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Thursday, 24 March 2011
Page: 1828

Senator BIRMINGHAM (8:14 PM) —In the light of the passage of government amendments (2) to (16) from sheet BR280, the opposition withdraws amendments (6A), (6C), (6E), (6G), (6I), (6K), (6M), (6O) and (6Q) listed on the running sheet.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Boyce)—So that is all the amendments (6A) to (6Q) on sheet 7049, revised. Is that correct?

Senator BIRMINGHAM —That is correct.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —What about the other amendments: (6B), (6D), (6F), (6H) et cetera through to (6R)?

Senator BIRMINGHAM —I only wish we were teaching the alphabet here. We also withdraw amendments (6B), (6D), (6F), (6H), (6J), (6L), (6N), (6P) and (6R) on sheet 7049, revised.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —We now move to clause 18.

Senator BIRMINGHAM —I move opposition amendment (6S) on sheet 7049, revised, standing in my name:

(6S)  Clause 18, page 18 (line 7), omit the clause, substitute:

18  Services not to be supplied

                  An NBN corporation must not supply a service to another person unless that service is an eligible service.

I move this amendment in an attempt to once again try to ensure that the words and claims of the government in regard to the NBN Co. are actually honoured and ensure that when they claim it will be limited in its activities to a certain sphere of operation that that indeed is the case.

In this regard it is a relatively simple tightening of the wording used. Currently clause 18 in subdivision B under the heading of ‘Non-communications services not to be supplied’ reads very simply:

An NBN corporation must not supply a non-communications service to another person.

The opposition is proposing an amendment to clause 18 such that it would read under a revised heading of ‘Services not to be supplied’:

An NBN corporation must not supply a service to another person unless that service is an eligible service.

An eligible service, as the minister would know, is a service as defined and approved by the ACCC for provision by NBN Co. to retail service providers. This is an attempt by the opposition to ensure that we do not have NBN Co. supplying non-eligible services, non-approved services, to other persons or other bodies in this case. Minister, I hope that you and the crossbenches see that this is a sensible, rational amendment and one that should not cause particular duress if the NBN Co. is to operate in the manner in which you proclaim that it will. I hope that you will support this amendment.