Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, has narrowly avoided being gagged by the Australian Senate for refusing to provide NBN Co’s business case before the end of Parliament for 2010.
The motion to gag the Minister was moved by Coalition Senator, Eric Abetz, earlier today. It would have stopped Conroy from delivering ministerial statements on the NBN until after the 400-page business case for NBN Co is publicly released and was negatived 36 to 34.
The motion would also have stopped all NBN Co related legislation from being passed until the business case and the Government’s response to the McKinsey study were presented.
“If this Senate is to uphold that which it has voted on, it has to say to this arrogant minister, to this arrogant government, enough is enough,” he said. “We will not hear further from you until that documentation, which can be so readily made available, is provided to this chamber.”
The Motion to suspend standing orders and allow the move was supported by crossbench Senators, Nick Xenophon and Steve Fielding, and voted against by Labor and the Australian Greens.
But at the final point when the Motion itself was being debated, Senator Xenophon indicated his opposition to actually implementing the gag and voted against it.