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senate vote 2010-11-25#15

Edited by system

on 2014-10-07 16:20:22

Title

Description

  • The majority voted against [http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?gid=2010-11-25.209.1 amendments] introduced by Senator [http://publicwhip-rails.openaustraliafoundation.org.au/mp.php?mpn=Simon_Birmingham&mpc=Senate&house=senate Simon Birmingham], which means that they were rejected.
  • Senator Birmingham explained that the amendments would reinstate the normal operative provisions of the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_and_Consumer_Act_2010 Competition and Consumer Act] (formerly the Trade Practices Act) and the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Competition_and_Consumer_Commission Australian Competition and Consumer Commission] (ACCC) to a deal involving [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telstra Telstra] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBN_Co NBN Co].(Read Senator Birmingham's full explanation of his amendments and the associated debate [http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?id=2010-11-25.118.2 here], after 9:10 pm. )
  • ''Background to the bill''
  • This [http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r4479 bill] was introduced following the lapse of the [http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r4212 Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009] and relates to the regulation of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_protection consumer protection], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_law competition] and licensing in [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications telecommunications] markets. According to the [http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1011a/11bd045 bills digest], significant changes made by this bill include:
  • * improving the conditions for competition in telecommunications markets by requiring [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telstra Telstra] to be structurally or functionally separated
  • * making the telecommunications access regime less susceptible to deliberate delay and obstruction
  • * removing a technical impediment to the operation of the anti-competitive conduct regime applying to telecommunications markets
  • * clarifying the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_service_obligation universal service] obligation (USO) and customer service guarantee (CSG) to make it more enforceable
  • * extending the obligation to provide priority assistance to those with life threatening conditions to service providers other than Telstra, and
  • * enabling breaches of civil penalty provisions - including some concerning the USO and the CSG - to be dealt with by issuing infringement notices.(More information about the bill is available in its [http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1011a/11bd045 bills digest].)
  • With these measures, the bill seeks to address the issues that result from the monopoly caused by Telstra's vertically and horizontally integrated telecommunications network.
  • Although this bill is substantially the same as the earlier bill of the same name, it does have some additional provisions.
  • The majority voted against [amendments](http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?gid=2010-11-25.209.1) introduced by Senator [Simon Birmingham](http://publicwhip-rails.openaustraliafoundation.org.au/mp.php?mpn=Simon_Birmingham&mpc=Senate&house=senate), which means that they were rejected.
  • Senator Birmingham explained that the amendments would reinstate the normal operative provisions of the [Competition and Consumer Act](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_and_Consumer_Act_2010) (formerly the Trade Practices Act) and the [Australian Competition and Consumer Commission](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Competition_and_Consumer_Commission) (ACCC) to a deal involving [Telstra](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telstra) and [NBN Co](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBN_Co).(Read Senator Birmingham's full explanation of his amendments and the associated debate [here](http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?id=2010-11-25.118.2), after 9:10 pm. )
  • _Background to the bill_
  • This [bill](http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r4479) was introduced following the lapse of the [Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009](http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r4212) and relates to the regulation of [consumer protection](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_protection), [competition](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_law) and licensing in [telecommunications](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications) markets. According to the [bills digest](http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1011a/11bd045), significant changes made by this bill include:
  • - improving the conditions for competition in telecommunications markets by requiring [Telstra](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telstra) to be structurally or functionally separated
  • - making the telecommunications access regime less susceptible to deliberate delay and obstruction
  • - removing a technical impediment to the operation of the anti-competitive conduct regime applying to telecommunications markets
  • - clarifying the [universal service](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_service_obligation) obligation (USO) and customer service guarantee (CSG) to make it more enforceable
  • - extending the obligation to provide priority assistance to those with life threatening conditions to service providers other than Telstra, and
  • - enabling breaches of civil penalty provisions - including some concerning the USO and the CSG - to be dealt with by issuing infringement notices.(More information about the bill is available in its [bills digest](http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1011a/11bd045).)
  • With these measures, the bill seeks to address the issues that result from the monopoly caused by Telstra's vertically and horizontally integrated telecommunications network.
  • Although this bill is substantially the same as the earlier bill of the same name, it does have some additional provisions.
senate vote 2010-11-25#15

