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Thursday, 24 March 2011
Page: 1946

Senator IAN MACDONALD (3:22 PM) —I apologise to Senator Fisher. I did not think she was going to get an answer, anyhow, from the minister. Minister, you have said that you are moving the amendment in relation to uniform national pricing, which is amendment (5), as I understand it. I will read the amendment:

… uniform national pricing of an eligible service supplied, or offered to be supplied, by an NBN corporation to service providers and utilities is achieved, if, and only if, the price-related terms and conditions on which the NBN corporation supplies, or offers to supply, the eligible service … are the same throughout Australia.

You told me before that amendment (5) is one of the amendments we are dealing with, and I thought some of the questions I asked previously related to that. But, just for a start, Minister, can you explain to me those words ‘uniform national pricing’? I hope you can hear me. I can hardly hear myself, because I can see the Manager of Government Business in the Senate down there trying to berate Senator Xenophon over something. Do I feel a guillotine coming along here? No? Okay. I just wondered why you were being such good friends there!

Senator Conroy —Or possibly he’s chatting with Scott!

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Kroger)—Senators, if you could direct your remarks through the chair, please.

Senator IAN MACDONALD —It is just that, when Senator Ludwig as Manager of Government Business starts sitting very close to Independents, I feel the old union bullyboy tactics are coming on!

Senator Xenophon —Senator Macdonald suggested I was a good friend of Senator Ludwig. He may resent that! I can assure you that we were not in fact—

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —Is this a point of order, Senator Xenophon?

Senator Xenophon —I just want to correct the record. It is a point of relevance. We were not in fact discussing the NBN.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —That is not a point of order. Senator Macdonald has the call.

Senator IAN MACDONALD —I was not suggesting that you were talking about the NBN. I thought you might have been talking about things like guillotines, but you assure me that is not the case. No doubt that funny football you play in South Australia—

Senator Xenophon —It is the only form of football!

Senator IAN MACDONALD —Rugby league is the only football, but we are not debating that. Minister, in amendment (5) you talk about services being offered by ‘an NBN corporation’. I know there is NBN Co. Ltd and I know there is NBN Co. Tasmania Limited—or something. But is there more than one NBN Co., when it says ‘an NBN corporation’?