Shadow Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has accused the Government of being misleading and inaccurate in its attacks on the Coalition.
On October 28, Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, used a statement to label the Opposition’s amendments of its telco bill as “misguided”.
“Mr Turnbull has repeatedly made the claim that the Agreement between Telstra and NBN CO will not be subject to ACCC scrutiny. This is wrong,” Conroy’s statement said. “The Bill already includes provision in section 577A for the ACCC to scrutinise and approve the competitive impacts of the Agreement between Telstra and NBN Co.”
But Turnbull hit back and claimed the proposed Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Act 2010 aimed to “utterly subvert” the Competition and Consumer Act.
“Section 577BA of the bill explicitly exempts the proposed $11 billion deal between the Government, NBN Co and Telstra from the normal operation of the competition laws and normal scrutiny of the ACCC,” Turnbull said in a statement.
He also said while the Government’s threat to restrict Telstra’s access to wireless spectrum wasn’t as blatant in the latest bill, there was still a potential ‘gun to the head’.
“The bill provides Senator Conroy with discretion to impose such a prohibition via a disallowable instrument,” Turnbull said. “Senator Conroy should explain to Australian consumers and taxpayers why the NBN Co/Telstra deal needs to be exempted from the normal operation of the competition laws.”