Shadow Minister Tony Smith on ISP filtering

Shadow Minister Tony Smith on ISP filtering

The Shadow Communications Minister, Tony Smith, tells us why he won't oppose mandatory ISP filtering outright.

The Coalition is against the outright splitting of Telstra by the Government but the industry is calling out for structural separation. How would you change the market imbalance currently in place?

TS: The structure of Telstra was set back a couple of Governments ago and from our perspective, when we sold Telstra, we did so as a vertically integrated telco. That was the basis on which the shareholders bought it and the decisions taken many, many years ago were that the access regime would be the mechanism to apply.

The shareholders bought their shares in Telstra in good faith. [The Government] didn’t run to the last election saying they wanted to structurally separate Telstra and in fact, even when they announced NBN2, they didn’t in an upfront way announce they wanted to structurally separate Telstra.

We don’t think Telstra should be broken up, we’ve made that clear. The access regime is there to play the role for competition. If you’re saying to me ‘can the access regime be improved’ I’d say that we are always open to regulatory renovation and that it is something I’m very focused on. We’re not saying everything is perfect. I’m very open to changes with the access regime and that’s certainly got my attention.

But wouldn’t any shift in the market negatively impact on mum and dad investors one way or another?

TS: The access regime is there and operates to promote competition. If there are deficiencies found in it, and if there are improvements that need to be made, then they should be.

What sort of improvements would you suggest?

TS: Well as I said, we’re looking at it very closely at the moment and we will be very specific about where we think improvements can be made in the weeks and months ahead. Probably back here.

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Tags Mandatory ISP filteringSenator Tony Smith

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