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Monday, 9 December 2002
Page: 7368


Senator HARRIS (1:06 PM) —Obviously, we have an interesting situation where both Labor and the Democrats have decided, to a large degree, who will and who will not have to develop IDPs. It is also interesting that, based on the figures that we have been given, Optus is not one of those mentioned. So there again, we have a situation where the two main players in the industry, Telstra and Optus, are stuck with this burdensome requirement to provide industry development plans. Telstra has indicated that they have no impact on the service it provides and they have no impact on any purchases that they make within Australia. In their letter dated 3 December, Optus have clearly set out exactly the same, and yet there is the situation where Optus and Telstra now—effectively as of this minute—have to produce their industry development plans. If the amendment before us is successful, the minister will have the ability to exempt a licensed carrier, and it has been indicated to the chamber that there is going to be a numerical cap on that. My question to Labor is: when Telstra and Optus, because of the unfair market advantage of other carriers and because they are losing their market place, are required to lay off staff, how is the Labor Party going to convey to their union members that they were partially responsible for creating that situation?