Edited by system

on 2014-10-07 16:16:40

Title

Description

  • The majority voted against [http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?gid=2010-11-25.209.1 amendments] introduced by Senator [http://publicwhip-rails.openaustraliafoundation.org.au/mp.php?mpn=Simon_Birmingham&mpc=Senate&house=senate Simon Birmingham], which means that they were rejected.
  • Senator Birmingham explained that the amendments would reinstate the normal operative provisions of the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_and_Consumer_Act_2010 Competition and Consumer Act] (formerly the Trade Practices Act) and the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Competition_and_Consumer_Commission Australian Competition and Consumer Commission] (ACCC) to a deal involving [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telstra Telstra] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBN_Co NBN Co].[1]
  • Senator Birmingham explained that the amendments would reinstate the normal operative provisions of the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_and_Consumer_Act_2010 Competition and Consumer Act] (formerly the Trade Practices Act) and the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Competition_and_Consumer_Commission Australian Competition and Consumer Commission] (ACCC) to a deal involving [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telstra Telstra] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBN_Co NBN Co].(Read Senator Birmingham's full explanation of his amendments and the associated debate [http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?id=2010-11-25.118.2 here], after 9:10 pm. )
  • ''Background to the bill''
  • This [http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r4479 bill] was introduced following the lapse of the [http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r4212 Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009] and relates to the regulation of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_protection consumer protection], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_law competition] and licensing in [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications telecommunications] markets. According to the [http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1011a/11bd045 bills digest], significant changes made by this bill include:
  • * improving the conditions for competition in telecommunications markets by requiring [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telstra Telstra] to be structurally or functionally separated
  • * making the telecommunications access regime less susceptible to deliberate delay and obstruction
  • * removing a technical impediment to the operation of the anti-competitive conduct regime applying to telecommunications markets
  • * clarifying the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_service_obligation universal service] obligation (USO) and customer service guarantee (CSG) to make it more enforceable
  • * extending the obligation to provide priority assistance to those with life threatening conditions to service providers other than Telstra, and
  • * enabling breaches of civil penalty provisions - including some concerning the USO and the CSG - to be dealt with by issuing infringement notices.[2]
  • * enabling breaches of civil penalty provisions - including some concerning the USO and the CSG - to be dealt with by issuing infringement notices.(More information about the bill is available in its [http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1011a/11bd045 bills digest].)
  • With these measures, the bill seeks to address the issues that result from the monopoly caused by Telstra's vertically and horizontally integrated telecommunications network.
  • Although this bill is substantially the same as the earlier bill of the same name, it does have some additional provisions.
  • ''References''
  • * [1] Read Senator Birmingham's full explanation of his amendments and the associated debate [http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?id=2010-11-25.118.2 here], after 9:10 pm.
  • * [2] More information about the bill is available in its [http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1011a/11bd045 bills digest].
senate vote 2010-11-25#15

Edited by mackay

on 2014-08-22 10:19:52

Title

  • Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2010 — In Committee
  • Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2010 — In Committee - Competition and Consumer Act and ACCC to apply

