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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) see you again, thank you so

much. We'll take a further look

at the Rudd Government's plan

to force Telstra to split its

retail and wholesale arms. The

Opposition says the Government

is holding a gun to Telstra's

head. Opposition communications

spokesman Nick Minchin joins us

now from Canberra. Thank you

for joining us. My pleasure The

Government can of course amen

the telenumberications about,

kit pretty much do whatever it

wants, what's wrong with nah?

The The Government is as

everybody has reported

intending to force the breakup

of Telstra, this is a radical

new policy, the Government has

never before enunciated this

policy. They did not go to the

last election saying that it

was their intention to break up

Telstra and of course this is

the party, the Labor party that

actually created Telstra. So

this is quite a radical change

of policy. Which creates

enormous uncertainty and

insecurity for the 9 million

Telstra customers, it's 1.4

million shareholders, let alone

its 30,000 employees who must

today be worrying about the

future of the company that they

work for a and in which many of

them hold shares which have of

course collapsed in value under

the Labor Government. It's not

that radical a policy sit, I'm

looking back here to 2005 and I

think you and I is may have

even kicked this around back then, operational separation

was being considered by the

Howard Government for a number

of years? Well, we brought in a

counting and operatal separation. That's a very different thing from actually

physically breaking up the

company . Something that the

Productivity Commission has

said is far too costly, the

OECD now councils against this

form of breakup of tele

communications companies. It is

a radical step and I think what

it reflects is that the

Government's dug itself into a

$43 billion hole with its National Broadband Network

proposal, it knows that can't

work without Telstra, so it's

now holdling a gun at the head

of Telstra to get it out of

this $43 billion hole thattest

it's dug for itself with it

very, very dodgy NBN proposal. You actually think

Telstra should be able to

maintain its monopoly? Telstra

is not - Telstra has - the only

monopoly they that have on the

copper fixed line network. We

now has your previous guest

from Macquarie said a highly

comprehensive tele

communications industry. The

days of monopoly a long gone

and we were the, a tebs of that

in Government. Telstra is in a

very competitive industry, what

the Government seems intent on

doing is recreating a

Government monopoly by building

an optical fibre network at a

cost of $43 billion and forcing

Telstra to hand over it fixed

line network to it so we'll end

up with a new Government

monopoly. I can't see the

wisdom of. That I think we need

more competition, but the way

to do that is no to break up

Telstra and indeed I think if

they go down this path,

customers are going to lose

access to the copper network.

They'll be forced on to the

kauptical fibre and end up

paying more than they pay now

for the same service There will

be a unified Coalition view on

this Senate. Will the Liberal

and Nationals view be the

same? As you know as Senate

leader I work closely with my

good friend boiz and my

colleagues. I would expect them

to have a similar view to me

because as Warren trsz the National Party leader has said

today, trz is the main provider

of tele communications service

to millions of Australians

living in rural and regional

Australia. Isn't that part of

the problem. Wouldn't it be

better if it wasn't the soul

provider? It wasn't a 100%

monopoly. I now has

considerably less share of

total market assor of. That the

mobile sector is incredibly

competitive. Telstra does not

even have a majority of that.

Why is the Government saying it

can't buy any mobile speck Frum

in a country like Australia, a

vast country with a

investmentively small

population you need a bit

vertically inintegrated

telexunications company like

trz to broi the bk bone for

telecommunity a I think Telstra

frankly is under appreciated in

Australia in term of the range

of services it provides to

millions of Australians across

the country in areas that are

not commercially viable,

particularly in rural and

regional Australia, that's why

vertical integration has been good and that's why there is a

risk in breaking up this

company as Labor now

proposes Very quickly, I take

it month from what you're

saying the Coalition will block

in legislation in the

Senate Well, I'm not saying

that. We'll of course examine

the bill as your previous guest

said. It's 150 pages or something. We're not at all

attracted to breaking up the

company and of course neither

was Labor until yesterday.

Never been Labor policy until yesterday.