering - fantastic and something all open-minded people would laud, regardless of political persuasion, imo! And even their calls to regulate the banks, considering the obscene profits… a plus surely for all battling Aussies? So I say good on the Coalition!

    Then we have the NBN! Like it or not, it is a vision and considering the state of copper something needs to be done!

    Then we have Telstra... I bet not so long ago those here bagging Conroy now, were bagging Telstra's monopoly and wanting the Howard government to step in and improve comms...? But now that their party didn't, they don't like it that the "others" did...!

    Yes Conroy has said some things that seriously make one wonder (shakes head). But recently, so has Mal...and let's face it, with Mal's history we all expected him to eat Conroy and for Labor to quickly usher Conroy to Minister for anything but comms and rush Kate Lundy into the Ministerial role to thwart the vastly superior Turnbull..

    But Turnbull hasn't eaten Conroy, far from it! In fact at times one wonders if Mal really had any knowledge pertaining to comms or whether, as a shrewd businessman, he was simply in the right place at the right time to make his fortune?

    For all his downfalls, again Conroy has tamed the 800lb gorilla, which no previous Minister could do. So much so Telstra now laud his plan and ask shareholders to rubber stamp it "even though it includes their separation" (once considered a fight to the death to thwart, by Telstra)!

    Plus again regardless of the political argy bargy on costs, the NBN is a once in a lifetime vision, for Australia… me and you!

    Argue all you want, but those without political and/or financial agendas, like two or three of my combatants here clearly have, can see the big picture…!
  • The NBN is an infrastructure which Australians desperately need right now. I can hear a few selfish individuals saying what they have now is enough. Sure, it may be enough for you, but it wont be enough for someone else. What about all those people who can't connect to the internet and has to resort to the expensive wireless, without a choice. Some chose to connect to the internet via wireless because they detest paying Telstra $30 for a dial tone, and that's before making any calls. Once the NBN is in place, all your comms will be via one cable through many providers. You want a CBA, i'll give you a CBA. The benefits of the NBN wont be realise until it is built. I am waiting for it to finish so i can launch my "Teleporting" application via the NBN. I can't use it now cuz the current ADSL speed is too slow, i can't transport all those atoms fast enough. Once it is up and running, i'll teleport to your place and slap you silly.

    Seriously, many yonks ago, you are same the people who says that you don't need electricity cuz oil lamps is enough and your horse and carts would last you a life time, humans never will make any progress. Well, la dee da, look, we have microwaves, TVs, computers (which nobody needs more than 640KB of memories), web conference, VoIP, Instant news, catch up TV, Internet radios, streaming live feeds...man i can go on....

    As for health, the Gov is pouring billions into health every year. The NBN is only $26B over eight years, that's $3.25B a year. Compare that to the amount the Gov spent on wealthfare annually. *shakes head* short sighted, selfish people. What about all those photographers who needs to send large pictures to clients who resides overseas, the current ADSL is not good enough.
    Salami Chujillo
  • When it comes to talking about the benefits of building an NBN, you are right, there will be benefits that aren't realized until it's built, this is true of any technology. Where you are wrong is the cost. It's only going to cost $26B "if" private industry jump on board. No one has yet and until they do, the cost in my eyes is over $40B.

    Add to this, the fact that this government can't keep project costs under budget. Even the school halls program blew out by $6B.

    Based on their track record of this government, I can't understand the blind optimism of posters on this site. Yes the NBN will deliver benefits to the people, but we need to be vigilant. It is always riskier to invest than not (like the previous Liberal govt did) but this government should not get a free pass since they've shown themselves to be too loose with cash already.