Description

  • <p class="speaker">Alan Ferguson</p>
  • <p>I now put the question that sections 577A(22) and (23), 577AA(9) and (10), 577B(8) and (9), 577BB(3) and (4) in item 30, and section 75(6) in item 31, stand as printed.</p>
  • The majority voted against [http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?gid=2010-11-25.209.1 amendments] introduced by Senator [http://publicwhip-rails.openaustraliafoundation.org.au/mp.php?mpn=Simon_Birmingham&mpc=Senate&house=senate Simon Birmingham], which means that they were rejected.
  • Senator Birmingham explained that the amendments would reinstate the normal operative provisions of the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_and_Consumer_Act_2010 Competition and Consumer Act] (formerly the Trade Practices Act) and the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Competition_and_Consumer_Commission Australian Competition and Consumer Commission] (ACCC) to a deal involving [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telstra Telstra] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBN_Co NBN Co].[1]
  • ''Background to the bill''
  • This [http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r4479 bill] was introduced following the lapse of the [http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r4212 Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009] and relates to the regulation of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_protection consumer protection], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_law competition] and licensing in [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications telecommunications] markets. According to the [http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1011a/11bd045 bills digest], significant changes made by this bill include:
  • * improving the conditions for competition in telecommunications markets by requiring [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telstra Telstra] to be structurally or functionally separated
  • * making the telecommunications access regime less susceptible to deliberate delay and obstruction
  • * removing a technical impediment to the operation of the anti-competitive conduct regime applying to telecommunications markets
  • * clarifying the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_service_obligation universal service] obligation (USO) and customer service guarantee (CSG) to make it more enforceable
  • * extending the obligation to provide priority assistance to those with life threatening conditions to service providers other than Telstra, and
  • * enabling breaches of civil penalty provisions - including some concerning the USO and the CSG - to be dealt with by issuing infringement notices.[2]
  • With these measures, the bill seeks to address the issues that result from the monopoly caused by Telstra's vertically and horizontally integrated telecommunications network.
  • Although this bill is substantially the same as the earlier bill of the same name, it does have some additional provisions.
  • ''References''
  • * [1] Read Senator Birmingham's full explanation of his amendments and the associated debate [http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?id=2010-11-25.118.2 here], after 9:10 pm.
  • * [2] More information about the bill is available in its [http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1011a/11bd045 bills digest].
  • <p>Question agreed to.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Scott Ludlam</p>
  • <p>To clean up the running sheet, as Senator Xenophon has done, I would just indicate that the Australian Greens will not be moving amendments (3) and (6) on sheet 7006, which were to be the next items moved on the running sheet. While I have the floor, I will also indicate that we will not be proceeding with amendments (16) and (17) on page 3 of the running sheet, which means the ball is back in the opposition&#8217;s court.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Simon Birmingham</p>
  • <p>by leave&#8212;I move opposition amendments (20), (21) and (23) on sheet 7004 together:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(20)&#160; Schedule 1, item 30, page 13 (lines 17 and 18), omit &#8220;the associated provisions&#8221;, substitute &#8220;subsection 577BC(2)&#8221;.</p>
  • <p class="italic">(21)&#160; Schedule 1, item 30, page 13 (line 24), omit &#8220;the associated provisions&#8221;, substitute &#8220;subsection 577BC(2)&#8221;.</p>
  • <p class="italic">(23)&#160; Schedule 1, item 30, page 14 (lines 3 to 5), omit the definition of <b><i>associated provision</i></b>.</p>
  • <p>We also oppose schedule 1 in the following terms:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(30)&#160; Schedule 1, item 30, page 18 (line 17) to page 25 (line 5), section 577BA <b>TO BE OPPOSED</b>.</p>
  • <p class="italic">(44)&#160; Schedule 1, item 33, page 75 (line 34) to page 76 (line 5), item <b>TO BE OPPOSED</b>.</p>
  • <p>As we see it, this is probably one of the most important parts of the amendments to be proposed to this legislation. I have referred to it already with regard to Senator Xenophon&#8217;s previous amendments. These relate very much to ensuring that we maintain the normal operation of the Competition and Consumer Act and that the ACCC&#8212;the protectors of competition, fair trade and fair practice in this country&#8212;get a decent opportunity to have proper oversight of the deal between NBN Co. and Telstra. We want to make sure that this arrangement does protect the interests of consumers, does promote competition, is a fair and good one, and is one that is in the national interest. As we have flagged before, we are not against structural separation&#8212;we are not against this proceeding&#8212;but we want to make sure that it proceeds in a proper way. We want to make sure that it is a good arrangement for everyone concerned&#8212;consumers and the nation&#8212;and that it is one that will promote proper competition into the future and not at all inhibit proper competition.</p>
