Things are not going smoothly for Senator Conroy. He had hoped for a smooth passage of his telecommunications reform Bill that would see Telstra’s power divided and the creation of a wholesale only network that could be vended in to the new National Broadband Network (NBN).
The Bill has been delayed and delayed and, it seems, the longer time passes the more doubts some politicians have as to whether it’s the best approach. Queensland senator Ian Macdonald has called it “one of the most draconian and unAustralian pieces of legislation that this Parliament has ever seen”.
It’s no surprise that a Liberal Senator would not support the Bill, but, as you’ll hear in today’s Twisted Wire, the Nationals are less likely to follow and Family First’s Steve Fielding has also expressed his opposition.
So will the Bill ever be heard? It’s in the Opposition’s interest to delay as much as they can. We know their plan is to disband the whole process and have NBN boss Mike Quigley out looking for a new job. They’ll be hoping they can win the next election and pull it all apart.
As you’ll hear, Telstra also has a self-interest in playing a waiting game. The only people in a hurry on this are the government and it sounds like they’ve got a lot of work to do when it comes to convincing people to see things their way.
So is the NBN a sure thing? Well, it’s looking less and less certain.