The Coalition has issued its reproach for the forced separation of Telstra and remains “fundamentally opposed” to the Federal Government’s proposed telecommunications reform.
The Bill was announced last month and serves up radical reforms in the telco sector including the possible structural or functional separation of Telstra. The industry giant has since vehemently rejected the plan.
Following a joint party meeting, Shadow Minister for Broadband, Senator Nick Minchin, issued a statement criticising the Government’s ruthless approach to Telstra and labelling its actions ‘an abuse of power’.
Earlier this month, Minchin told ARN the telco’s separation was an “outrageous thing to be doing to shareholders”.
“Starving Telstra of mobile broadband spectrum amounts to an abuse of Government power against a company operating a mobile network which provides the broadest level of geographic coverage, in a highly competitive market in which its competitors have the major share,” he said in a statement.
Minchin also accused the Government of destroying Telstra to benefit the $43 billion National Broadband Network (NBN), forcing the telco’s 1.4 million shareholders to “prop up” the project.
“[Minister for Broadband] Senator Conroy’s key objective is to force Telstra to migrate all its fixed line customers onto the NBN and remove competition against a new Government-owned monopoly,” he stated.
The Coalition will seek to defer consideration of the Bill until the NBN implementation study – set to be completed in February – is finalised. The Opposition didn’t consider the legislation urgent enough to discuss in Parliament within the year and recommended Government spend the next few months weighing up the legislation’s ramifications.
“If debates proceeds, the Coalition will propose detailed amendments to address the areas of concern after detailed consideration of the findings of the Senate inquiry into this Bill, but we remain fundamentally oppose to what amounts to a blatant attack on the shareholders of a publicly listed Australian company,” Minchin said in the statement.
For more about Senator Minchin’s views on broadband, the NBN and the proposed telecommunications reform, click here for ARN’s one-on-one interview with the Shadow Minister for Broadband.