  • <p>Unfortunately, the government, through the way they have structured this legislation, seek to have extraordinary powers to dictate the terms on which the ACCC will consider the proposed deal between NBN Co. and Telstra. By dictating it, we will give the government quite unfettered powers. And regrettably, as a result of the division just had in this place, where we saw all of the crossbenchers side with the government, those unfettered powers have all been put in the hands of the minister to make rules that will limit the extent of consideration by the ACCC of the effectiveness and fairness of this deal. We do not think that is the right thing. We do not believe the minister should have those unfettered powers. It is regrettable in the extreme that the crossbenchers, who so often talk about and champion the power of the parliament and talk about the need for government accountability to the parliament, decided on this occasion to not make the government accountable to the parliament.</p>
  • <p>Here they get a second chance in a sense, not through disallowable instruments but through reinstating the normal operative provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act&#8212;the former Trade Practices Act&#8212;and the ACCC. In doing that, we can ensure that consumers are looked after, that the telco industry is looked after and that, most importantly, competition is promoted in a fair and transparent way. There should be nothing for the government to fear from this. There should be nothing for NBN Co. to fear from this. Parties of all persuasions have for many years, since the Trade Practices Act was first passed around the year of my birth&#8212;</p>
  • <p class="speaker">George Brandis</p>
  • <p><i>Senator Brandis interjecting&#8212;</i></p>
  • <p class="speaker">Simon Birmingham</p>
  • <p>In fact, in the year of my birth&#8212;thank you, Senator Brandis. The Trade Practices Act has been supported, enhanced and bettered by people on both sides of politics. Rather regrettably, it has also been renamed by the current government.</p>
  • <p>However, this legislation has grown and has brought about, we believe, the operation of an organisation&#8212;the ACCC&#8212;that has the skills, the capacity and the know-how to make sure that these arrangements and deals are competitive and work for consumers. I would urge the crossbenchers, whom I suspect have already predetermined their position on these amendments, to think again and to realise that they have each played a role in championing the cause of good competition legislation in this country and that they have each played a role in promoting the role of the ACCC and building that role up. I know that Senator Xenophon in particular is a strong advocate for the role of the ACCC and is deeply involved in many ways. He has passed some amendments that help to make a bad policy less bad. We think it would be far preferable to abandon the bad policy of shutting out the ACCC and to actually give them the opportunity to examine this deal just as they would any other deal.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Stephen Conroy</p>
  • <p>We are going to revisit a little bit of what we discussed with Senator Joyce a little earlier and some of Senator Xenophon&#8217;s amendments.</p>
  • <p>Senator Birmingham, your concern is touching, except that you did make an offer that you would pass the bill if we accepted a cost-benefit analysis, and you did not care about any of these things. So, please, do not raise passion on the evening&#8212;it is a long evening as it is. If your passion for this particular principle was so high you should not have offered to pass the bill publicly&#8212;</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Simon Birmingham</p>
  • <p>It wasn&#8217;t quite an offering speech!</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Stephen Conroy</p>
  • <p>It was in the newspapers&#8212;I read it. You were offering publicly to pass the bill unamended if we agreed to a cost-benefit analysis. But I will cease with my across the chamber banter&#8212;I apologise, Mr Temporary Chairman.</p>
  • <p>The bill already includes provision in proposed sections 577A, under which the ACCC will scrutinise the competitive impacts of the agreement between Telstra and the NBN Co. and we have accepted some amendments recently to strengthen that particular area. Specifically, the ACCC will consider the competitive impacts of the Telstra and NBN arrangements as part of its scrutiny of Telstra&#8217;s structural separation undertaking. If the ACCC accepts the undertaking then the bill authorises the entering into of the agreement and associated conduct for the purposes of trade practices law as set out in section 51 of the Trade Practices Act. This is entirely appropriate as it removes any need for a separate authorisation inquiry, whilst still ensuring appropriate scrutiny of the arrangements between Telstra and the NBN Co. by the ACCC.</p>
  • <p>By way of background, section 51 of the Trade Practices Act is a well-established mechanism which has been used extensively by Australian governments. The ACCC website currently lists 80 separate pieces of Commonwealth, state and territory legislation where section 51 authorisations are used.</p>
  • <p>So, unfortunately, we will not be able to support Senator Birmingham&#8217;s heartfelt plea for us to support this amendment.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Alan Ferguson</p>
  • <p>The question is that opposition amendments (20), (21) and (23) on sheet 7004 be agreed to.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Stephen Conroy</p>
  • <p>Question put.</p>